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The University of Adelaide Library
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005
Exilius: OR, The Banish'd Roman.
A NEW ROMANCE, In TWO PARTS.
Written after the Manner of Telemachus,
for the Instruction of some Young
Ladies of Quality.
By Mrs. JANE BARKER.
The Second Edition.
To which is added, The Amours of BOSVIL and GALESIA.
As I was extreamly confus'd to find my little Novel presenting itself to your Ladyship without your Leave or Knowledge, so I am as much delighted in having Permission to lay this large Composure at your Ladyship's Feet, by which Means I have the Opportunity to beg Pardon for the Offences committed by the other (which I do with all Humility) tho' I was not guilty, nor can conceive by what Concurrence of Mistakes it so happen'd, unless design'd by Fate to render your Ladyship's Goodness the more conspicuous, in pardoning those Indecorums and Breaches of Respect, always due to Persons of your Quality and Merit, but especially on such Occasions.
Madam, it was this profound Respect which has long oppos'd my addressing to you in this Kind; and which, I believe, would have wholly suppress'd all such Thoughts in me as too arrogant, but that I was encourag'd by casting an Eye on that great Wit, worthy of his Time, Sir Philip Sidney, whose Steps, with awful Distance, I now take Leave to trace; and beg this may find the same Acceptance thro' your Goodness, as his found thro' its own Merit; and then I am sure my Roman Heroes will be as safe in the Protection of the Countess of Exeter, as his Arcadians were in that of the Countess of Pembroke. Your Ladyship's Virtue and Prudence having gain'd so absolute an Empire over the Hearts of the World, that none can reject what you are pleas'd to approve, nor slight what you are pleas'd to encourage: So that one gracious Look from your Ladyship will raise my Exilius from his Dust, and make him live; live in the Hearts of all the Fair, and in the Esteem of all his own Sex, 'till they make his unfashionable Constancy become the newest Mode, by their wearing it, in practising what they have so long exploded and ridiculed.
Thus it is in your Ladyship's Power to reform the World, and restore heroic Love to its ancient Jurisdiction. It is in your Power, Madam, to dissipate all those Clouds of Tribulation which encircled these my Roman Lovers, from the Time of their Separation at Rome, 'till their Return to their Father's House in the Country.
And now, Madam, give me Leave to pause a littleWas it not Burleigh house, with its Park, Shades, and Walks, that form'd in me the first Idea of my Scipio's Country Retreat? Most sure it was; for when I compos'd my Romance, I knew nothing farther from Home than Burleigh and Worthorp. And 'tis as true, that those bright Heroines I have endeavour'd to characterize, are but some faint Resemblances of the noble Ladies, who inhabited those stately Palaces; amongst whom none has been a greater Ornament to this noble Family than your Ladyship. I dare not enter upon the Particulars of those Perfections which charm all that know you, lest I should lessen what I most desire to commend, they being above my Capacity; and tho' this be the common Excuse of all defective Writers, yet, I rather chuse that beaten Tract, than deviate into Complements, which my Education renders me uncapable to perform; therefore shall conclude with the Words of that great Sage; Many Daughters have done virtuously, But thou excellest them all: Chiefly in Humility and Condescention, in raising me from my Obscurity, to the Honour of subscribing my self, with profound Respect,
Your Ladyship's most humble,
And most obedient Servant,
Tho' I cannot see my Fancy with the Hopes of Praise or Profit from the following Book, yet I am willing to plead its Cause, and deliver it with as fair a Title as I can to my Reader's Approbation, to which ('tis said) Books of this Kind have very little Right. For the Grave dislike them for treating on so gay a Subject; and the Sparks, for confining the Subject to such strict Rules of Virtue and Honour: So that a Romance is like the Husband in the Fable, whose Young Wife pull'd out all his grey Hairs, and his Old one, the black. Thus it far'd with this Kind of Heroic Love of late; it has been, as it were, rally'd out of Practice, and its Professors laugh'd out of Countenance, while Interest and loose Gallantry have been set up in its Place, and monopolized all its Business and Effects. How far this has been an Inlet to that Deluge of Libertinism which has overflow'd the Age, the many unhappy Marriages, and unkind Separations, may inform us, and at the same Time shew how proper an Ingredient Love is towards the making an happy Marriage; for where Love is not the Cement, as well as Interest the Foundation, the Superstructure of Conjugal Faith seldom stands long; the first Wind that blows at the Change of Honey−Moon, will go near to shake, if not quite overthrow, the Fabrick. Nor can it be otherwise expected, since a Blessing from Heaven attends not on those who enter the holy State of Matrimony thro' the Gate of Perjury, by vowing everlasting Love where their Affections scarce surmount Indifferency, but count upon a Beau Gallant or a Coquet Mistress, to answer all Hymeneal Happiness; so it is but just they fail of that Felicity in their Espousals, they aim'd not at in their Courtship. To these it is not strange that heroic Love appears a Fantom or Chimera; but to those who aim at a happy Marriage, by the Way of Virtue and Honour, need consider but very little, to find that it lyes thro', or borders upon, Heroic Love; so that Romances (which commonly treat of this virtuous Affection) are not to be discarded as wholly Useless.
In the next Place, the Study of these Books helps to open the Understanding of young Readers, to distinguish between real Worth and superficial Appearances, whereby they discern that it is not a laced Coat, or a large Wig, that makes a Cæsar or a Scipio; nor all the Utensils of the Toilet can make a compleat Heroine, but true Virtue and Honour: Wherefore, one may reasonably conclude, that it is many Times Want of Helps to make this Distinction, which causes young People to make Shipwreck of their Fortune. The hopeful young Heir brings Home a Player or Exchange−Maid, wherewith to bless his Father's grey Hairs; and the young Lady recompenses her Mother's careful Education with some beggarly Beau, or rake−hell Gamester, who, perhaps, never had Luck in his Life but in winning of her. Whereas, 'tis to be hoped, that a View of those worthy Characters which Romances represent, might assist them to avoid such dangerous Naufrages, and fix their Affections where Duty and Merit require: And not only so, but even in a regular Affection, they may find Assistance from these Kind of Writings, to demean themselves gracefully. For, since Love is the Passion which generally attends Youth, it is very hard they should be the only Part of Mankind that must act a Scene on this World's Theatre, without being permitted to con their Part before−hand. But beside these Love−Lectures, the young Readers may also reap many Handfuls of good Morality, and likewise gather some Gleanings of History, and Acquaintance with the ancient Poets. In short, I think I may say of Romances, as Mr. Herbert says of Poetry, and hope, that a pleasant Story may find him who flies a serious Lecture.
I might add many Things to evince the Advantage as well as the Innocence of these Kind of Writings; but since the Archbishop of Cambray and Mr. Dryden have done it in Fact, I think I need say no more, but refer my Reader to those great Authors, whose Writings have pleas'd all the World; tho' I think I may say, none have found better Reception than their Romances, Telemachus on the one Part, and Chaucer's Tales reviv'd on the other.
Now, after what has been alledg'd in general, something may be expected of this in particular; but that's very difficult, it being as nauseous to praise one's own Writing, as to complement one's own Face; and to dispraise it, is to hinder the Bookseller, and affront the Reader, in offering him a Book not worth ones own Suffrage. However, one may venture (without Offence) to use the Words of some that have read it in Manuscript: First, that the Author was certainly in Love when 'twas wrote; so, 'tis to be hoped, that that Passion is rightly represented. In the next Place 'twas liked, because 'twas free from long Speeches, and tedious Descriptions of Towns, Places, Sieges, Battles, Horses and their Trappings, &c. Nevertheless, I have since put in one Description, (and but one) which is pretty long, and that is of a Garden; but it being added since the Book was compos'd, those who love not Descriptions may pass it over unread, without any Prejudice to the substantial Part of the Story.
Another Reader was pleas'd to say, It was a Mark of great Virtue in the Author, that could render such an idle Subject both pure and useful; so, 'tis to be hoped, there is nothing opposite to real Virtue. I am sure, if I knew or thought there were, I would burn both the Copy and my Fingers, rather than employ them towards its Publication; but I trust it is such, as no Body need fear to read, nor the Author blush to own. 'Tis true, there are the Characters of two or three ill Persons; but they are inserted by Way of Abhorrence. The Story of Turpius, indeed, is so unnatural, that if I could have alter'd, or taken it away, without unravelling the whole, I would have done it, and not have made the Daughter of so ill a Man, Wife to so great an Hero; nor would have compos'd so improbable a Story, but that I had heard of such a Kind of Transaction in our Times, and so wrote the Character to render it detestable. I call him Turpius, as being more wicked than Clodius, who was such an ill Liver in his Time, as caus'd that Proverb, Clodius accusat Moechos. But if these Characters are disagreeable to the serious Reader, there are others to make amends: But whether there be any that will hit the general Humour of the Age or not, is doubtful; since there is none that will teach a Gentleman to scorn his Country−Seat, nor a Tradesman his Shop. Lewdness is not approv'd in Youth, nor Moroseness made the Character of Old Age; the latter of which, I think, has been the crying Fault of many of these Kinds of Writings. The elder, and consequently the wiser Part of Mankind, have been render'd ridiculous, morose, and troublesome, as if good Humour was inconsistent with Years and both Wit and Manners to be laid aside, together with tawdry Cloaths; and as the Face ceases to be smooth, the Manners must grow rough. Such Characters, as they are an Affront to the Aged, so they are often prejudicial to the Young, who are too apt to build Disobedience on that Foundation; and when their wise Parents oppose their Follies, are apt to draw a Parallel between them and those ill Characters they have met withal. This Consideration, I think, ought to make every Author careful how he represents these Persons; one Stroke of a Pen being capable of doing more Mischief than many Volumes can repair.
As to the Historical Part, I suppose the Reader does not expect much Exactness, it being a Romance, not an History; so, it matters not who, or who, were Co−temporaries; but there having been such and such Names and Families, one may reasonably suppose that some of the Children, or Branches of those Families, flourish'd all at the same Time; which is sufficient to vindicate the Book, in that Point, from extreme Absurdity.
The Language, I hope, the Reader will accept as it is, it being the familiar Stile of the Age, neither so obsolete, nor so refin'd, as to render it obstruse; at least, I design'd it so: But if in this, or any Thing else, I have fail'd to gratify the Reader's Expectation, I am very ready to beg Pardon, correct, and amend. In the mean Time, adieu.
Night having withdrawn her sable Curtains, discover'd the bright Aurora rising, whose Beauty illustrated the whole Hemisphere, and thereby excited Clelia, the fair Niece of Publius Scipio, to her early Devotions, in a Grove near her Uncle Scipio's House, where stood a Chapel dedicated to the Goddess of the Morning. After which, she took a Walk in the Grove, for the Pleasure of the cool Morning Air, perfum'd with the natural Product of the Earth; as also to hear the Musick of the winged Choiresters, whose wild Notes were no less delightful than those well−compos'd Ayres, sung in Honour of the aforesaid Goddess. Here she had not took many Turns, but, lifting up her Eyes, she saw a Youth in the Habit of a Page approaching her; who, coming near, cast his Arms about her Neck, saying, My dear Clelia, what Happiness have I to meet thee here! Clelia, both angry and astonish'd, gave him a Reprimand suitable to his Crime and her own Indignation; at which, the Youth pulling off some little Disguise, said, Dear Cousin, behold your affectionate Kinswoman Scipiana! At which, Clelia, quite transported with Joy, embrac'd her with all the Tenderness that Love and Excess of Satisfaction could produce; then seating themselves, Clelia desir'd Scipiana to inform her the Cause of her long Absence, and how she came thus metamorphos'd. To which Scipiana answer'd, That her Adventures were so many, as would make the History too long to recite at that Time; therefore begg'd Clelia rather to let her know what had attended her since their Separation at Rome, and what Turns of Fortune had brought her into the Country, a Place and Station of Life so little agreeable to her Inclinations, or, more properly speaking, which was so much her Aversion. To which Cleliareadily accorded, and concluding it too early to present Scipiana to her Father, thereby to disturb his Morning Repose, they entertain'd themselves in the following Relation.
You know, Madam, said Clelia, that I always liv'd at Rome, under the Conduct of my wise and honourable Parents, the noble Fabius, my Father, and the virtuous Cornelia, my Mother, your illustrious Aunt; a Lady truly honourable in her Birth, Marriage, and all the Actions of her Life. Here I had the Happiness to enjoy your Company sometimes, tho' not so often as my Love and Esteem made me desire; for this charming Solitude, in which you delighted, depriv'd me and the rest of your Friends of that Felicity. The last Time was at the Triumph of your Brother, the incomparable Asiaticus, after his Asian Conquest, which was the greatest Augmentation of the Roman Glory that ever Hero yet acquir'd: And as it gave a most sensible Joy to all honourable Minds, so, more especially to us the near Relations of the Conqueror. Nevertheless, this happy Time was the Beginning of my Misfortunes; for I being with you, amongst the rest of the Roman Ladies, to make our Complements to the Triumpher, according to the Roman Custom, I was surpriz'd at the graceful Mien of Marcellus, who regarded me with an Air so full of Respect and Gallantry, as if he dedicated to me all the Part he had in that Day's Solemnity. At least, I flatter'd myself with this Opinion; and I fear this is a Fault which Maids of all Ranks are too often guilty of; we take Complements for Kindness, Kindness for Affection, Affection for Passion, and so on, 'till we too late find our Mistake, and know that Self−flattery, and a secret Belief of our own Merits, betray us more than those we call False Lovers.
Next Day after the Triumph, you may remember, Madam, that you and I went to render our Respects to Asiaticus,where resorted all the Ladies, as well as the great Commanders of the Army, paying him the Honours of a happy Conqueror and a glorious Triumpher. Asiaticus, according to his accustom'd Generosity, attributed all to their Courage; so, making them partake of the Honours they offer'd him. To which Marcellus merrily answer'd, That they ought not to ascribe too much to their Swords in the Presence of Ladies, whose Eyes were capable of making greater Conquests than the Empire of Asia. To which I reply'd, That if we were all bright as Jemella, and our Enemies amorous as Marcellus, we might pretend to subdue the Universe; for their Marriage being no Way a Secret, I thought one might name her in Publick without Breach of Civility. To which Marcellus made several Returns, by Way of Railery, saying, That Jemella's early Beauty was very bright; yet, when the Sun rises, we cease to adore the Morning Star, having a more illustrious Object for our Adorations. In this Kind of Prattle we entertain'd our selves, whilst Asiaticus was speaking much in Favour of a certain Stranger, who had done Things very extraordinary in that Expedition. 'Tis true, reply'd Scipiana, I remember my Brother spake much in Commendation of an unknown Person, in Terms so advantageous, as seem'd rather the Effect of his Generosity than the Stranger's Merit; for you know my Brother is endow'd with that excellent Quality in a peculiar Manner; but Time and divers Occasions have taught me that this Stranger's Worth needed not those Commendations which proceed from Generosity, bare Justice giving him the Character of a compleat Hero, as I shall hereafter inform you; but at present beg you to proceed in your Discourse.
Madam, said Clelia, it is not proper for me to describe to you any of the Grandeur or Magnificence of Rome at that Time, your self being a Spectator, or rather, your Beauty and Merit making a principal Part of the Solemnity.
When the Time prescrib'd had put a Period to these glorious Diversions, and that we were ready to attend your Ladyship, together with Asiaticus, to this your Father's Country−House, here to celebrate the Marriage between you and my Brother Fabius, according to the Agreement and Desire of our Relations on all Sides; you may please to remember how Fabius, being wounded in the Street, the Night before our intended Journey, was detain'd, and I with him, to attend his Recovery. We suppos'd that my Brother receiv'd this Wound from the Hand of that lewd Wretch Clodius, because he has never been seen at Rome since. True, reply'd Scipiana, it was Clodius did that unworthy Action; for he has avow'd as much to me since, which renders him so perfectly my Aversion, that I can hardly repeat his Name with common Patience, nor think on him but with a sensible Indignation. But I will not enlarge at present, thereby to deprive myself a Moment of that Discourse I have begg'd of my dear Clelia.
Whilst my Brother's Wound detain'd him (said Clelia) Marcellus made divers Visits, partly out of Respect and Kindness to him, and partly to find an Opportunity to discover his Passion to me, which in a few Days happen'd. Fabius being asleep, I was retir'd into the Closet, where Marcellus entering, took the Opportunity to cast himself at my Feet, and make his Address to me with all the Tenderness that a Respect due to my Quality could permit, and the Suddenness of the Occasion dictate: Which I receiv'd with a pretended Displeasure, as counting it an Affront to my Virtue, that he, being espous'd to another, should offer me his Love; to which he return'd, (with much Patience) that a Marriage made in Minority, and never consummated, was nothing in Effect, and such was that between him and Jemella; which I knew very well without his Information: But the Consideration of the many Difficulties that wou'd arise by Means of this Contract with Jemella, made me oppose him, not only in this first Onset, but in divers other Attacks of that Kind. Nor was it only this Chaos of Confusion, which I knew must necessarily fall between these three noble Houses, but my virtuous generous Soul had an Aversion to any indirect Proceeding, and my own Heart told me in what Manner Jemella must resent such an Affront; yet these, and many more reasonable Considerations cou'd not hinder some tender Thoughts from taking Root in my Heart, which have since brought forth such Fruits of Folly, as I shall let you know in the Sequel. I will not repeat to you, Madam, the divers Conflicts of my Thoughts and the Agitation of my Mind on this Occasion; for my Interior labour'd as it were under a Fever and Ague, burning with an irresistible Inclination for Marcellus, and trembling with the Apprehension of so irregular an Affection, of which I saw no Possibility of Cure, but by the immediate Help of the Powers Divine; for which Cause I went to the High Priest of Jupiter, my particular Friend; to him I open'd my Heart, and begg'd his holy Aid and Counsel; who advis'd me to make my Devotions in the Temple of Jupiter, where many had been favour'd with satisfactory Answers. This Counsel I put in Practice as soon as possible, and having perform'd my Sacrifice with all due Ceremony, the Oracle answer'd,
The Gods will never disapprove
The sacred Bonds of mutual Love.
Having receiv'd this Answer, and the Benediction of the High Priest, I turn'd my self to go away, and thereupon discover'd the Face of a certain Person, who had lain before the Altar all the Time of the Service in great Devotion. This Person, notwithstanding the Disguise he wore, I knew to be Marcellus, and he as soon knew me thro' the Veil with which I was cover'd, and accompanying me out of the Temple, he fail'd not to enforce the propitious Answer of the Gods, to justify his Pretensions, and obtain my Consent, which, embellish'd by his Wit and Gallantry, put me so far to a Non−plus, I scarce knew what to reply; only I told him, that what soever the Gods might seem to consent to in their dubious Oracles, a young Lady ought to interpret their Meaning according to the Dictates of filial Obedience, and to have no other Will but that of her Parents. In this Answer I did, as it were, give my Consent; nor could I longer support my pretended Dislike of his Passion, after having been discover'd soliciting the Gods for that Purpose.
Marcellus having gain'd this Point, lost no Opportunity to ask me of my Father; for the same Day coming to visit my Brother, he found my Father by the Bed−side, who began to rally at the young Gallants of the Age, who were so cold in their Amours, and by that Means gave Opportunity to their Rivals to enterprize against them; even you, Marcellus (continued he) will delay your Time, 'till some keen−bladed Rival lay you in your Bed, like Fabius. To which Marcellus reply'd, (with more Affection than Prudence) saying, My Lord, I want but your Consent to secure me from that Danger; for, had I that, I might hope the fair Clelia and I might be so far united as to prevent all designing Rivals. This unexpected Answer not only surpriz'd, but highly displeas'd my Father, in Consideration of Jemella, whom all the World look'd upon as Wife to Marcellus; so consequently deem'd himself affronted, and me dishonour'd in this Address; wherefore he charg'd Marcellus never to come near me, and forbid me all Correspondence with him; in which my Mother co operating, I was a kind of Prisoner at large, under their diligent Observation. Moreover, to render the Proceeding throughly just and honourable, my Father advertised my Lord Marcellus, Father to my Lover, and Lucullus, Father to Jemella. For which Cause Marcellus confin'd his Son to his Apartment, consulting in the mean Time with Lucullus what Measures to take in this Affair. I at the same Time suffer'd much in the Reproaches made me by my Father, Mother, and Brother, for having forgot mine own Honour, and the Honour of my Family, in entertaining a secret Amour, and that too, with one espoused to another; which Reprimands I must needs own were no more than the Crime deserv'd, and very suitable to those strict Rules of Virtue and Honour they always practis'd, and in which they instructed me their dear Disciple and darling Daughter. Now, tho' Reason oblig'd me to receive these Reproofs with Moderation and Respect, yet the Tenderness I had for Marcellus made me so far transgress my Duty, as to find out Opportunities to correspond with him by Letters, Presents, Messages, and the like; which was not hard to do, by Reason the Domesticks on both Sides were subservient to our Inclinations. This kind of secret Correspondence to me now appears so great a Fault in a young Lady, that I can never forgive myself, therefore wonder not if my Friends remain disoblig'd; for tho' the Intercourse be never so innocent, and the Design never so honourable, (as was this between me and Marcellus) yet it carries with it such an Umbrage of Unworthiness, as extremely clouds and disfigures a Lady's Reputation, in the Opinion of all, even the most kind and generous Part of the World, but egregiously in the malicious and censorious Part of Mankind. However, this pass'd not long undiscover'd by our vigilant Parents; wherefore my Father, all on a sudden, took me in his Chariot, and brought me hither, not letting me know it was my Uncle's House, lest I should advertise Marcellus of the Place of my Residence; at the same Time giving out that I was gone into Egypt, to my Aunt Fabiell, who is there marry'd to a Prince of the Blood Royal of the Ptolomy's. After a few Days, my Uncle came to me, and let me know that it was in his House in which I was detain'd. He encourag'd and promis'd me all Kindness, assuring himself I would act nothing contrary to Duty and Honour; so, leading me out of the little Captivity of my Chamber, gave me the Command of his House and Family.
At this Time it was, that we heard the fatal News of your being lost, as also your Brother, the Noble Asiaticus, and that my Brother Fabius had left Rome, and was gone in Search after you; of all which we never since heard any Tidings. My good Uncle, your Father, was pleas'd to say, his Affliction was extremely mitigated by my being with him, which I count the Effect of his Goodness; but I am sure his Wisdom, Patience, and Resignation under his Sufferings, have been such Lectures to me, as I hope I never shall forget; for as none ever experienc'd the Mutability of human Affairs more throughly than my Uncle, so none ever bore it with a greater Equanimity of Mind, in which he demonstrated himself a true noble Roman, well deserving the worthy Character he had acquir'd, whose Virtue is built on such strong Bases, as the Shocks of Fortune cannot move, much less overthrow: Nevertheless, he is a Mortal, not a Deity, and human Nature wou'd oftentimes exert its Right in many Tears and Lamentations for your Loss, and the Loss of the illustrious Asiaticus .
Whilst I join'd my Griefs here with my Uncle, Marcellus remain'd still at Rome, detain'd in his Father's House. Now hearing of my being gone into Egypt, he began to be out of Patience at his Confinement, it putting him out of all Possibility of following me; and finding no Means to accomplish his enlargement but by addressing himself to the Senate, he was forc'd to put even that in Execution, tho' otherwise very unwilling to make publick the private Animosities between him and his Father. Whilst this was in Debate in the Senate, the Rabble of Rome,who readily entertain any Pretext for Mutiny, assembled themselves about the Capitol, demanded Justice, declaring that they wou'd not suffer a young Nobleman, who had serv'd so bravely in the War, to be oppress'd, or constrain'd by the Caprice of a covetous Father, and such kind of Insolence, suitable to a Mob, the most ungovernable Part of the Creation, who have no Law but their Will, and their Will prompted by their irregular Appetites, or Fancies; yet these are too often the Legislators of our State, which is the greatest Misfortune belonging to a Government.
You know, Madam, (continu'd Clelia) that Marcellus never valu'd the Honour of a popular Applause, as knowing it proceeds from Humour or Passion, not the Merit of the Person to whom they pretend to direct it; but especially, their Kindness was now ungrateful to him, fearing it might displease as well as expose me, and irritate my Father against him; however, it had its Effect; for the Senate, whether unwilling to displease the Mob, or willing to please Marcellus, gave him his Liberty, which he soon employ'd in going to find me out in Egypt, as believing me really to be gone thither. In Order to this, he took his Journey towards Cajeta, a Port near this Place, and most commodious for a Voyage into Egypt; but so it fell out, that he lost his Way in the Night, and arriv'd here, he being in disguise, thereby the better to avoid any Opposition in his Passage that might be made by the Practice of his Father, or Lucullus, Jemella's Father.
In this Transaction I cannot but reflect with Veneration on the Providence of the Gods, and the Care of our good Genius, who, unknown to our selves, and often against our Wills, mislead us (if I may so say) into the right Way, and conduct us thro' unknown Paths, to what we desire, or, at least, to what is best for us, whilst our own blind Will, or rather our purblind Reason, wou'd serve only to train us into inextricable Labyrinths of Difficulties and Confusion. How useful then, and beneficial is the Virtue of Resignation, and entire Submission to the Powers divine? But to return to Marcellus, to whom belongs the Application. He was kindly entertain'd by my Uncle's Servants, and by Chance was put to lodge in an Apartment which extended itself near mine; tho' the Passage by which one enters be far distant. Here it was he heard me talk to my Maids, and knew my Voice so well, as to be convinc'd of my being there, which put a Period to his intended Voyage into Egypt. Next Morning he walk'd forth into this Grove, full of an unquiet Satisfaction, for having found me there, he was ignorant how to come to see or speak to me. Walking thus musing, and casting many Things in his Mind, he at last found at the other Side of the Grove a little House, which he thought might be subservient to his Purpose, and therefore hired it of my Uncle's Steward, and in a few Days, according to his Wish, met me in these Walks, for I come here very often to adore the Goddess Aurora at the Morning Sacrifice. It was in that little Chapel that I saw and knew him, notwithstanding his Disguise; for, the very first Glance of his Eyes discover'd him to be the whole Marcellus, the brave, the amorous Marcellus; and I, no Doubt, as soon discover'd my self to be the tender, overjoy'd Clelia. I cannot but take Notice, how, by divine Providence, we now met a second Time in Devotion, and our Hearts discover'd their tender Sentiments twice unawares before the Altar of the Gods, which I apply'd according to the Dictates of Inclination, and so believ'd it to be a Mark that the Gods were favourable to, and approv'd of, this our Amour, and in the End would bless it with Success.
I soon gave him Opportunity to speak to me, in which he most instantly begg'd me to conceal his being there, 'till by the Intercession of his Friends he had treated with the Senate, and Jemella's Parents about the Breach of that Contract made in their Minority, which would be better accomplish'd in his Absence, all the World believing him gone into Egypt. I confiding in his Truth and Sincerity, promis'd him all Secrecy; he in the mean Time pretending to my Uncle's Servants, and those Country People with whom Necessity oblig'd him to converse, that he was a young Officer of the Army, that left the World out of Devotion, and there try'd to accustom himself to a solitary Life, in Contemplation of the celestial Beings, which indeed was partly true; for he furnish'd himself with many devout Books, in which, no Doubt, he meditated; and for his Recreation he had his Musick, of which, you know, he is a great Master. I saw him as often as I could in the little Chapel, and sometimes in the Walks, where he found Opportunities to give me Letters, containing large Accounts of his Passion, to which I made him some Answers in Writing, for we cou'd not correspond verbally, or, at least, but very little without Suspicion. Thus, my dear Scipiana, I gave under my own Hand the Certificates of my Folly, and sign'd the Testimonials of my Indiscretion; for sure there is not a greater Imprudence, than for a young Lady to write to her Lover: I am now sensible it never ought to be done, no, not even on the Account of Denials or Reprimands, much less to give any Assurance of Kindness; for many Lovers aim no farther than to obtain these Marks of Conquest, that among their Companions, they may triumph in shewing these Trophies of their Victory, at least, the following Part of Marcellus's Actions seem to evince this Assertion.
A certain Widow Lady, nam'd Libidinia, living near this Place, my intimate Friend, and the Confident of my Love, gave me divers little discreet Hints of his Inconstancy, which I must have understood perfectly if my Reason had not been rock'd asleep with a full Perswasion of his Virtue. She often remonstrated to me the Falshood of the Sex, the Satisfaction they took in betraying ours; that the Vanity of boasting their Conquest, was more pleasing to 'em than the Conquest itself; nay often the chief Motive of their pretended Passion; that a young Lady cou'd never be too frugal of her Favours towards 'em, forasmuch as that they interpret every Look and Word in Favour of themselves, and the smallest Complacency as a Mark of the greatest Kindness; that even the most virtuous of them think it no Crime to falsify their Vows to us, but rather deem it a commendable Piece of Gallantry; with many other Instructions of this Kind, which I took as Testimonies of her Friendship and Discretion, but thought not in the least that it belong'd to me and Marcellus, 'till I found him begin to grow remiss, and several Days pass'd that I neither met him in these Walks, nor in Aurora's Chapel, nor receiv'd any manner of Address or Message from him; then, Indeed, I began to fear I was like to be a President in these Lectures. I must confess, (said Scipiana, interrupting her) I have much Difficulty to believe Marcellus false, it being incompatible with his noble Nature, and the Rules of human Society, after having so openly avow'd his Passion to you, in Prejudice of the noble Lucullus and his fair Daughter Jemella, for him to act an Infidelity, or even an Indifferency, would render him not only unworthy of his Name and Family, but the worst of Miscreants, not deserving human Society; wherefore I beg you to suspend your Anger, and be pleas'd to finish your Story.
Libidinia, said Clelia, perceiving me uneasy under this negligent Treatment, went secretly to visit him at his House, thereby to inform herself, if possible, of the Cause of this sudden Change. At her Return she told me he was sick, which Information afflicted me extremely, as was manifest by my Tears; for Sickness is always a State to be pity'd, but was now deplorable, in Consideration of what he might suffer for want of Assistance and Attendance, which was difficult to be had in that unhappy Solitude, into which, for my Sake he had cast himself. This made me redouble my Sighs and Tears with many sorrowful Complaints, in all which, Libidinia, as a compassionate Friend, bore a Part; and taking out her Handkerchief to dry her Eyes, there fell out of her Pocket a little Picture, which I knew to be my Portraiture, that I had given him in Testimony of my Affection, and Belief of his Fidelity. The Sight of this did very much surprize me, not knowing how to iaterpret the Meaning. Libidinia,after a considerable Pause, said, my dear Clelia, I can no longer disguise the Truth, Marcellus is more distemper'd in Mind than Person, for he has made me a thousand Protestations of the most tender Passion in the World; which indeed did not very much surprize me, by Reason of the many little Hints and Advances he had divers Times directed to me, which occasion'd me so frequently to advise you by Way of Precaution; but now, having an Opportunity, he discharg'd his false Heart to me in as false Words, leaving nothing unsaid that might assert a real Passion; and when I endeavour'd to make him sensible of his Crime, by shewing him your Picture, which was pinn'd up just by him, and withal repeated to him your innumerable Virtues, and particular Goodness towards him, in having, for his Sake, risk'd the Love of your Parents, the Esteem of all serious and judicious People, and dedicated to his Love only, that Youth and Beauty, which ought to be the Object of many Adorers. The ungrateful Wretch, (continu'd she) with many opposite Replies, gave me the Picture, telling me, he found nothing charming in it, nor in its Original, since his Eyes were bless'd with the Beauties of Libidinia. This Infidelity, said Libidinia,whether real or feigned, is alike unpardonable; for, whether he abus'd my Friend in an absolute Act of Perfidy, or me in a feign'd Gallantry, I count our selves both equally and doubly affronted; for I deem whatsoever is done to my Friend as done to myself, and I doubt not but my Clelia has the same Sentiment on my Behalf; and it was the Consideration of this unworthy Behaviour to us both that caus d my Sighs and Tears, more than his Indisposition, tho' I endeavour'd for your Sake to disguise the Truth for the Present, 'till my Industry cou'd Work your Heart into some Kind of Indifferency towards him. But Fortune has extorted the Secret from me sooner than I intended; wherefore, Madam, I can only recommend to you to join with me in a just Resentment of his Unworthiness; banish, detest, and abhor him, as the worst of Criminals.
The Knowledge of this his Falshood, continu'd Clelia, enrag'd me to the last Degree; and now, too late, I was sensible of my Folly, in contracting an Amour, and carrying on a Correspondence of that Consequence, against the Consent of my wise and honourable Parents. Now I perceiv'd to my Sorrow, how Passion had clos'd the Eyes of my Understanding, and rock'd my Reason into a Lethargy, otherwise I shou'd have foreseen his Falshood in the Person of the abandon'd Jemella. But the just Gods were pleas'd that I shou'd thus find my Crime in my Punishment, and so far aveng'd the Cause of that wrong'd Lady, as to make her Disgrace light on my Head; and that Willow Wreath I vainly thought her Due, was now become a Crown for my forsaken Temples. My Heart, which had often treated its amorous Thoughts at her Cost, now languish'd in Despair, and became a Prey to all the gnawing Regrets that attend a slighted Maid. I who had neglected the Documents of my Parents, now became neglected by him, for whose Sake I had thus overlook'd my Duty. I who had, by my disobedient and unwary Conduct, in some Degree tarnish'd the Glory of my illustrious Family, was now liable to have my Virtue, Youth, and Innocence, obscured and sully'd with whatsoever false Shadows the malicious World shou'd think fit to draw on this Occasion. In fine, every Thing appear'd to me with an hideous Face, and was the more terrible, by Reason that my self was the only Cause of this Deformity of Affairs; for 'tis certain, no Reproach is like Self−Reproach, nor any Misfortune so hard to undergo, as what we draw upon our selves Then judge, Madam, in what Anxiety of Thoughts my poor Heart labour'd. But after the first Efforts of my Anger were past, I begg'd Libidinia to agitate in this Matter as she thought fit, only in Gross I desir'd her to restore him a certain Nosegay of Jewels, which he had presented me, and charge him never to see me more.
In this State, dear Cousin, are my Affairs at present, being under great Difficulties what to do; for I am asham'd to discover to my Uncle his being here in Disguise, and unwilling to let him remain so any longer, after such Treatment. I shall trust to your Wisdom and Goodness, to deliver me out of this Dilemma; but at present, if please, we will go in, for, no Doubt, by this Time my Uncle is stirring, whose Happiness in the Sight of you, ought not to be deferr'd.
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.
Having left Clarinthia and the other weary Travellers to repose themselves by the Bounty of Marcellus, I beg the Reader to accompany me through a pleasant Grove to Publius Scipio's House, where we find this venerable Lord transported with Joy at the unexpected Return of his beautiful Daughter, after having been so long given over for lost. Clelia's Happiness also was inexpressible, to have again the Company of her dear Cousin, who had been the Associate of her tender Years.
The two Ladies rising early, walk'd into the Grove, to offer their Morning Oblations to the Goddess Aurora, who had there an Altar, (as before−mention'd) after which they seated themselves in a pleasant Shade, which the Day before had been the happy Place of their Meeting; and at Clelia's Request, Scipiana relates the following History.
You are not Ignorant, Cousin, (said Scipiana) that the Death of my Mother, the Loss of my little Brother Scipio,and the Banishment of the noble Catullus, so afflicted my Father, that he abandon'd Rome, and retir'd to this his Country−Seat, where I remain'd with him, leading a Life somewhat particular for my Sex and Quality, for I made the Study of Philosophy, the Greek and Oriental Tongues, my Business and Diversion. How far this is suitable to our Sex I dare not pretend to determine, the Men having taken Learning for their Province, we must not touch upon its Borders without being suppos'd Usurpers. However, since it did not displease my Father, I regret not those Moments I bestow'd in its Service, but think 'em still my own, and not slipp'd with the rest of my Life's Actions into the Abyss of Time past, (which returns no more) but are always present, or at least the Product of those Moments, to wit, the good Morals I learn'd, are always at my Command. 'Tis probable, if Fortune had provided me a more publick Station, I had employ'd my Time otherwise; but in this Retirement with my Father, I cou'd not find a more agreeable Entertainment.
When my Brother return'd in Triumph from his Asian Conquest, you know then, according to the Roman Custom, I was there to meet the Triumpher amongst the other Roman Ladies. Your Brother, the Noble Fabius, in Pursuance of our Parents Desires, offer'd me his Love, with a Gallantry suitable to his Youth and Quality, which I receiv'd according to his Merit, and my Duty; knowing it to be the Will of those who had Power to dispose of us and our Fortunes. Thus we thought we had built our Amours on the safest and surest Foundation, Duty, and Conveniency; but alas! those fair Edifices are not able to resist the Storms and Hurricanes which are raised by cross Fortune, but fall with the first Shock, as will appear by the sequel of my Story.
Clodius, who, you know, makes Love to all the World, did not spare me, I suppose out of Curiosity, as knowing me to be a Country Lady, he thought to find an Entertainment particular and different from others. What was his Motive it matters not, I always let him know his Addresses were unwelcome, and his loose Humour disagreeable; nor did I scruple to own my Kindnese to Fabius, since our Marriage was so speedily to be celebrated. To which Clodius answer'd, that Fabius should never live with me, nor Clodius without me; and this he endeavour'd to make good, in attempting to assassinate Fabius in the Street the Night before our Departure from Rome. You may remember that we were to have gone together to this, my Father's House, where the Nuptials were to have been celebrated, but this Accident befalling Fabius, prevented both him and you; wherefore my Brother and I took our Journey privately, he sending his Equipage before, whilst we came with no other Attendance than his Gentleman Fidelius and my Woman Milena, besides those necessary for the Conduct of the Chariot. Our Journey the first Day was very agreeable, except the Regret we had for your Absence, and your Brother's Illness, which detain'd you both. The next Day towards Evening, going by a pleasant Wood, whose verdant Trees and flowery Banks deserv'd our Regard, and might have given us Entertainment, but that a little Weariness had laid a kind of drowsy Silence upon me, whereupon Asiaticus merrily told me, if Fabius was here I shou'd be better Company; have Patience, Sister (continued he) his Wound will not detain him long. To which I reply'd, that the Love and Honour I had for my Cousin Fabius oblig'd me to wish his speedy Recovery, but not for my own Sake, in Regard of our Marriage, which was to succeed; for I assure you (continu'd I) my Inclinations to a marry'd Life are very little. No, reply'd my Brother, your Books have spoil'd you making you prefer the Conversation of the Dead to that of the Living. But what think you, will you consent that we make these your dead Companions augment the Fireworks which will be prepar'd for the celebrating your Nuptials? Take it not ill, dear Sister (continu'd he) that I affront your Fancy touching a learned Woman, I think it as misbecoming in your Sex, as Effeminacy in ours; and a learned Lady is as ridiculous as a spinning Hercules.
Whilst we were in this Discourse by the aforesaid Wood, we heard the Cries of a Woman in Distress. Asiaticusbeing touch'd with Pity and Generosity, forced himself into the Forest to assist this distress'd Person, leaving Fidelius to wait on me. We continu'd our Journey with all convenient Speed, in order to send Fidelius after his Master, and in a little Time we arriv'd at a magnificent House, where liv'd an ancient Lady, Mother to Lucullus,and with her Jemella, her Grand child. The good Lady and Jemella were walking in the outward Court, and very kindly invited me to stay that Night; which Favour I accepted without Ceremony, in Consideration of sending Fidelius after his Master.
Here I was entertain'd by these good Ladies with all proper Civility and Respect. I slept but little, by Means of the Inquietude I had in my Thoughts for my Brother. So rising early next Morning, Jemella, to divert me, led me into the Garden, which is indeed most surprizingly beautiful. You know the Garden of Lucullus at Rome is very fine, but far short of this his Country−Seat, which is most richly adorn'd with Statues, Water−works, and all Sorts of rare Trees and Plants, rang'd in exact Order, making curious Walks, Arbors, and Recesses, most pleasant and beautiful. After a few Turns, we seated our selves and there I took the Liberty to ask Jemella how Affairs were between her and Marcellus, which I thought was no uncivil Curiosity, their Espousals being no Ways a Secret. Jemella made no Difficulty to relate to me the whole Affair; and because those Transactions may concern you (my dear Cousin) I will tell you what I can remember.
In my tender Years (said Jemella) my Father and the noble Marcellus being tied in a strict Bond of Friendship, thought to strengthen and perpetuate the same, by uniting us, their only Children, in the Bonds of Marriage; which they accomplish'd, or rather began, (for ended it must never be) when we were about seven or eight Years of Age, for then we were marry'd as Minors. In this State we liv'd at Rome, 'till Time and Acquaintance with the World made us begin to have a secret Regret for being unlike the rest of our Companions, who were single, and at Liberty to direct their Affections according to the Bent of their Inclinations, of which most desirable Privilege we found our selves depriv'd, by our Parents too prudently forestalling our Choice. This Regret was follow'd by a Kind of Aversion for each other's Company, and that Person that could most wittily Pique or shock the other, was the happy Conqueror. This, I suppose, our Parents perceiv'd, which made 'em provide for our Separation; for Marcellus was sent to Athens to study among the rest of the Roman Nobility; and I was sent hither to this Country Solitude, with Design (I suppose) to prevent my Thoughts from fixing elsewhere in the Absence of Marcellus.
When we were come to those Years in which our Laws oblige us to give our final Consent or Denial, my Lord Marcellus sent for his Son, but he begg'd Leave to stay yet another Year, which my Lord his Father endeavour'd to palliate to me, by telling me it was out of a true Honour profound Respect, which he had for my and Merit, made him deny his own Happiness, thereby to render himself more worthy my Acceptance. Whatever was the Cause was to me indifferent, the Delay was very agreeable; for beside the Coldness between us, I had no Mind to engage myself so soon in a marry'd State, always counting this Time of Virginity more distinctly my own, as if snatch'd from the round Ring of Eternity; tho' I must confess I could wish to employ these Moments otherwise than in this Solitude. But thus it must be, I having no Mother, am oblig'd to be under the Jurisdiction of my Grandmother, who is a Lady of great Virtue and Wisdom, but thoroughly fix'd to this Country Abode, which is my Aversion.
Before the Year was ended, which Marcellus requir'd for the improving his Studies, the Preparations were making for the Asian Expedition, in which Scipio (your Noble Brother) was constituted General. Marcellus, who had always entertain'd a particular Esteem for Scipio, and had now, it seems, a greater Devotion to the God Mars than Cupid, begg'd his Father to defer his Marriage, and give him Leave to accompany his beloved Friend Scipio, and with him to gather at least one Branch of those Lawrels which Fortune seem'd to have planted for the Head of this her young Favourite. This pleas'd me so very much, that my Father could scarce be persuaded but that I had some secret Intrigue, which made him recommend to my Grandmother an exact Vigilance over me, even to a tiresom Constraint, nor could I obtain Permission to go to Rome, to see the Glorious Triumph of Scipio, to congratulate the Triumpher, with the other Roman Ladies; which so displeas'd me, that I made a hearty Resolution never to be marry'd to Marcellus. In this state, Madam, (said she) are my Affairs at present; I daily expect to be sent for by my Father, to give my determinating Voice before the Senate, which I resolve shall be absolutely Negative; tho', at the same Time, I count my self bound in Honour to make some religious Pretence; for to oppose the Choice of my Parents, without some very laudable Reason, is to affront their Judgments, and prefer my own; and, at the same Time, all the World will believe me to have some bye Intrigue, unless I make Devotion the Veil of this my Disobedience; tho' I protest I am so far from having any real Call or Inclination to a religious Life, that I hate all Manner of Constraint. How then shall I endure those Hardships which attend the holy Recluses? This my ill founded Vocation makes me suspect that of others, and tempts me almost to conclude that the Vestals, and Diana's numerous Train, have many of them no better Motives than my self, to wit, some worldly Inclination or Aversion, and not the pure Love of the Gods, as they piously pretend. But let what will happen, I am resolv'd to hazard any Thing rather than marry Marcellus, who has shew'd so much Indifferency for me, that he has neither come, sent, nor taken any manner of notice of me since his Return. I must confess, reply'd I (said Scipiana) that no Goodness can pardon such Negligence, and 'tis certain his Crimes deserve the capital Punishment of an absolute Refusal; nevertheless, I do not see that you are oblig'd for that Reason to sequester your self from all the Happiness of human Life; for in so doing, you punish your innocent virtuous self instead of him the Criminal. No, Madam, (continued I) let me beg you to alter that Resolution, and when you have given your Refusal legally before the Senate, desire to return hither to your Grandmother. And though the Place be remote, and by its Distance from Rome something solitary, yet, believe me, it will not be so long; for if you go not to Rome, your Beauty and Merit will bring Rome hither; for Nature makes not her Work in vain. She made your Beauty to be admir'd and belov'd, and when the World knows you are quite detach d from Marcellus, every Heart will hope for some small Place in your Favour. The Youths will come to adore your Beauty, the Beauties to enjoy the Sweetness of your Conversation, and the grave ones to honour your Virtue, and altogether make an agreeable Concourse of pleasant Company. We were in this Kind of Discourse, when Fidelius came to us, and with a sad Countenance told us, that he had found the Place of a very unlucky Rencounter, and then bursting into Tears, said, he had there found his Noble Master slain, whose Body he intended to have brought away; but whilst he run about to catch his Horse, (which was got from him) the Body was gone. At this Relation I fainted quite away. Fideliusran to the House to get some little Cordial for me; in the mean Time, Jemella, and Milena, my Woman, by rubbing, and other Endeavours, brought me to my self; when, all on the sudden, there rush'd in at the Back Gate of the Garden Clodius and his Servants, who, in spite of all our Cries and Resistance, took us away; for Clodiusbeing conscious of what he had done to Fabius, had left Rome for fear of being apprehended, and was now making his Way to Sardinia, where he had a stately Castle, and great Lordships. Being alighted at this Place, to view a curious Piece of carved Work over the Gate, he heard our Voices, and finding the Gate open, by what Accident or Negligence I know not, he rush'd in and took us away as before mention'd. We soon arriv'd on the Sea−Coast, where he had a Vessel ready, in which he imbark'd us, and for an Augmentation of our Misfortune, he put us in different Cabins, where, according to his wild amorous Humour, he made Love to us both alternatively; and here he own'd to me, that he had made that Attempt on Fabius, purely for my sake, to deliver me from the Necessity of casting away my Wit, Youth, and Beauty, on a sober, moral Plebeian Idol, as he was pleas'd to term the noble and vertuous Fabius: And that out of no Motive (added he) but an Itch of being counted the vertuous, discreet, and dutiful Scipiana, a Pattern to the Youth, and the Envy of the Matrons, a Curb to the present licentious Age, and an Example to the future. Thus you vertuous Pretenders please your Vanity, and pride your selves in giving Laws to the World; and this it is engages you to accept of Fabius for an Husband; for very well I know, that your Inclinations are not towards him; therefore I hope you will not refuse your Deliverer, who has generously taken you out of this Prison of Formality, in which you must have been confin'd for your whole Life. Accept then graciously this Service from your noble Knight Errant Clodius.
This kind of Raillery, as it was displeasing to me in it self, so doubly offensive, by reason of my sorrowful Circumstances; which, when he perceiv'd, he chang'd the Manner of his Discourse, and with all Submission and Respect endeavour'd to excuse himself, and assert his Passion, which I mean not to repeat; for you know Clodiusis Possessor of an Affluence of Wit, and can turn his Discourse as he pleases; which if he would use to vertuous Ends, he might deservedly have a Place in the Catalogue of Worthies; but he always follows the wild Mazes mark'd out by Fancy or Humour, without any Regard to Reason or Judgment, so that he renders himself a very odd Original, which I hope will never be copy'd by any of our noble Romans.
Having thus persecuted me with his Courtship, to which he found nothing but disobliging Returns, he left me, and went to Jemella, on the same Errand, as I suppose. When I was alone, Grief supply'd the Place of Indignation, and the Thoughts of my Brother's Death supplanted all other Reflections, and every Reflection on that sorrowful Subject pierc'd my Heart with a new Wound of Grief; for whether I consider'd his Glories, his Vertues, or his fraternal Love to me, or any of his excellent Endowments, all was Excess of Sorrow, because I found my self depriv'd of all; great were his Merits, but greater was my Love; the Excess of both transported me so, that I wish'd my self dead, senseless, or a Prey to some Sea−Monster. I condemn'd those Philosophers as Teachers of false Principles, who assert, that the Desire of a Being is inseparable to our Nature; for the Misfortune of being cast into the Hands of Clodius, as well as the Death of my Brother, render'd Life to me an insupportable Burden, that I thought nothing so agreeable to my Wish as Death or Annihilation; but Experience, which often contradicts and overthrows Speculation, soon convinc'd me of the Extravagancy of these Fancies; for all on a sudden there broke out a Fire in the Ship, (by what Accident I know not) which being past all Hopes of extinguishing, we betook ourselves to what Shifts we could to prolong our Lives, if but for a few miserable Moments. And to shew the Instability of our Natures, I, who but just before was so much in Love with Death, now courted Life as earnestly as any Pretender to her greatest Favours, and was very glad to be fasten'd on a Piece of the Hulk, and so committed to the other Element, in Hopes it wou'd be more merciful than that of Fire.
As Scipiana was going on with her Discourse, she was interrupted by a Youth approaching them, who ask'd, if the House of my Lord Publius Scipio was near, forasmuch as he had Letters and Business of Consequence to deliver to that noble Lord; wherefore the two Ladies, rising from their Seat, commanded the Youth to follow them, in order to conduct him to my Lord Publius Scipio, where we will leave them for a Time, and return to the Strangers we left at Marcellus's House, at the other Side the Grove.
Marcellus having promis'd to espouse the Cause of his accidental Guest, inform'd them who he was and the Reason of his being there in Disguise; and, in Pursuance of this his Promise, he took Orders to have such Necessaries provided, as were fit to appear in before Publius, to whom he resolv'd to state the Case of his Amour with Clelia, considing in his Wisdom and Goodness, to have all Things adjusted according to Reason and Honour; and whilst Accoutrements were thus preparing, the Person who was still unknown, at the Desire of the others, recited his Adventures to them as follows:
My Name, (said he) is Exilius, and by my Speech I should be a Roman; but I never knew any other Place or Habitation, but a certain Rocky Island near Sardinia, where, in a Cave, my Father and I liv'd, or rather breath'd, for one cannot call such an Abode living. Some confus'd Notions remain still in my Mind of another kind of Being before we came thither, but I know not what nor where; nor was my Father ever willing to inform me, when Curiosity excited me to enquire. In this Island we were Lords and Servants, Prince and People, having no other Co−habitants for us either to command or to obey; the Sun and Stars were our unerring Clocks and Kalendars; our Thoughts and Actions, like our Food, admitted no Variety; our necessitated Temperance was our Physick, and we felt no Change of Weather in our Bones, till we saw it in the Skies; our Health made our Food and hard Lodging as grateful to us, as all the costly Feasts the noble Romans enjoy under their rich embroider'd Canopies; a good Conscience was our never failing Opiate, to procure us sound Sleep; and if a Night−Crow or a Skriech−Owl thought fit to serenade us at our Couchée, it did not fright us into dismal Dreams, any more than roaring Winds or beating Billows could disturb the Tranquility of our waking Thoughts. Hope and Fear, the Companions of human Life, were to us mere Strangers, that if we saw a Comet in the Sky, we dreaded not its Influence, nor did good Aspects make us hope for any Thing but what we had; our Way of Living reconcil'd us to all the Contradictions of human Life, and took away the Fear of Death. Content was to us great Riches, and Poverty was our sure Guard; we found Plenty in a very little, and satisfy'd our Ambition in the Contempt of sublunary Acquests. Thus we pass'd our Moments in a serene or rather insipid Tranquility, each succeeding Day supplanted its Predecessor, without the least Adventure to render any one remarkable; for we knew not what our Fellow−Creatures acted in the great World, excepting sometimes that we went to Sardinia to buy Provisions, having a little Boat of our own for that Use. Never would my Father be persuaded to leave this his belov'd Retreat, tho' I sometime solicited him with such Arguments as my Youth and Vanity inspir'd.
Having been one Day at Sardinia, we heard News of the great Preparation for the Asian Expedition, in which the young Scipio was constituted General. My Father perceiving in me a certain Inclination to practise in the Army some of those Precepts in which he had long instructed me, his dear Disciple, with much Goodness and paternal Affection told me, the Time was now come, in which Reason oblig'd him to use Violence to his Inclinations, in resolving to part with me, the only Happiness of his disconsolate Abode: But, said he, Heaven requires it, the Service of your Country calls for it, and, most of all, your own Merits lay a just Claim to it; and tho' your tender Affection towards me restrains your Words on that Subject, nevertheless your Eyes and every Action of your Life speaks, and I am bound to hear, and grant a Request so just and reasonable; then go, my Son, the Darling of my Soul, the Happiness of the poor Remnant of my Days, go, I say, serve thy Country, assist thy noble young General, and gain Glory to thy self; whilst I, thy poor doating Sire, in this my uncouth Solitude shall offer my perpetual Vows. These tender Words, mix'd with his Tears, in spight of all my Endeavours, forc'd a Passage for mine, that 'twas some Time before I could reply for Weeping; and with humble Thanks told him, that I should so carefully observe these excellent Instructions, which he had daily inculcated into me his much oblig'd Disciple, that I doubted not but to reap a very fertile Harvest of Glory, which I promis'd to bring Home to him, not only as the Proprietor, but the Cultivator of the Soil; and 'tis certain, had my Application answer'd his Industry, I might have been a very accomplish'd Person; for there is not a greater Master in all Learning, Military and Civil, in all Exercises, both of Arts and Arms, than my Father. I perceiving that he was extreamly pleas'd at the Promise of my Return, repeated it to him again; adding, that no Diversity of Fortune should frustrate that Resolution, (if the Gods spar'd my Life) for if good, his Presence would make it double; if bad, his wise Conversation would diminish its Disagreements. This Assurance my Father receiv'd with all the Marks of Kindness possible, telling me, that my Love now equall'd that Duty I had always shew'd to him, and both made him a most happy Father; that he valued this Favour from the Gods much before Riches, or Honours, or any other Blessing of human Life. Many of these endearing Discourses pass'd between us during the Time that my small Equipage was preparing. In fine, our Parting was very sorrowful; a thousand Caresses, mixt with Tears, attended that ungrateful Moment; innumerable Sighs and Blessings accompany'd my Departure, and his constant Prayers follow'd me in my Voyage.
I got to the Army but few Days before that great Battle, which was to decide the Fate of Asia. I think I had the good Fortune to do some particular Service to the General: At these Words Marcellus in a great Suprize said, O good Gods, are you that signal Person, who so valiantly reliev'd our General, and thereby made Victory wait upon our Roman Eagles, who began to flag their Wings: O valiant Sir, (continued Marcellus, embracing him) you are not only in my Arms, but in my Heart, and in the Hearts of all honourable Commanders, and indeed of all noble Romans, who at this Time do, and for all future Ages shall, enjoy the Fruits of your Valour in that Day's Service. O! Sir, why were you so cruel to the noble General, and to us all, as to take your self from us, without giving us Opportunity to testify our Gratitude? How often have I heard the generous Scipio lament his Misfortune, in being depriv'd of you the Author of his Safety, before he had the Opportunity to render you Acknowledgments suitable to your Merits. Sir, reply'd Exilius, I knew the General's noble Nature would have heap'd greater Honours upon me, than my weak Merit was capable to support; and not only so, but I knew also his courteous affable Humour to be so engaging, that I durst not trust my self under the Temptation, having promis'd to return to my Father; therefore I chose rather to desert the most excellent Scipio, when simply my General, than when become my Benefactor; and perhaps his Benefits adorn'd with his Friendship also, which would have been too many strong Links for me to have broke, especially being already infeebled by a great Inclination towards this illustrious Hero. These Considerations, Sir, (continued Exilius) made me secretly leave the Army, and return to my Father in his Rocky Island, whose Health and tender Caresses were to me all that Ambition could prompt a young Heart to hope for, or Glory make it to enjoy. He signaliz'd his Love in every Word, and when Joy overcharg'd his aged Heart, so as to make him dumb, his Tears spoke, and in a more eloquent Manner than Words, testify'd his Satisfaction. His Thanksgiving to the Gods were incessant, as had been his Supplications on my Behalf while absent. Here we pass'd our Days in the same Tranquility as before, my Father in Devotion, and I in divers Sorts of Study; but chiefly Poetry was my darling Favourite. The Conversation of other Books were passant, as are the Entertainments of coquet Mistresses; but this, like a faithful Spouse, was my constant Companion; in her I enjoy'd the whole World, from the Shepherd's peaceful Shades, to the Victor's triumphant Lawrels: In her I enjoy'd the Greatness of the Roman Senators, and the Riches of the Alexandrian Merchants; the Power of Kings, and the Happiness of well−govern'd People; the Brightness of the Court−Lady, and the Innocence of the Country−Maid; the Consolation of a faithful Friend, and the Diversion of a pleasant Companion. By her I thought our rocky Island a terrestrial Paradise, there being nothing to disturb my Enjoyment of this my fantastick Spouse. I here walking one Evening on the Side of the Rock, admiring the extreme Calm of the Sea and Serenity of the Air, contrary to what it had been the Day before, and having been reading a Greek Poet, who compares Women to Winds, and Seas, and other Things turbulent and changeable, my Thoughts turn'd themselves into these Words:
Ah! happy are we Anchorites that know
Not Fortune's Ebbs, nor when her Love will flow;
Nor yet the Storms that rage in Womens Breasts,
But here in Quiet build our Halcyon Nests,
Where no deceitful Calm our Faith beguiles,
No cruel Frowns, nor yet more cruel Smiles;
No rising Wave of Fate our Hopes advance,
Nor fear we fathomless Despair, or Chance:
But our strong Minds, like Rocks, their Firmness prove.
Defying both the Storms of Fate and Love.
As I thus entertain'd my Thoughts, lifting up my Eyes, I saw at a Distance like a Fire on the Sea, and looking on it earnestly, I perceiv'd something floating from it, driven by the Motion of the Waves; wherefore I made out our little Boat, concluding it some Thing or Person that had escap d the Fury of the Flames. Approaching near, I found it was a Woman fasten d on a Piece of the Ship, whom I took up, as Charity oblig'd me, and brought Home, where my Father and I used our Endeavours to bring her to Life, which in a little Time prov'd effectual. We put her into my Bed, and I gave my Father the Trouble of a Bedfellow that Night where I slept not at all; the Strangeness of the Adventure, and the Beauty of the Person, gave a pleasing Surprize to my whole Interiour, and put such a Guard on the Avenues of my Eyes, that Sleep could not enter, even when befriended by the Darkness of the Night, and the Silence of our rocky Cavern.
When Light, the busy Inspectrix of all our Actions, had exercis'd her prying Faculty into our Cave, I, being excited by Curiosity, drew near the Bed, where the weary Stranger lay in a profound Sleep, with her Arms carelesly cast over her Head; O Gods, how was my poor Heart charm'd, and all my Senses ravish'd at this pleasing View! I concluded that nothing human could be so divinely fair; no, no, (said I) it is some Goddess descended from Above, and by her seeming Distress tries how we would exercise our Charity towards our Fellow−Creatures on the like Occasion, therefore as such she ought to be ador'd. Then kneeling down, in soft Whispers I implor'd her Protection; a thousand extravagant Things I utter'd, as on my Knees I lay all trembling in a devout Extasy.
The clear Light shining into the Cave, awak'd my Father, which I no sooner perceiv'd, but I softly left my Station. He arose with as little Noise as possible, that he might not disturb her; however, he was scarce got ready when she awak'd, to whom he address'd with the usual Civilities of the Morning; after which he enquir'd of her Country, and the Cause of her Distress: To which she reply'd, that her Name was Scipiana, Daughter to Publius Scipio,who had been carried away by Clodius, and so was reduc'd to that Distress, by means of the Ship's being burnt. This Knowledge of her Quality augmented our Respect, and doubled our Desires of rendering her Service, of which my Father made all the Assurances possible, withal telling her, that no Opportunity should be omitted for her Return, either speedily in Person, or by sending Letters to her Father, that he might give Order as he thought convenient. Scipiana giving my Father Thanks, told him she desir'd to return in Person with all possible speed, tho' I shall find little Satisfaction (continued she) in my native Country, since I can no more see nor enjoy that Delight of my Eyes and Treasure of my Heart, the noble Asiaticus, my belov'd Brother, of whom I am depriv'd by an unfortunate Death. O Gods! said Marcellus, interrupting her, is it certain then, that the brave, the generous Scipio Asiaticus is no more! Has the Tyrant Death depriv'd Mankind of that Ornament of our Being in general, and of our Country in particular? Scipiana, his Sister, affirm'd it, reply'd Exilius: At which Marcellus again interrupted him with Tears and Lamentations for his own and the publick Loss, in the Death of that incomparable Hero: Never could Rome boast of a more accomplish'd Worthy, (continued he) for he was in all Things exemplary; Learning and Wisdom, Valour and Vertue, he possess'd, with all their most bright Imbellishments, Asiaticus! Asiaticus! my dear Friend! my noble General! unhappy that I am to live to hear this doleful News. I was honour'd in thy Friendship; I glory'd in being thine Associate in the War: I was proud of being thy Cotemporary. But, ah! my Friend, my Glory, Happiness, and Satisfaction, is all sunk with thee into thy Grave. O ye Gods, why have ye made Mankind of such a brittle Nature! or why have you made some so desireable and pleasing to all others, and then snatch them away from us, when our Affections are most firmly fix'd to their Merits, or when we stand most in Need of their Examples! O ye Divine Powers! if I durst, I wou'd accuse your Providence; but ah! that wou'd not restore me my Asiaticus, my Country's Asiaticus, nay, even the World's Asiaticus; with many other doleful Lamentations of this Kind, to that Degree, that the Company (tho' Strangers) cou'd not forbear weeping also. After having paid this just Tribute to the Memory of his worthy Friend, he endeavour'd to refrain himself, and begg'd Exilius to proceed.
Exilius returning to his Discourse, said, Whilst my Father endeavour'd to consolate and assist Scipiana, I withdrew out of the Cave, as not being able to support the Sight of those Tears, each Drop of which was more painful than so much Blood pouring from my Heart; and taking the same little Walk on the Side of the Rock, where, the Evening before, I had entertain'd my Muse in Praise of that dismal Abode. I here chid my Heart for the Crimes it had committed all its Life against Love and Beauty. I told it, that such a Rebel deserv'd to wear less noble Chains than those Fortune had provided for it in the Person of Scipiana. Alas! said I, how ignorant was I last Night of true Happiness, to think it consisted in a dull Neglect, or Stoical Contempt of all Human Pleasures; or to imagine any true Felicity cou'd be had without its true Author, Woman. With these kind of Thoughts I entertain'd my self, till the pregnant Fancy took Birth in these Words:
Ah! beauteous Sex, to you we're bound to give
Our Thanks for all the Blessings we receive:
Ev'n that we're Men, the Chief of all our Boast,
Without your Sex, were a vast Blessing lost.
In vain wou'd Man his mighty Patent show,
That Reason makes him Lord of all below;
If Woman did not moderate his Rule,
He'd be a Tyrant, or a softly Fool:
For e'er Love's Documents inform his Breast,
He's but a thoughtless kind of Houshold Beast.
Houses, alas! there no such Things wou'd be,
He'd live beneath the Umbrage of a Tree;
Or else usurp some Free−born Native's Cave,
And so inhabit, whilst alive, a Grave;
Or o'er the World this lordly Brute wou'd rove,
Were he not taught and civiliz'd by Love.
'Tis Love and Beauty regulate our Souls;
No Rules so certain as in Cupid's Schools.
Your Beauty teaches whatsoe'er is good,
Else Good from Bad had scarce been understood;
What's eligible by your Smiles we know,
And by your Frowns refuse what is not so.
Thus the rough Draught of Man you have refin'd,
And polish'd all the Passions of his Mind.
His Cares you lessen, and his Joys augment,
To both Extreams set the just Bounds, Content.
In fine, 'tis you to Life its Relish give,
Or 'twere insipid, not worth while to live.
Nay, more, we're taught Religion too by you;
'Twas not by Chance that such Perfections grew;
No, no, it was th'Eternal Pow'rs which thus
Chose to exhibit their bright Selves to us;
And, for an Antepast of future Bliss,
Sent you (their Images) from Paradise.
I had scarce finish'd these Words, when I saw Scipiana coming out of the Cave, like Lightning out of a Cloud, striking me, the poor Beholder, that I remain'd immoveable, 'till she, approaching, ask'd me divers Questions of the Place, and our Way of Living; telling me it was Pity that such a Personage should live in such a Kind of savage Solitude, where I cou'd no way be useful to the World, nor answer the End of my Creation. I have (said she) been perswading your Father to quit this uncouth Way of Living, and make Mankind happy in his excellent Conversation; and not only so, but reform the World by his vertuous Example. In this Discourse we were, when my Father, coming out of the Cave, commanded me to go to Sardinia, and there hire a Ship, with all Things necessary, to carry Scipiana into Italy, to her Father, according as she desir'd. This I perform'd with Speed and Success, in few Hours bringing with me a Vessel, and all Conveniencies for her Service; and by my Father's Command, I was to wait upon her in her Voyage, which she was very unwilling to permit, as being loth to bereave my Father of his Company; and therefore most earnestly invited Him along with me; but he cou'd not be prevail'd upon to leave his beloved Cell, which no doubt was to him a certain Heaven, where his devout Soul conversed daily with the Powers divine.
We sail'd with a prosperous Gale, which in a little Time wou'd have brought us on the Italian Shoar at Cajeta,where we intended to disembark, that Port being near the House of Publius Scipio, her noble Father; but passing by the Coasts of Sicily, we were met by Pyrates, who being many and well arm'd, soon made themselves our Masters. They carry'd us into Egypt, where we were sold to a Merchant of Alexandria. Here Scipiana thought fit to conceal her Name and Quality, 'till she cou'd find Means to inform her Father of her Condition, thereby to receive his Orders, and so direct her Measures accordingly. She call'd herself Exilia, by which Name you are to know her in my succeeding Discourse. She was pleas'd to honour me so far as to oblige me to call her Sister, pretending to be private Citizens of Rome, and had been at Sardinia on some Business, and were taken in our Return.
Our Master, who was one of the wealthiest Citizens of Alexandria, and of a generous genteel Inclination, observ'd in us something so agreeable, that he treated us more like Friends than Slaves; and finding Scipiana of an extraordinary Beauty, and all other Qualifications equivalent to that of her lovely Person, he made a Present of her to a certain Court Lady, his Friend, at once to oblige her, and to place Scipiana in a better State of Servitude. This Lady observing Exilia's Perfections, (which indeed were such as could not be hid) put her into a very rich Dress, and on the Queen's Birth Day made a Present of her to her Majesty. The Queen, who is in her Nature very gracious and affable, soon became acquainted with Exilia's Perfections; in particular, Exilia was Mistress of a very fine Voice, with which she frequently diverted the Queen, who lov'd the Italian Airs, as well as their Language. Exilia being thus esteem'd by the Queen, her Majesty was graciously pleas'd to ask her about her Country and Kindred; which gave her an Opportunity to let her Majesty know of my being in Bondage with the Merchant my Master, representing me as her Brother; upon which her Majesty was pleas'd to order me to be brought into her Presence, and when she saw me, she told me, 'twas Pity a Person of my Stature shou'd remain in Bondage, and therefore with much Goodness purchas'd my Freedom; and in Consideration that Romans are generally good Soldiers, made me to be plac'd in the Guards, 'till some proper Post might fall for my Advancement. In the mean Time, Exilia's Merits promoted her daily in the Queen's Favour, that in a little Time the Queen not only discharg'd her of Bondage, but plac'd her among the chief of her Retinue.
Thus was Exilia advanc'd in few Days from Slavery, to a Station of great Honour, where her Beauty and Virtue shin'd in their proper Sphere, rendering her the Object of every Bodies Esteem. Her Words and Actions were the Model by which the Ladies fashion'd their Discourse and Behaviour; her Beauty was the Theme of the Gentlemens Admiration and Entertainment; her Piety edify'd the Devout and Aged, and her Wit charm'd the Gay and Young: her courteous affable Way made her belov'd by Inferiours, and her Prudence made her esteem'd by Equals and Superiours, and by none more than by her Majesty.
Thus I beheld her at a Distance, without Hopes of farther Happiness, too well knowing myself and her, to dare to name my Passion to her, telling myself that I ought to conceal it from my own Thoughts and Knowledge, if possible; but alas, the Flame was too violent to be extinguish'd, and all the Efforts of my Reason were little enough to suppress it so far as not to be perceiv'd by others. O Scipiana, Scipiana! said I to myself, thou who art Daughter to one of the Grandees of the Earth, as a Goddess fair, and as the Graces good; how dare a Wretch like me think on thee, but as a Thing most sacred? Yet, Wretch as I am, I must for ever think, and wish, and long, and love thee, though without Hope; for it is impossible for Gods or Fortune ever to render me worthy to own my Passion to thee, so great is the Disparity between us; for no Advancement on my Side can level our original Inequality. Then die, Exilius, for Shame die, let Despair kill thee, thou deservest no less Punishment, for harbouring a Thought so arrogant, or rather impious, in daring to love one who ought only to be belov'd by a King or a Deity. Thus I pass'd my Moments in deadly Anxiety and Despair, which augmented by the Discovery I made of the King's Inclinations towards Exilia; for his Majesty, who never kept any Guard over his Eyes or Heart, but suffer'd them to range after every fresh Beauty, soon became sensible of Exilia's Charms; of which, as a quick−sighted Rival, I could not be ignorant, nor could have possibly supported, had I not been fortify'd by the Assurance of Exilia's Vertue.
One Day, the King going to see a new Ship, which lay in the Port of Alexandria, as he pass'd from that to view another of equal Greatness, which lay just by; his Foot slipp'd, so that he fell down between the two Ships: Whilst all look'd on without Hopes of recovering him, I, who had accustom'd myself to swimming, and in particular to diving, leap'd in, and caught hold of him, and brought him up, to the great Joy of all the By−standers. This Service the King accepted with greater Expressions of Gratitude than I expected, forasmuch as that therein I did but what my Duty oblig'd me to; for tho' I was not his Subject, yet he was my Master and Benefactor; and tho' he was my Rival, he was not mine Enemy, and above being my Competitor. A while after this, his Majesty being dissatisfy'd with one of the Captains of his Guard, Piso by Name (of whom more hereafter) he took away his Commission and gave it to me; which Honour was not only a Happiness to me in itself, but doubly so, in Regard that it a little diminish'd the Inequality betwixt me and the bright Scipiana.
Now you must know, that the Egyptians are extreamly jealous of the Roman Greatness, therefore cannot endure that we should bear any Office of Honour or Profit among them; and this being a Charge of great Trust as well as Honour, caused perpetual Murmurings among the People, which was fomented by the disgraced Captain and his Friends, with all the subtil Insinuations possible; as if the King meant to join with the Romans, to overthrow the Religion and Laws of the Ægyptians. These Murmurings once infus'd into the Heads and Hearts of the People, fermented so till their Discontents broke out into an absolute Rebellion, which took its Beginning in the Country, some Miles distant from Alexandria. The Rebels were headed by Piso, the aforesaid disgrac'd Captain; who making towards Alexandria, daily increas'd their Body, pretending that all they did or intended, was for the Service of the Gods, and the Preservation of their Laws and Religion.
The King resolv'd to send the Prince Philometer, his Brother, against them, with what Force he could make, which was not great, having but few regular Troops, and those which were then rais'd, for want of understanding Discipline, were capable of doing but small Service; besides the Danger of their being already infected with rebellious Principles; and what was equally unhappy, the Prince Philometer, who was to lead these Troops, was very little belov'd, being counted in his Heart a Jew, which was the Religion on Earth the most hated by the Egyptians. These Things being consider'd, there was great Reason to doubt the Success, tho' otherwise Philometerwas an excellent Prince, endow'd with great Wisdom and Courage, and much experienc'd in the War; a very just and pious Prince, a true Friend, and a kind loving Brother; the best of Masters to his Servants, and a faithful Subject to his King; but these and divers other excellent Qualities, could not counterpoize that Aversion the People had taken against his Religion, to wit, the Jewish Way of Worship. In fine, his Want of Fortune, or the Soldiers Want of Fidelity, I know not which, lost the Day, and the Army was put to Flight, and he himself taken Prisoner.
This Success of the Rebels, as it afflicted all honest and honourable Hearts, so it rejoiced all wicked and rebellious Spirits; that as the Country was the Theatre of an open and actual Rebellion, so Alexandria was the Nursery where they got their Parts; for in all their Clubs and Cabals, Treason went down smoother than their Liquor, and black Contrivances were easier digested into Action, than their plentiful Suppers into Nourishment. Scandalous Libels, stuffed with Malice and awkward Wit, (fit to take raw young Readers) were thrown into every Shop, thereby to make the Boys silly Hands ready to execute in the Day what their Masters more silly Heads contriv'd in the Night: The Priests prophane the Temples with false Explanations of the Oracles, and made the Gods the Authors of their Crimes, and pretend, that all their Sacrilege and Rebellion is for the Sake of the Gods. Thus they fed themselves with Iniquity, and cloath'd themselves with Hypocrisy; they bubbled the Vulgar with Lies, and betray'd their Superiours with Perjury. One ridiculous Custom they have lately taken up, that on the Feast−Day of their God Apis, they make a solemn Procession, in Contempt of the Jews and their Religion, making Figures of their chief Writers and Rabbins, and when they have carry'd them thro' the City with shouting and reviling Acclamations, they come to the Place prepar'd, and there burn them with loud Shouts and Huzzas; so, by these and the like Practices, they keep themselves in a continual Heat and Ferment against they know not who or what; for the Jewsare so few, and so little formidable, that there is no Cause of Fear; but to be sure their Leaders direct their Malice against the King, perswading the People that he design'd to subvert the Government, and submit himself to the Roman Senate, which in them is the last Degree of Madness. Nevertheless, in this Condition was his Majesty in a Manner besieg'd in his own Palace, and subordinate to his Subjects; his Army ruin'd by the Rebels, his City mutinous, his Servants and Counsellors treacherous, that he knew not which Way to turn himself, nor on whom he could depend. However, he drew out another Army of such Forces as he could make; many of the Army being Romans, he made Officers over his new−rais'd Troops; and, in Consideration of the good Success which commonly attends the Romans, he was pleas'd to commit these Troops to my Conduct.
Now it was that I had a great Debate with myself, whether I should discover my Passion to Scipiana, before I went, or no; sometimes resolving on the Positive, in Consideration of her Goodness, supposing she would now compassionate my Absence, especially going on so dangerous an Enterprize, or rather desperate, by Means of the little Hopes there were of the Fidelity of the Troops; this I thought would extort her Pity, and moderate that Anger I might justly fear from an Attempt so audacious. I thought, that if it should be my Fate to fall in this Service, one Tear shed on my Hearse, as on the Hearse of her Lover, would render me happy in Eternity. But then again, reflecting on her original Greatness, and my own Obscurity, I concluded, no Goodness could or ought to pardon such a Declaration, but that it would make my Memory her Aversion: Which Thought made me fix on the Negative, saying to my self,
Oh! no, Exilius, thou must be content
With Friendship's Tears to deck thy Monument.
For 'tis a Crime thy Passion to relate,
Exposing thee to her just Scorn and Hate.
Withal concluding, that if the Gods should unexpectedly favour me with Victory, my Love would then be a more reasonable Offering to her divine Perfections. Wherefore, at my Departure, I only behav'd my self to her as a Friend and Brother, with which Title she had honour'd me, as before mention'd.
When I took my Leave of the Princess Philometra, the King's Niece, I was a little surpriz'd at some sensible Expressions from her Highness. Pardon me (continued Exilius) if I am too bold in the Interpretation of her Words and Looks. I know it to be a Fault our Sex is extreamly accus'd of, that we misinterpret the Words and Looks of Ladies, and so flatter our selves into a vain Hope or Expectation of Favours never meant us; and when, in the Conclusion, we find our selves balk'd, we as falsly accuse them of Inconstancy, as before we censur'd them of Kindness, for one is commonly the Consequent of the other; and when we build the airy Castle of fancy'd Favours, it is but just we fall into the Abyss of their Displeasure. How far I may seem guilty in your Opinions I know not; but the Princess, after divers Turns of Discourse, all tending to a particular Concern for me, at last presented to me a large Ruby, cut in Form of a flaming Heart, and commanded me to be careful of my Life for her Sake. This Jewel was a little Present made her by the Prince of Lybia, and perhaps was the Cause of that Discontent which made him leave the Egyptian Court, as you shall know hereafter.
I march'd the Army with all convenient Speed against the Rebels, who, flush'd with Success, were become dissolute and abandon'd to all manner of Crimes and loose Living; Murder, Rapin, and Oppression, were frequently practis'd by them; and if the suffering Inhabitants complain'd to the Commanders, they found no Redress, the Soldiers being now as ready to rebel against their Officers, as before against their King; insomuch that Justice could not be executed, for fear of a Mutiny or total Revolt, which is not strange; for where there is only a precarious and not a legal Authority, Commands are ill exhibited, and worse obey'd; for such a Kind of an usurp'd Power is, as it were, a Burlesque on Justice, and a Banter on Government, which serve rather to increase than to correct Crimes; for, a wild Vine cannot bring forth good Grapes, but certain Berries, to poyson and intoxicate. I need not enlarge on the Madness of a Multitude, it being too well known; but as a Mob rampant is a most formidable Monster, so nothing is more serviceable than that Beast when couchant; to which State, by the Assistance of the Gods, I reduc'd the Egyptian Mob, (for an Army of Rebels deserve no better Title.) I defeated their Force, deliver'd the Captive Prince, retook all their fortify'd Towns, and so utterly dispers'd the Rebels, that I left no Marks of this Rebellion, but the executed Bodies of their Leaders, the chief of whom was the wicked Piso.
Thus I return'd to Alexandria, with as much Happiness as Victory could help me to, and receiv'd such Honours and Acknowledgments from the King, and the Prince Philometer, as anticipated Expectation, and non−plus'd even Ambition; all which Royal Favours I valu'd in a double Regard, as being most worthy and honourable in themselves, and supposing them fit Garlands to adorn the Offering of my Love, which I design'd to make to Exilia the first Opportunity. But, oh good Heavens! how were my Hopes blasted, when I heard that the King design'd to espouse her. The Queen, by her own earnest Desire, and the Consent of the Council, was to be divorc'd; for she being the King's own Sister, and a devout Woman, was never thoroughly content with that incestuous Marriage; and 'tis suppos'd also, that the King's Conscience upbraided him, especially when he was under those Apprehensions which were cast upon him by the late Rebellion, Afflictions from the Hand of Heaven, often making us look into our selves, to find the original Cause, by which Means we detect and punish those Crimes and Follies which we had industriously conceal'd, or perhaps audaciously avow'd. And thus it was with this Royal Couple; the King and Queen of Egypt, touch'd in their Consciences, brought this Affair before the Great Council of the Nation, who declar'd the Marriage null, and his Majesty at Liberty to chuse where he pleas'd; who, after a little Deliberation (for Decency's Sake) declar'd Exilia to be the Object of his Choice; alledging, that her Brother had done him such Service in sustaining the falling Crown, that even such an Honour to the Sister, was not over−paying the Obligation. His Majesty alledg'd also, that he having many Princes and Nobles, whose Daughters had equal Right both in Birth and Beauty, he could not prefer one without displeasing the other; so he hoped they would all unite in the Election he had made of this beautiful Stranger; and indeed, this Reason took with the greatest Part of the Nobility. In fine, it was in this as in most Things of the World, every one was pleas'd or displeas'd, as they were carry'd by Interest, Fancy, or Caprice; it was only I that was the miserable Wretch exalted into Ruin. Distracted and afflicted as I was, I went to Exilia's Apartment, where I found her just going to wait upon the Queen, who within a Day or two was to quit Alexandria, together with her Royal Dignity, and retire to a House prepar'd for her, far distant from the Town, and there to live as a Princess, the King's Sister. Exiliapermitted me to wait on her to the Queen, where she cast herself at the Queen's Feet, and with all Earnestness, within the Bounds of Humility and Respect, begg'd her Majesty to believe the Protestation she came to make of her Innocence. The Gods are my Witnesses, (said she) I was so far from contributing to this Affair on Foot, that I never knew the least of the King's Intention, neither against your Majesty, nor towards me; if I had, I should have thought myself bound in Duty to have used my poor Endeavours to have prevented its Progress e'er it came to this Pitch; for I am so thoroughly sensible of your Goodness towards me, that if my Life would restore you to the King's Favour, or secure your Royal Dignity, I would with Pleasure lay it down at your Feet this Moment. O! Madam, testify that you believe the Sincerity of my Words, by using your Endeavours with the King, that I may at least attend you to your Retreat; perhaps his Majesty in my Absence may change his Sentiments, and think on some great Princess, worthy to be Partner in his Royal Dignity. O leave me not here, a poor abandon'd Stranger, to be this Country's Aversion, and the World's Censure, in being declar'd the Object of the King's Affections! The King, I know, is too good and gracious to espouse me by Force, and my Consent I cannot give, in Prejudice of you, my Royal Mistress and Benefactrix. Then embracing the Queen's Knees, with a Shower of Tears, she repeated her Supplication.
The Queen very graciously embrac'd Exilia, commanded her to dry her Tears, and cease her Apprehensions; for (said her Majesty) I perfectly know your Innocence; and that you may have true Repose of Mind, be assur'd that all this is the Will of Heaven, as I shall now inform you: So commanding us both to sit down, she related as follows:
I was very young, said the Queen, when I was marry'd to the King my Brother, of which our Laws allow, or at least connive at. Now, tho' my Brother's amiable Person, and tender Passion for me, render'd these Espousals very agreeable, yet I had a secret and inward Reluctancy in Consideration of our Proximity; and tho' I lov'd him more than a Brother, yet wish'd he had not been so. I lov'd him as my Husband, honour'd him as my King, tender'd him as my Lover; yet the Remembrance of his being my Brother, imbitter'd all these. Whether this proceeded from that Veneration I had for the Jewish Law, or that it was the Law of Nature, I know not; but I durst not oppose the Marriage, least I should be suspected of Judaism, (to which the Royal Family are suppos'd to be too much inclin'd) for tho' the Jews marry in their own Families, yet never such near Relations as Brother and Sister. After being marry'd some Years, and had no Child, I was more troubled in my Thoughts, and my Doubts increas'd, fearing the State in which I liv'd with my Brother, was not pleasing to the Gods; wherefore, on a solemn great Festival, I made my Devotions in the Temple of Isis, begging this Goddess of my Country to inspire me what to do, as also lifting up my Heart to the God of the Jews: The Night following I had a strange Vision, for I thought I saw in my Sleep this Goddess appear to me, saying these Words:
Change thy Life: Thy Time improve:
Let not Marriage Vows with hold thee:
To a Roman yield thy Love:
Fear not th'Event; the Gods have told thee.
The Vision was so plain, and I remember'd it so perfectly, that I could not but think it more than a Dream, but knew not how to believe it divine Inspiration, because it seem'd to counsel a Crime; for one cannot think Divinity and Immorality consistent. However, I sent for the High Priest of Isis, in whom I thought I might confide, he being my Nurse's Son, and, for her Sake, by me preferr'd to that great Dignity.
Now you must know that my Nurse was a natural Daughter to a Prince of the Blood Royal of the Ptolemys. She had been marry'd to one Piso, a Native of Rome; but having liv'd in my Father's Service from his childhood, his Original was so forgot by the Egyptians, that he was not look'd on as a Stranger, nor malign'd as a Roman. My Father having Occasion to send him to Rome, on an Embassy, he took his Wife along with him, and had there his Son, the wicked Piso, Leader of the late Rebellion, who, tho' he was a Roman born, and the Son of a Roman, yet was never look'd on as such, being always in our Service: Unless, perhaps, his rebellious Inclinations wove himself a Veil, which hid his Original from the People's Notice. But to return: I secretly consulted the said High−Priest, who told me, that the Vision, without all Doubt, was literally to be interpreted, and that I ought to embrace a Roman, for the Good of my Country; that the Gods, who were just and good, preferr'd the greater to a lesser Advantage, a publick to a private Benefit; that we ought to follow their Example; and now, that the Welfare of Egypt, nay, perhaps, the very Being of its Laws and Constitutions, depended on this Action. I was bound to obey the Gods, who, in a Manner, had given me a positive Command. But I insisted, that I thought it impossible that the Gods could authorize a Crime of any Kind, much less one so black as this, and of such dangerous Consequence. To which he reply'd, that nothing was good or bad, criminal or innocent in itself, but as the Powers Divine had ordain'd; and when it pleas'd them to dispense with those their Ordinances, we their Creatures were bound to obey with all Submission. These, and many more Arguments of this Kind, he employ'd to evince his Assertion, which, I believe, is according to the Doctrine of that Religion, which is so far short of the Purity of that of the Jews, that there is no Place left for Comparison. The Consideration of which made me still more inclin'd to their Religion, of which (as aforesaid) I was already too much suspected.
After the High−Priest was return'd to Memphis, the Place of his proper Abode, his Mother (my Nurse) fail'd not to mind me of what he had said, (she having been present at this Discourse) always alledging the Will of the Gods, and the Good of Egypt; by which one sees how People are capable of being besotted, and fall into the worst of Ills, when once intoxicated with the Notion of some imaginary Good, especially their Country's Happiness, their Laws and Religion: When once their Understandings are bubbled with that Fancy, what is't they will not do? For, I perswade myself, this poor Woman meant, in some Degree, the Good of her Country, and the securing its Rights, Privileges, and Properties, Laws, and Religion, which made her so often mind me of the Will of the Gods. But I, who was innocent, and my Intentions truly vertuous, did not penetrate the whole Drift of her Insinuations, notwithstanding many gross Hints, 'till at last, with humble Apologies, and earnest Protestations of Duty to the Gods, and the Royal Interest, she let me know that Piso, her unfortunate Son Piso, dy'd for me; with Showers of Tears, begging my Pardon on her Knees, and with her Tears mixing her Suplications, not to neglect the Will of Heaven, minding me also of Piso's being a Roman, and, on her Side, of the Blood Royal of the Ptolomys. Thus People often disguise their own Crimes, Follies, and Passions, dressing them as it were in Masquerade, and make them pass on Mankind for the Will of the Gods, and by this Means engage the World in the most criminal Undertakings. But I was too well acquainted with the Doctrine of the Jews, to be thus put upon, otherwise, perhaps, my Vertue might have stagger'd at these their plausible and godly Arguments; to which add Piso'shandsom Person and engaging Mien, together with the two most excellent Accomplishments of his Sex, Wisdom and Valour, which he possess'd most distinctly, one might truly say, he had the Head of Ulysses, and the Arms of Achilles; if he had also the Heart of an honest Man, and a faithful Subject, he had been a compleat finish'd Worthy. But to return to what I was saying of his Mother: I charg'd her never to speak to me more of that Subject, on Pain of my highest Displeasure, which she durst not disobey. But whilst her Tongue was silent, Piso's Eyes, and all his Gestures, spake; they talk'd and supplicated on his Behalf; his Looks declar'd his Thoughts, and his Eyes spake what his Lips conceal'd; all which my Looks answer'd with Scorn and Reprimands. But I am now sensible that was not sufficient; I ought to have punish'd him, his Mother, and his Brother the High−Priest, and so have nipp'd in the Bud their audacious Enterprize; for where Persons of my Station slack the Reins of Justice, it is not strange that the Practices of the Wicked take Effect, and hurry us on to our Overthrow; for 'tis certain, Rewards and Punishments, duly exhibited, are the very Nerves of Government: But in these, the King, as well as myself, was to blame; for he heap'd Favours according to his Fancy, and I pardon'd Faults according to the Mildness of my Nature, not Judgment: And tho' these were Errors on the right Hand, yet still they were Errors which led us almost to our Ruin; for had I degraded and punish'd the High−Priest, for having misinterpreted the holy Oracles, I had broke the Cords of their fine−wove Intrigue, and stopp'd that Source of Mischief which has since flow'd with such Violence. The Truth is, I had sometimes Thoughts to let the King know the Affair; but then again, I consider'd that would endanger Piso's Life, at least I knew it would be his total Ruin; for Piso already began to totter in the King's Favour; his Majesty having remark'd how ready he was to take Part with those that were suspected of Mutiny; and when any were charg'd with seditious Words or Libels, Piso was always the Advocate to justify or excuse them to the King; and so, on all Accounts, the King's Enemies were Piso's Friends, that his Majesty had great Reason to suspect him, according to the common Remark, If one will know a Man, observe what Company he keeps. But tho' the King had Reason to suspect, yet he had no just Cause to punish, not knowing his Crime towards me; and on the other Side, I was willing to forget, or not understand it; for since he lock'd up his Passion in Silence, I thought it was best to leave it so, without seeking the Key, or picking the Lock, by taking any Notice of it; moreover, I had a real Kindness for him, not only as a Person endow'd with many excellent Qualities, but as he was my Nurse's Son, and Play−fellow in my Childhood, for which Cause I had continually patroniz'd him, and rais'd him and his Brother to these Dignities; and on the same Consideration conceal'd this Folly, thinking it was only the Effect of Youth, which would pass with those Precautions I had taken.
In the mean Time the Wretch used all sinister and indirect Means to make himself popular, and diminish the People's Affections towards the King. By his Industry, under−hand and unperceiv'd, he found Means to remove the King's Friends out of all Places and Offices of Trust, rais'd the People's Clamour against the Jews and the Romans, 'till they were all remov'd; for they being Strangers, without Patron or Dependance, but on the immediate Favour of his Majesty, were not likely to comply with Piso's Interest, or any other, in Opposition to the King's: Among these were two Jewish Eunuchs, who belong'd to my Apartment, whose Fidelity Piso knew; and that, I believe, was one Cause that they and all the Jews were banish'd the Court, under Pretence of their being dangerous Persons, and Enemies to the Royal Interest; whereas the Bottom of all was, Piso thought they were too just to be suborn'd to his Projects.
Piso having by his own Industry, and the King's Negligence, brought Things to this Pass, thought that now he need stick at nothing, and resolv'd to make his lewd Addresses to me: Wherefore he conspir'd with his Mother, that on a certain Night, when it should be her Turn to lodge in my Bed−chamber, and the King in his own Apartment, that Piso should be hid in my Lodgings 'till all was quiet, and then to appear, having suborn'd my Eunuchs who waited in my Anti−chamber. But behold the Goodness of the Powers Divine!
There was an old Jew, of the Tribe of Levi, who liv'd always under the Protection of my Brother, the Prince Philometer, I suppose, not unknown to you, the good old Shadrac being known to every Body. This Man liv'd a most pious holy Life, up in a Turret in my Brother's Palace, where he rather dy'd daily than liv'd, his Life was so austere: This holy Shadrac, notwithstanding the strict Prohibition and Laws in Force against them all, came creeping to my Apartment, where I immediately receiv'd him into my Closet, as knowing he had something of Moment to say to me; so, in his Kind of Dialect he said, O Queen, the Snares of the Wicked are laid for thee this Night, therefore sleep not from thy Husband; for I am warn'd in a Dream because of thee; having said these Words, he went strait away. The wicked Piso at this Time was hid in a little Corridor which join'd to my Closet, and hearing what this holy Shadrac said, knew he should be disappointed of his intended Treason that Night; so, with a Nimbleness suitable to his Fury, went out the back Way thro' the Corridor, and came round up the Great Stairs time enough to meet poor Shadrac, where he treated him with very opprobrious Words, for having broke the King's Orders, in coming to the Court, and, in particular, to the Queen's Apartment, after such strict Prohibition. The good Shadrac, tho' a very holy Person, yet not insensible, perhaps reply'd with a little Sharpness, that the King's Prohibition might with more Justice be apply'd to Piso than to Shadrac; for that he came by the Order of the God of his Fathers. These Words so transported the guilty Piso, that he beat and spurn'd the poor old Man with great Cruelty, bidding him, at every Blow, carry that to the God of his Fathers.
Now the King, as I told you before, wanted only a fair Occasion to be rid of Piso, so would not let slip this which offer'd; but for his Rashness in striking in the Court, took away all his Commissions, both as General and Captain of the Guard, and divested him of all Honour and Preferments, as well Civil as Military; for he possess'd many.
Piso being thus disgrac'd, went strait away to Memphis, to his Brother the High−Priest, to whom he related the Business in a very malicious Manner, saying, That the King had punish'd him for doing his Duty against a Criminal who broke his Commands; that the whole Royal Family were so bigotted to the Jewish Superstition, those ancient Enemies and Slaves to Egypt, that in a little Time the King would change and subvert the Laws and Customs of his Country, both Sacred and Civil, and make them submit to foreign Constitutions, unknown to them or their Ancestors. Thus he gain'd the High−Priest, and in him all the subordinate Clergy, who with pious Care sow'd the Seeds of Rebellion in the Hearts of the People, which brought forth a very plentiful Harvest. At the same Time Piso had left his Agents in the Court and City of Alexandria, to ferment that Part of Egypt, whilst he himself went into the Country, to set on Foot an open Rebellion. You see (continu'd the Queen) how careful Kings ought to be to keep the Reins of Government in their own Hands, and not commit them to any Phaeton, to set the World in a Combustion; for thus it far'd with us: The King gave himself to Pleasure, and I myself to Devotion, both neglecting what the Gods had committed to our Care, and so were punish'd according to our Demerits. It is a common and true Saying, that Kings and Queens see and hear with the Eyes of others; and 'tis as true, that if they do not endeavour to see and hear with their own also, there will be but a blind Administration of Government; for the depending on others, is giving away the Sceptre, and making the Crown precarious. This we experienc'd, tho' too late, in the Practice of Piso and his Adherents; for you know to what a State we were reduc'd by this Man's Treachery, when the ancient Monarchy of Egypt was ready to tumble into Anarchy, and the Royal Family of the Ptolemys into Oblivion, by which Means the People must have been miserably crush'd in the Overthrow of their Laws and Constitutions, and, poor Creatures, were led head−long by their pretended Patriots, who industriously infused Notions suitable to their own Ambition and Revenge; the Truth is, I believe Piso's Rebellion proceeded from the latter, he being doubly enrag'd, first, by the Disappointment of his lewd Intentions towards me; secondly, at his Disgrace from the Hands of the King. These were the Bases on which he built the Structure of his Rebellion, tho' he daub'd them over so, as to make the People believe it was their Laws and Religion he took in Hand to protect, of which he knew the People to be so jealous in their Nature, that they are ready to deify the worst of Men, that will but make themselves their Patriots, like the Sheep in the Fable, who chose the Wolf for their Guardian; tho' at the same Time that they make such a Bustle about their Religion, no People on Earth practise so little. Things being come to such Extremity, that we despair'd of all Help, but immediately from the Hand of Heaven, made us address our selves more directly to the Divine Assistance; wherefore, I resolv'd to consult the holy Shadrac, who, I had great Reason to believe, was endow'd with Divine Inspiration: So, in the first Place, I ask'd him what he meant by those Words, That the Snares of the Wicked were laid for me that Night, &c. He told me, that Piso's Mother had intended to admit her Son into my Lodging that Night: Wherefore, I examin'd her in the Presence of Shadrac, promising to pardon her if she told me the Truth. She, poor old Woman, immediately confess'd the whole Matter, alledging for her Excuse, that it was the Effect of her mistaken Zeal, believing it to be the Will of the Gods, according to the Interpretation of her Son the High−Priest.
Now the holy Shadrac having, by his Spirit of Prophesy, frustrated this Conspiracy, I thought it reasonable to apply my self to his Interpretation of that Dream I had after my Sacrifice to the Goddess Isis. Wonder not, said the Queen, (interrupting herself) that we take such Notice of our Dreams, it has always been the Custom of our Country, especially those which happen to People of great Rank and Authority, and chiefly on certain Days of Devotion. 'Tis true, some gay and youthful Heads lay all that aside, as fabulous and superstitious; but while they pretend to avoid Superstition, they fall into Prophaneness and Irreligion; for, in my Opinion, Dreams, with their Interpretations, very much evince the Existence of a Divinity, or immortal Being. Which Way it is, I know not, but I told my Dream to Shadrac, who gave me a quite different Interpretation from that of the High−Priest.
He told me, that the Words, Change thy Life, was to change it from a vertuous to a holy Life. By Thy Time improve, was meant, that I must improve my Time in the Service of the true God, and not to be with−holden by Marriage−Vows, which were incestuous and displeasing to Heaven. To a Roman yield thy Love, signify'd that I must yield the King to a Roman, he being my Love, my Joy, and Satisfaction; all which should have a good Event, as being foretold by the Powers Divine. This Interpretation seem'd so just, reasonable, and consonant to Vertue, that I told the whole Affair to the King; and at the same Time engag'd him, together with my self, to make a Promise to the Gods, (that if we had Success in the Troops we committed to Exilius) to obey this Revelation, and that his Majesty should take what fair Roman he lik'd best, whilst I retir'd to improve my Time in a holy Way of Living; where I resolved to examine throughly the Doctrine of the Jews, and, if possible, find out whether or no those Wonders were true, which they pretend were done in this our Country by their Great Legislator. And now you see, Exilia, (continu'd the Queen) that this my Retirement is the Will of Heaven, and my own seeking; therefore, make no Scruple to accept of those Honours offer'd thee by his Majesty.
Exilia, with profound Respect, return'd her Majesty infinite Thanks, saying, That she knew herself bound in Duty to obey her Majesty in all Things; but (said she) the Consideration of your Majesty's Honour, and the Interest of the Royal Family, (which every Body ought to prefer to their own) makes my Affections revolt against my Duty, in opposing your Majesty's Sentiments. Madam, since the Gods did not point me out in particular, I hope, your Majesty will not be displeas'd, if I put you in mind, that there are several Romans in Egypt, whose Birth as well as Beauty, in some Degree, qualifies them for such Espousals. In particular, the bright Fabiel, who, being born at Rome, is in Strictness a Roman, and her Mother the Daughter of Fabius, an ancient Roman Family. 'Tis true, reply'd the Queen, Fabiell is of a noble Descent; I know the Fabii at Rome are truly great and honourable, and her Father one of the Grandees of Egypt, descended from the Royal Race of the Ptolomies: Her Person no less bright than her illustrious Birth, and her Vertue perfect; for when she perceiv'd the King to cast some amorous Looks on her, she begg'd her Mother to remove her from Court, far distant, to their Castle in the Country; since which his Majesty has transferr'd his tender Thoughts on you, with which I am perfectly well satisfy'd; therefore do not resist your own Happiness. So, embracing Exilia most tenderly, wish'd her much Felicity in that Royal Dignity prepar'd for her by the Powers above. The Queen, rising up, oblig'd Exilia to take her Leave, which she did, with her Eyes swell'd with Tears, and her Heart over−charg'd with Grief, for being separated from the Queen, whom she lov'd most unfeignedly.
Exilia being return'd to her Apartment, took me with her into her Closet, where, commanding me to seat my self by her, she endeavour'd to dry her Tears, and then desir'd my Counsel; for (said she) these Transactions at Court to me are very disagreeable; I hoped to have been rescu'd by the Queen's Interest or Authority; but you see her Majesty has been the chief Instrument of this my glorious Undoing. I call it so, because it is so far distant from my Inclinations; for, both by Nature and Education, I love Solitude and Retirement. The Muses and the Rural Deities were ever the Objects of my Devotion, and a Country Life my temporal Satisfaction. A Castle of my own, situated in a serene Air and a benign Soil, faithful Servants, and kind Neighbours, being the utmost Bounds of my Ambition; which makes it evident, the Gods have not cast my Soul in a Mould fit for this Royal Dignity which courts me; for I look on Persons of that Rank but as Slaves to the Publick, chain'd to the Oar of Ceremony, to tug through Storms of Censure and Clamour. They are watch'd by the Eyes of Envy, and over−heard by the Ears of Malice. Behind their Backs they are scourg'd by the Tongues of Spite, and to their Faces flatter'd 'till they know not themselves, much less others. They are courted by Multitudes, and lov'd by few; their Defects expos'd, and their Vertues conceal'd or traduc'd; their Rest is broke with Cares, and their Food imbitter'd with a thousand Apprehensions; for their Table is surrounded with Sycophants, and their Bed with Traitors. Spies enter their Closets, and Hypocrites wait on their Devotions. Being thus surrounded, where can they find the least Peep−hole to spy out Happiness; for what is all their Pomp and Parade, but glittering Ornaments, to deck them as Sacrifices to the Service of the State. These Considerations, and a thousand more such, makes this Station appear to me but as a shining Pageant, which draws the Eyes of Spectators, but loads the Shoulders of those that bear it; therefore my weak Merit is very unfit to support such a Weight. So, I hope I am in the right, in being desirous to leave it to those to whom the Gods have given a Soul tun'd and set to such a Key, as can either find or make Musick in this Kind of Noise, which to me is so inharmonious and discordant; amongst whom I know none more truly qualify'd than my Cousin Fabiell. Her great Soul makes her love to be in a Station of Grandeur, where she may be supplicated and sought after, and thinks it God−like to be able to make and unmake, to set up and cast down, and with her Word or Look to alarm or appease Mankind. Besides, I know she has a secret Inclination for the King; but withal she is so truly vertuous, that she no sooner perceiv'd the King's Passion for her, but she gain'd her Mother to leave the Court; as not daring to trust her Honour between two such Assailants, as the King's Courtship and her own Inclinations. I wish our Sex would use these Precautions frequently, and not trust their selves with themselves, there would not be so many Shipwrecks of Honour. Now Fabiell having made me the Confident of these her Thoughts, I should do most unjustly and ungenerously to supplant her in her Absence, especially knowing her to be my Relation by Marriage; for she is Neece to the same Noble Fabius who marry'd my Aunt; and as I should do unworthily by her, so I should act undutifully towards my Father, he having promis'd me to my Cousin the young and vertuous Fabius, Son to the said Noble Roman. Now, tho' Fabiell made me her Confident, I did not do the same by her, nor let her know I was her Kinswoman; which in the End would make this Transaction appear to her the more unworthy, as if it were a Treason long contriv'd.
Now, Exilius, consider my Duty to my Father, my Friendship to Fabiell, my own innate Aversion to Grandeur, and then, as a Friend, give me your Counsel. Madam, (reply'd I) had your Ladyship added one Consideration more, I could easily have given my Counsel; had you added, that the poor Exilius dies for you; that he has ador'd you since the first Moment he beheld your Beauties; Exilius, the unfortunate Exilius, that has most respectfully conceal'd his Flame, lest it should offend you; had you said, the Consideration of his Sufferings were some Concern to you, then, Madam, I could readily counsel you; I could say, Love Exilius, or, at least, do not hate Exilius, the unfortunate Slave, whose Life and Happiness depend on your Looks. Then casting my self at her Feet, begg'd her at least to pardon this Declaration of my Love, which I should still have conceal'd, if her Commands had not in a manner extorted it from me. To all which she answer'd with a confus'd Voice, Your Words, Exilius,surprize and confound me, and are an Addition to my Sorrows; therefore, seeing you can neither counsel nor assist me, pray leave me; leave, leave this most unhappy and confus'd of all Creatures: At which Words, with Tears in my Eyes, I took the Liberty to kiss her Hand, and, in Obedience to her Command, departed.
I pass'd this Night in divers Thoughts and Agitations of Mind, having a secret Satisfaction that she had receiv'd the Declaration of my Love so calmly; that Thought more than counterpois'd all that I had to fear from my potent Rival. Thus we suffer our selves to be blown and toss'd by our Passions, without casting Anchor on the Coast of sound Judgment, or steering to the Harbour of right Reason; for when I made a serious Reflection on this Passage, I found how I had overshot my self, in thus declaring my Passion to her, fearing that her nice Vertue would not let her consent to steal away with me into Italy, after this Overture; yet that was the only Card I had to play in this Juncture, and the Method we had partly resolv'd on some Time before. These, and a thousand Things of this Kind, agitated my Thoughts that Night.
Next Morning I went to her Apartment, where I had free Access as a Friend and Brother. I found her in the same Closet where I had left her the Night before; and, falling on my Knees, begg'd her to accept those Adorations I came to pay her, as my Divinity, from whom I expected Protection the succeeding Day, and all the Days of my Life. Do not persecute me, said she, with your profane Complements, nor attribute any Divinity to me, a miserable Mortal, the most unhappy of my Sex. Rise, rise, Exilius, (continu'd she, with Tears in her Eyes) and reserve your Adorations for the Princess Philometra. The Princess Philometra's Beauty (reply'd I) is of Power sufficient to command all who have not seen Exilia; but in him who has not only seen but sacrific'd his Heart to you, it would be a Sacrilege unpardonable; therefore, Madam, you must permit me to adore, sigh, and languish at your Feet; the rest of my Days, whether few or many, happy or miserable, belongs only to you to determine. Many Things more of this Kind she permitted me to utter, making very little Answer but Sighs and Tears, which gave me Occasion to hope that I was not altogether indifferent to her; insomuch that I let slip no Opportunity of asserting my Passion, which was not hard to be found; for, after the Queen's Departure, the King kept himself retir'd, partly out of Affection to the Queen, whom he truly lov'd, and partly Decency.
Now it was that the King of Lybia declar'd War against the King of Egypt, pretending, because the King of Egyptdid not assist him with Forces against his powerful Enemy, the Queen of Numidia; whereas, in Reality, he cou'd not, by Reason of the Rebellion which employ'd him at that Time; and therefore this cou'd be only a Pretence. But the true Cause was suppos'd to be some Distaste the Prince of Lybia had taken in the Egyptian Court; for he came there to prosecute the Marriage propos'd between him and the Princess Philometra, hoping by that Means to be one Day King of that rich and fertile Country, she being the presumptive Heiress of that Crown. But whether the Divorce of the Queen, or whether he perceiv'd any kind Sentiments in the Princess towards me, or what Reason else mov'd him, we could not tell; but he had left the Egyptian Court both secretly and suddenly, as before−mention'd. And now the War being ended between Lybia and Numidia, tho' much to the Disadvantage of the Lybians, nevertheless, the King of Lybia muster'd his shatter'd Forces, rais'd new ones, and came against Egypt, hoping (no Doubt) for a Party amongst the discontented Egyptians.
These, and some other Affairs, held the King late in Council, where his Majesty was pleas'd to declare me General of the Army a second Time, with unanimous Approbation of the Council; moreover, he let me know secretly, that if I conquer'd Lybia, he wou'd give me the Princess Philometra in Recompence. For which I was oblig'd to thank him with profound Respect tho' I never intended to accept the Favour, but knew my Ruin depended on the Refusal.
Behold in this the different Changes of Human Life, yet all conspire to the same Event, to wit, my Undoing; for it was t'other Day I thought Poverty and low Rank the only Obstacles to my Happiness; and now, quite contrary, Midas like, I was ready to perish in the Midst of Riches and royal Favours; for Exilia being the Object and End of my Desires, it was the same Thing to me whether my Way to her was obstructed by a Dunghil or a Dignity; perhaps the latter more difficult to be remov'd or surmounted than the other. On which Caprice of Fortune, if one duly reflect, Reason wou'd oblige us to wish for nothing but the Will of the Gods to be accomplish'd. But to return:
The Council being broke up, I hasted into the City, where I was invited, with Exilia, to the rich Merchant, our former Master; but the Council sitting late, (as I told you) Exilia went without me, and as she came back, her Chariot was surrounded by the City Mob, saying, they would pull that Roman Coquet in Pieces, who was the Cause of all their Discontents, the Divorce of the Queen, and the War that threaten'd them from Lybia. In this State was this innocent Lady when I arriv'd to her Rescue, which I perform'd by killing the foremost of that headless Rabble, my Servants couragiously assisting me till they were all dispers'd; for a Mob is but like a great Number of wild Asses, who bray and make a hideous Noise, but able to act nothing in their own Defence. After this, I mounted the Chariot with Exilia, whose Acknowledgments transcended the Merit of the Service. I excus'd my self for not having accompany'd her thither, telling her the Reasons, and what had pass'd in the Council that Evening, and how the King had promis'd me the Princess Philometra, which (said I) is an Honour I cannot accept, being already devoted to the Divine Exilia. Refuse not then, Madam, this your faithful Adorer, though unworthy the Honour to which he pretends. That Person cannot be thought below the highest of Honours, (reply'd Exilia) on whom the King of Egypt thinks fit to bestow his Neece, the presumptive Heiress of his Crown: But in particular I am oblig'd to think him most worthy, to whom I am twice indebted for my Life; who, for my Sake, overlooks all Glory, and the greatest Advancement with which Fortune can gratify her most ambitious Favourites. And since you have made me more than Competitor with Grandeur itself, it were an unpardonable Injustice to suspend your Hopes. Then giving me her Hand, she said, Take your Exilia, for to you I belong by Right of Redemption, and yours I will be for ever, if my Father and the Senate refuse not their Consent. How much I was transported at this Promise none can imagine, that has not lov'd like me. I was all Extasy and Rapture, the Joys I then felt can neither be express'd nor imagin'd. Thus ravish'd out of myself into a Heaven of Happiness, I pass'd the rest of the silent Night in a continual Meditation, and thinking on that dear Moment in which she had given me her Hand, that Pledge of unspeakable Happiness.
Next Morning the King sent for me, to applaud my good Fortune in the Rescue of Exilia, ordering her a Guard for the Security of her Person, and gave me a Present of very rich Jewels to carry to her, commanding me to intercede for him, and make her dry those Tears which his Majesty heard she daily shed for the Queen's Absence; as also to endeavour to soften that Roman Haughtiness which presided in her Heart, and make it flexible to his amorous Proposals. This was an Embasy more difficult, than if his Majesty had sent me to the Roman Senate, to perswade them to crown him King in the Capitol; well knowing, that I must either betray my Trust or my own Happiness, or rather my Life; for my Love and Life were now inseparable. However, I deliver'd the Present, and perswaded her to receive it, which otherwise she would not have done; but I told her, it would be Wisdom to keep calm the King's Thoughts, 'till such Time as we could steal away; which we had resolv'd on the first Opportunity, tho' we foresaw great Difficulty in the Enterprize, by means of the Guard given to Exilia. Nevertheless, she always told me she reserv'd her Duty to her Father, that if he gave not his Consent at our Arrival, I must pretend no farther.
Now this our Love, tho' unsuspected by all the World, (whom Unconcern kept in a constant Slumber) yet was not long undiscover'd by the piercing Eyes of a vigilant Rival: For those cold Returns the Princess Philometra found to all her little Advances, made her penetrate the Cause, the Cloak of Respect to her Royal Person being of too thin a Texture to cover this my Indifferency. These her Thoughts, either out of Duty or Malice, she discover'd to the King, telling him withal, if he would go privately to such a Place in the Garden, (where she knew we were) there perhaps he might unravel the fine−wove Intrigue, and make himself Master of the whole Secret.
Now, the better to make you understand the Place where we were accidentally retir'd, give me Leave a little to digress into the Description of this Garden, which is certainly the finest in the Universe, and no less sumptuous also is the Palace, which would be too tedious to describe.
One descends by eight or ten Steps into the Garden, which is very large; at each Corner whereof stands a stately Pyramid, marvellous to behold, and on their Bases is carv'd the chief and most remarkable Glories of Egypt. At each Side of the Garden is a long cover'd Walk or Arbor, which reaches from Pyramid to Pyramid; these Walks are cover'd over with a certain Plant, whose Leaves are red, and shining like Sattin. On each Side of these cover'd Alleys are open Walks of Orange, Lemmon, and Palm−Trees, and fine Seats and Statues plac'd at proper Distances, serving both for Use and Ornament. Thus are the outside Walks compos'd: Next these are six distinct Separations, three on a Side, fenc'd in with gilt Balasters of fine wrought Iron. The first is a Garden of all Kinds of Flowers that can gratify the Sight or Smell, the most Part of which are planted in Pots, that they may be remov'd, and others put in their Places, according to their respective Seasons; which Pots are all of such fine Earth or Stone, that they are an Embellishment to the Flowers they contain. In the Midst of this little Garden is the Statue of the Goddess Flora, seeming to give her Benediction, having a large Nosegay in her Hand, from whence spouts forth small Streams of Water, as if she meant therewith to bedew the whole Garden. At the four Corners stand the four Seasons of the Year, with their respective Emblems; and here and there young Nymphs seeming to make Nosegays, and Chaplets of Flowers, all of fine white Marble. Opposite to this, on the other Side of the Garden, is a Collection of Medicinal Plants, in every Thing conformable to the other, the same Number of Pots, and placed in the same Order and Method. In the Middle is the Figure of the God Apollo, with a Table before him, seeming to teach the Use of those Herbs to the World; and at a Distance before him is Daphne, half metamorphos'd, and on the Table writ these Words,
Unhappy God, which can no Simple find
To cure the Fever of his Love−sick Mind.
At the four Corners stand four Figures of the most famous Teachers of the Medicinal Art; 1st, Æsculapius; 2dly, Chiron; 3dly, Hygea; and, 4thly, Hecate. The three first being the Figures of those who taught the good and sanative Use of Plants; the last taught their poisonous, baneful, and diabolick Qualities.
The third of these Enclosures is a Grove of Myrtles, Roses, and Eglantines. In the Midst is Venus, crowning her Adonis with Flowers; at one Corner she is playing with Cupid, in another, drawn in her Chariot with Doves, and divers other Representations of her Power and Folly.
Opposite to this, in the same Form and Figure, is another Grove of Aromatick Spices, and sweet smelling Gums. In the Midst is a Cupid, as if laughing at his Victories; for in divers Parts of this Grove are placed the Figures of his most renowned Conquests, amongst which none is more ridiculous than Hercules spinning.
The fifth is a Maze of Water−Works, which runs in such wondrous Turnings, by Channels of fine Marble, so intricate, that unless you know the Manner to direct your Steps, it is impossible to get in or out. In the Midst is a Fountain of Diana, where she, with her Nymphs about her, seem to bathe themselves Breast high; and at divers Turnings, at proper Distances, were placed Water−Nymphs, and River Gods, of very fine Sculpture.
Opposite to this is a Wood−Maze, of a short, green, bushy Plant, something like Rosemary. In the Midst is the God Pan, seeming to play on his Pipe, and a Ring of Shepherds and Shepherdesses in a dancing Posture round him. At divers Turnings are Satyrs, Wood−Nymphs, and the like, all of most exquisite Workmanship.
These two Mazes are compos'd of the two Royal Cyphers, which contain the two Royal Names of Egypt, one Pharoah, and the other Ptolemy. These are the six Enclosures, three on one Side, and three on the other, of this great Garden.
In the Midst is a Wood, or Grove, which represents Troy Town. The Hedges which encompass this Grove are so high, even, and thick, that they may truly be call'd what they represent, to wit, the Walls of Troy; and not only so, but they have Towers, Ballasters, and Battlements on them, cut out of the Green, admirable to behold. Round these Hedges, or green Walls, are divers Statues of the most renown'd Greks and Trojans; one of white Marble, the other of polish'd Brass; here an Achilles, there an Hector; here an Ajax, there an Æneas; so that one sees the History of that renown'd Siege in Sculpture and cast Statues.
Within these green Walls are Walks representing Streets, and little Arbors instead of Houses; and here and there, in proper Uniformity, are larger and higher Arbours, representing the Palaces of the Trojan Princes. In the Midst is King Priam's Palace, more large, and better adorn'd than all the rest.
It was in one of these Arbours of Troy Town that Exilia and I happen'd to meet, our disconsolate Circumstances having, it seems, the like Effect on us both, which conducted us into this Solitude. Now it was, that the Forces were ready to march against Lybia, which made me tell her I was driven to the last Exigence, not finding it possible to go without her, or stay with her; therefore begg'd her to instruct me how to extricate myself and her out of these Difficulties in which we were involv'd. Go, (said she) conquer Lybia, receive your just Reward, the Princess Philometra, the Heiress of the Egyptian Crown, and, in her Right, become in Time a happy King. That I cannot be (reply'd I) unless Exilia be my Queen. I will go conquer Lybia, and set the Crown upon Exilia's Head; but that, alas, is too little for her Merit; I willAt these Words the King, entering the Arbour, said, Yes, it is too little for Exilia's Merits, but too great for a Traytor; and so calling a Guard, I was immediately hurry'd away to Prison, where I remain'd many Days, as absolutely ignorant of what pass'd in Court or Camp, as poor Mortals are of what is transacted amongst the Celestial Inhabitants.
Here it was I had sufficient Occasion to exercise my passive Courage, and become a miserable Pattern of Patience. Here it was I stood in need of more Philosophy than I really posses'd, wherewith to bubble my Fancy, and cheat my Understanding, with that wild Notion, that a virtuous Man can never be unhappy, because he bears his Happiness in himself. I endeavour'd to apply that Stoical Receipt, but found it very fallible. I frequently ask'd myself why I could not be as happy in that Restraint, as formerly in the voluntary Prison with my Father; but the Answer was obvious, That ones own Will and Choice renders a Dungeon a Palace; and, on the contrary, a Heaven would be no longer so without Exilia. Thus I pass'd my tedious Hours, 'till one Day the Captain of the Guard, who succeeded me, being a Roman, came to visit me, and made me divers Complements and Assurances of his Desire to serve me, adding, that it was a great Affliction to him to see me ruin my Fortune, and perhaps lose my Life for one who deserv'd it not. Ah me! (reply'd I) she deserves more than I can make manifest: One may as well say the heavenly Bodies shine not, or Fire warms not, or any Thing in Nature has not its proper Qualities, as to say she deserves not. Ah! Exilia, I know her vertuous Inclinations for me; I remember the Promise she made me; I am sensible of what she suffers for me; but no Sufferings, nor Death itself, is capable to alienate her Affections from one single Moment, though never so long absent; for our Love is all Soul, and needs not the Supplement of Conversation to keep it alive; its Being is pure and immortal, as those Gods that infus'd it into our Hearts, and shall survive all Opposition. Alas! reply'd the Captain, I am sorry to find your Wisdom so impos'd upon; but when once Passion blinds us, Passion misguides us, Passion overthrows us, Passion destroys us, and no Passion so strong and so deceitful as that of Love; Love rocks our Reason into a Lethargy, and then does what it pleases with the rest of our Interior; it fools the wise Man, and infeebles the strong; it makes the Philosopher become a Fop, and the Divine a Madman; the soft Courtier becomes fierce, and the Warrior effeminate; it makes the Poor cease to earn their Bread, and the rich Usurer squander his hard gotten Wealth; it makes the best Friends become mortal Enemies, and one's Benefactor become one's Adversary. All these, and thousands of other Ills attend this unfortunate Passion; and after all, be recompens'd with Scorn or Falshood: The Truth of which, your Experience, or this Letter, may evince; withal giving me a Letter from Exilia, containing these Words:
Exilius, I Hope you have made so true a Use of your Misfortunes, as to consider your own Safety and my Advantage; and consequently resolve to act in Regard of both, as becomes a rational Creature, and one that professes the Fear of the Gods; for the unkind Treatment which our Love has found from the Hand of Heaven, is a Demonstration that it is not agreeable to their Wills, to which we ought to submit with an entire Resignation. Wherefore, I beg you to believe that my accepting the Royal Dignity, so generously and earnestly offer'd, is an Act of Obedience to the Gods, and of Friendship to you, in putting myself in a Condition to restore you to the King's Favour as firmly as ever; then testify your Prudence and Piety, in a ready Compliance with your own Interest, and the Will of Heaven, as also with the Desire of your Friend,
It's impossible to express, said Exilius, what Agitation of Mind the Sight of this Letter gave me; I knew the Character too well to doubt it to be her Writing; I knew the Stile too perfectly to think it not of her own composing; the two Topicks on which the Letter was founded (Reason and the Will of Heaven) too clearly represented the Image of her Mind to leave any Room for Doubt. Moreover, Reason told me she was in the Right; Friendship, or, indeed, Humanity itself, bid me comply with her Demand, it being so much her Advantage. Duty and Gratitude requir'd a ready Submission to the King, who was not only my Master and Benefactor, but graciously left it to me to make a Merit of Necessity; for such it was, his Majesty having us both in his Power. These Thoughts, like soft Musick, seem'd to hush my Griefs for a Moment; but then again, Love and Exilia'sPromise, like violent Thunder, awak'd all my Sorrows, and made me feel a thousand Torments, that I accus'd the fair perjur'd Sorceress in all the violent Words that Rage could dictate. A thousand Maledictions I vented against the Sex; I curs'd my self, and the Hour of my Birth, the Gods, and my own hard Fortune; threw myself on the Floor, tore my Hair and Cloaths, suffer'd an Extremity of Pain in Body as well as Mind, endeavour'd to tear out my Eyes, the Inlets of these my Misfortunes; but that the Captain restrain'd me, and used what Arguments he could for my Pacification.
After these violent Efforts of Passion were a little moderated, other Considerations began to flatter my Understanding, and I fancy'd this Letter might be forged, and her Character counterfeited; for, said I, a Vertue like hers can never be viciated to that Degree, as voluntarily to require the Breach of faithful Vows, nor her Reason and Religion impos'd upon so far as to believe the Gods to be Authors or Abettors of Crimes, as her Letter seems to intimate: No, no, Exilia is all Vertue and Wisdom, not capable of being abus'd by false Notions, or wrong Ideas; her noble Soul is so well fortify'd with Constancy, that it is able to resist the most violent Attacks of different Fortune; the Menaces of Adversity can no more affright her, than the Allurements of Honour or Interest entice her; the Crown of Egypt, or the World's Empire are not able to move her Constancy, no not in the least Thought. Then, foolish Exilius, torment not thyself with Fears or Fancies; her Vertue, like thy good Genius, will secure thy Happiness.
At all which the Captain smil'd, saying, If a Man will murder himself, no Physician can make him live; otherwise, said he, I believe I could make you an Eye−Witness that she is not only obliging but fond of the King, if (continu'd he) you could so far govern your self as not to be discover'd; adding, that if my Passion should transport me, he were for ever ruin'd. I gave him my Faith and Honour to suffer any thing, even the infernal Pains, rather than do the least Action that might be to his Prejudice, and so begg'd him to accomplish this his Proposal.
Next Day he treated with one of Exilia's Women, to whom he had pretended Love, and by Means of a Present he made her, obtain'd his Desire in Regard of me, and so came and fetch'd me secretly out of Prison, and conducted me to that Closet where I had first reveal'd my Passion to Exilia.
Here, thro' a Cleft of the Wall under the Hangings, I saw into the next Room, where the King and Exilia were sitting. She receiv'd his Courtship with all the Satisfaction of a false and perjur'd Creature. During which, one of the Captains of the Guard came in, telling the King that he was come, according to his Majesty's Commands, to receive his Orders about Exilius; at which the King turning towards Exilia, told her, it was at her Disposal whether Exilius should live or die. Then let him die, (said she) rather than live to upbraid me with Falshood and Inconstancy. Since it is your Will (said the King) it shall be so: Then turning towards the Captain, gave Orders for my Death, as I suppose, tho' he spake in so low a Voice, that I did not hear his Words at that Distance. Then he ask'd Exilia what Time she thought fit to prescribe for my Execution, (as I gather'd by her Answer) who said, This very Night. Give me your Hand (said the King) and you shall have your Desire. Now be pleas'd to know, that in that Country this is a Thing never to be done by any Woman, but on the Account of Marriage, or worse; for no Pretence of Friendship or Gratitude, (which sometimes makes it a reasonable Action among us) can render it excusable amongst them. However, she so far forgot all Modesty, and her given Faith, that she refus'd not this obligatory Favour to his Majesty, and that on so barbarous an Engagement, as the Promise of my Death that very Night; as if my Life embitter'd every Moment of hers, and my Death was the only Step to her Felicity.
Tho' this Transaction put me out of all Patience, yet I forgot not my Promise to my Friend the Captain; but so far bridled my Passion, as not to make any extravagant Excursion to his Disadvantage, and in Silence return'd with him to my Prison, where I expected Death with a real Satisfaction; for I look'd on every Moment of my Life now but as an additional Link to that unhappy Chain of Misfortunes which attended mine innocent and virtuous Actions.
Thus I pass'd the Night in Expectation of mine Executioner, every Moment thanking the Gods for the Favour; but nothing was acted 'till Morning, and then the Sentence was chang'd from a present Death, as I expected, to a greater Punishment; for I was hurry'd out of Prison to a Sea−port, and there put into an old Carcass of a Vessel, without Sails, Oars, or anything wherewith to conduct myself. In this helpless Condition I arriv'd on that Coast of Africa which is border'd by the great Numidian Forest. Here, being driven into a Creek, I quitted this desperate Instrument of my Escape, to seek a Being the most desolate and miserable in the World, in that Cave where this young Gentleman (addressing himself to Ismenus) found me. Then think it not strange, that in my Rage and Despair, when my Thoughts entertain'd no other Object but Scipiana, that my Words and Actions corresponded, making me rave and adore the first female Figure that my Eyes encountred; which was the Cause that I fell at the Feet of Ismenus, when he was array'd in Woman's Habit, thinking him my Scipiana, my Goddess, or good Genius, till he undeceiv'd me, as you have already been inform'd.
The distressed Condition of Ismenus and Clarinthia, oblig'd me to quit this my Den of Horror and Despair, and out of a Principle of Humanity endeavourd to assist my Fellow−Creatures, whose Danger and Distress commanded that Compassion for them I could not have for my hated self, and as they have already inform'd you, accomplishd their Escape. And now I mean to go seek my Father in his rocky Island, and there pass the rest of my woful Days, 'till Death put a Period to my Sorrows.
Exilius having thus finish'd his Story, the Company gave him Thanks, much admiring his Vertue and Constancy in those extraordinary Vicissitudes of Fortune.
The Reader may please to remember in the third Book, that the two Ladies, Scipiana and Clelia, were interrupted in their Discourse by the Arrival of a certain Youth, Servant to Fabius; from whom he brought Letters to my Lord Publius Scipio. Now these Letters were to inform Publius, that his Nephew Fabius, as also Jemella, the fair Daughter of Lucullus, were detain'd Prisoners by Clodius, in his Castle at Sardinia; from thence the same Messenger was to have gone to Rome, to advertize the two Noble Lords, Lucullus and Fabius, Fathers of the two Prisoners. But the poor Youth, Almon, falling sick, Publius was oblig'd to send an Express to Rome, to inform the said Lords, that they might take their Measures with the Senate for their Enlargement, whilst the poor Youth was constrain'd to attend his Recovery.
Night approaching, and the two Ladies, Scipiana and Clelia, being retir'd into their Apartment, Clelia begg'd Scipiana to finish her Story, and let her know what became of Exilius after put in Prison, and by what Means she had made her Escape out of Egypt; of which two material Circumstances she was still ignorant, they having been divers Times interrupted in the Sequel of their Discourse.
Exilius being put in Prison (said Scipiana) as I have already told you, I ceased not to implore the King continually on his behalf; but his Majesty was deaf to all my Petitions. He told me, if Exilius had conspir'd against his Crown or Life, the least Word from me should procure his Pardon; but being the Rival of his Love, it was not in the Power of Mercy to forgive. One Day in particular being at the King's Feet, with Tears in my Eyes, and earnest Importunities, I besought him to pity the poor Exilius, whose Youth and Constancy was all his Crime. Alas! my Royal Lord, (said I) blame not him for loving one who is his Equal, and one whom Fortune has render'd Copartner in all his Sufferings, it is a Weakness incident to all human Beings; then pity this poor Miserable, for her sake who now kneels before you; without him I neither can nor ought to live; our Hearts have been inseparably united since the Moment of our first Interview. At which the King assay'd to go away, but I caught hold of his Robe, beseeching him to hear me out. I will hear you in all Things, said the King, but when you ask the Life of Exilius, for that I neither can nor will grant, it being incompatible with my Affection.
At these Words, I was like one Thunder−struck, and sunk down quite bereav'd of Sense. When I came to my self I found the King still with me, and, kissing my Hands, said, He was sorry to see me so passionate for one who deserv'd it not. I am sure (continued he) Exilius would make no Difficulty to desert you, if thereby he might purchase his Life or Liberty. Be advis'd, then, and consider wherein your Happiness consists. Weigh the Difference between a Monarch who offers you his Crown, together with his Love, and a poor abandon'd Creature, dependant on my Bounty; that if you had Kindness to your self or him, or Gratitude towards me, you would act suitable to your Advantage and my Satisfaction, you would consider with what Respect I have treated you, it being in my Power to oblige your Compliance, nevertheless I left you Mistress of my Love and Empire; therefore, if you have any Sense of Generosity, or of the Honour I profer you, conform your Will to a speedy Consent to my just Desires, I might say, Commands: And though the Wretch Exilius has deserv'd Death beyond all Degrees of Mercy, yet I make you Arbitrator of his Lot: If he dies, it is by your Tyranny. Adieu, I leave you to consider on the Event, so make your own Election.
The King being gone, I reflected on his Words, and consider'd with what Goodness and Generosity he had treated me: I could scarce forbear accusing my self of Ingratitude; but then again the Consideration of my Faith given to Exilius, render'd me uncapable of gratifying the King's Desires. One while I represented to my self the Death of my unhappy Lover, the most faithful and passionate of all Men, dying by my Means, in whose Power it was to save his Life; that noble Life, so useful to the World; that dear Life, that had not only twice saved mine, but that of my Brother the renowned Asiaticus, and in him the Roman Glory; that vertuous Life, that had subdued Rebels, redeem'd Royal and Nobles Captives, and fix'd the falling Crown of a mighty Monarch. O Scipiana, Scipiana,(did I say to my self) how canst thou consent to, much less pronounce, the Death of this thy Friend, Lover, and Benefactor, or rather this God−like Hero, the Benefactor of all Mankind! O! no, it is impossible: For I should be the cruelest of Creatures, abhorr'd of all Mankind, and the Odium of future Ages. And then again, considering the Means of saving his Life, which was more cruel than Death, I was in a perfect Exigence and Non plus what to do; both was cruel to Extremity, neither admitting any Degree of Comparison of which was worst. Sometimes I resolv'd to discover my Quality to the King, and get him to send to my Father and the Senate, thereby to protract Time; but then I look'd on that as giving my tacit Consent. I was in this Labyrinth of Thoughts when one brought me a Letter from Exiilus.
MADAM, I Flatter my self that my Sincerity is so well known to you, that I need use no previous Arguments to convince you, that I prefer your Happiness before all Things in this World, much before my own Life, which I hope will plead my Excuse, when I not only counsel but beg you to accept of those glorious Offers made you by our Royal Benefactor.
Madam, when Advantage courts and Miseries threaten, we must not suffer our Passions to argue in Opposition, unless we renounce our Reason, the Mark of our Humanity. Nay more, we abandon even the Sense of Animals, if we avoid not a Precipice where we see another fall.
Then give me Leave, Madam, to conjure you to let my Fall be your Security, which will in some Degree make happy, or at least abate the Miseries of,
MADAM, Your Ladyship's most humble and unfortunate Servant, EXILIUS.
Having read this Letter, I was more confounded than ever. I saw in it such a Mixture of Kindness and Inconstancy as I knew not how to separate or distinguish. Here Friendship, there Interest; here Kindness, there Inconstancy; in this Part Love, in that Reason; but all was so tangled one with another, that I knew not where to fix or begin to unravel his real Thoughts. Sometimes I made tender Reflections on his Kindness, and then my Love increas'd, in Consideration of what he suffer'd for me and presently I disdain'd him as the falsest of Men, and hated my self for having ever lov'd him. My Scorn would shoot up with such Violence, so as to eradicate all those tender Thoughts his Services had planted in my Soul, and the Eyes of my Understanding seem'd open to distinguish between him, a miserable Vagabond, and a Sovereign Monarch, who offer'd me his Crown together with his Love, who had courted me most honourably, and been indulgent to my Humour and capricious Freaks. Thus I rais'd my Thoughts to the highest Pitch of Vanity, and then branch'd them forth, by enumerating the Honours and Antiquities of my Family, the Noble House of the Scipio's. Then look'd down with Scorn into the Abyss of his Obscurity, wondering what Power of Darkness, or ill Genius, had level'd this Inequality. A thousand Things I thought, and as many bitter Things I utter'd against this unworthy perfidious Exilius. All which were reported to the King by those Women about me, who endeavour'd to make their Court by their officious Intelligence; and his Majesty would not lose so favourable an Occasion, but order'd all Things to be prepar'd for the speedy Celebration of our Marriage.
But, oh! how inscruitable are the mysterious Turnings of human Cogitations, and how inevitable the Vicissitudes of exteriour Events! Both compose Labyrinths for Reason to lose her Way, unless conducted by the Line of Vertue: This I experienc'd, when the King sent me his Commands to dispose my self for a speedy Marriage. Then did all those Resentments I had conceiv'd against Exilius vanish, and his Worth appear'd more bright than ever. All his Services and vertuous Affection, his modest long conceal'd Passion, his tender Declaration, seem'd now to enlarge themselves as Shadows at the Sun's declining. Methought his Sufferings drew that Knot strait which our mutual Vows had ty'd; and that seeming Willingness (in his Letter) to loosen it, serv'd only to tie it faster, and render it impossible to be undone, till cut together with the Thread of our Lives. His Dungeon was much more charming to my Thoughts than that Dignity which courted me. I hated my self, the King, and all that conduc'd to this my glorious Undoing. I accus'd the Gods that had made me fair, my Parents and European Education that had render'd me agreeable. Unhappy Maid, (said I to myself) that cannot be in Love with Riches, dote upon Honour, and idolize Grandeur, which carry with them such Charms as inchant and intoxicate the greatest Part of Mankind, and chiefly our Sex, who are said to be their most exact Votaries. Why was I born? Or, why was I born a Female? Or, why did I not die in my Infancy? Or, why did not some foul Disease seize my Youth, to disfigure this unhappy Form, that it might have been Love's Antidote to all Beholders? Or why, O ye immortal Powers! did you not give me a Soul unjust, treacherous, or unfaithful, thereby to render me the Odium of all vertuous People? But why, oh! why have you given me an Interior, bearing so great a Resemblance to your own divine Purities, and not given me the Power to act accordingly; but have fix'd me in such a State, that my Actions must combat my Conscience, and my Conscience oppose my Reason, and all make a civil War in my Affections. Happiness courts me, Misery flies me: I, like a Creature quite irrational, avoid the former, and pursue the latter, which I am bound to do by Inclination and Religion, and forbid by Reason and Necessity. Vertue and Wisdom, which are generally Friends and Allies, in me are utter Enemies; I cannot adhere to the one, nor dare not incline to the other. I am made up of Antipathies and Contradictions, which compose a Chaos of Madness, Misery, and Despair. O ye divine Powers, assist me! O Vertue, be my Guide thro' this Wilderness, into which my cruel Stars have misled me! O all ye immortal Beings, that contributed to raise the Scipio's to their Grandeur, and each good Genius of my Ancestors, suffer not a Daughter of this noble House, which has been your peculiar Care so many Ages, to fall into Dishonour! Whilst I was thus confusedly entertaining my distracted Thoughts, the King came to make me a Visit. He treated me with a chearful Discourse of Things indifferent, which I receiv'd with all the agreeable Complaisance I could, thereby to screw him up to a good Humour, the better to repeat my Request to him touching Exilius. But before any happy Moment gave me Occasion to speak, the Captain of the Guard came in, telling the King, he was come according to his Majesty's Command, to know his Orders about Exilius. At which, his Majesty turning towards me, said, Madam, I suppose you have by this Time fix'd your Resolution touching Exilius. You know the Conditions of his Life and Death, therefore be pleas'd to give your Sentence. To which I reply'd, all transported with Grief and Anger, saying, Let him die rather than live, to upbraid me with Falshood and Inconstancy. Since 'tis your Will (said the King) it shall be so: Then, turning to the Captain, gave Order for his Execution that very Night. This very Night! (reply'd I, all distracted) Can nothing purchase his Life one Night? Yes, (said the King) give me your Hand, and you shall have his Life to Night. Alas! (said I) I will give my Hand, my Life, or anything, to purchase his Life but for a Moment. So giving my Hand, begg'd that Exilius might live; to which the King accorded, and forthwith dispatch'd the Captain. Now, you must know, that, in that Country, a Woman never gives her Hand on any Occasion, but gives withal the Assurance of her Person. This I did not well know then, but thought it was as with us, that it might be done on divers Occasions, without Consequence.
I having thus ignorantly given this Assurance to the King, his Majesty express'd greater Transport than is needful to repeat: But I being all Grief and Distraction, begg'd him to leave me; which according he did, vowing he would not defer his Happiness.
Next Morning I heard that Exilius was sent away in the most miserable Condition in the World, in an old Boat, without Sails, Oars, or any Manner of Provision; which was indeed giving him Life, but accompany'd with such Circumstances, as render'd it worse than Death. This cruel, or rather tyrannical Treatment to him, whom I lov'd above all terrestrial Beings, rais'd in me such Anger, as turn'd to Hatred and Aversion to the King, which, 'till then, had never touch'd my Thoughts: For his Majesty had demean'd himself with so much Goodness and Generosity towards me, that it was impossible for a grateful Soul not to love him as the best of Friends, Masters, and Benefactors. To which add his Person truly handsom and graceful, his Humour agreeable and gallant, all his Actions moderate and merciful, (this being the only cruel Action of his Life) that it was impossible for the proudest Beauty, or severest Vertue, not to be touch'd where he address'd. But I, miserable Creature, was dead to all but Exilius; his unparalel'd Services had taken my Heart, and fortify'd it against all amorous Attacks whatsoever: and now this severe Treatment, he had found, redoubled all its Guards, rendering it more impregnable than ever. Nevertheless, when Word was brought me from the King, that in three Days I must dispose myself for his Espousals, I cannot tell you in what a Consternation of Mind I pass'd my Hours; 'tis certain, that in two Days I neither eat nor slept, and resolv'd never more to gratify or assist Nature in that Kind, but leave her to be vanquish'd and overcome by Death, her everlasting Enemy: In which I pleas'd myself, to think I should be reveng'd on the King; and, for that Reason, spitefully wish'd the Augmentation of his Love, that his Affliction might be the more insupportable. This Despair chang'd my Desires, and I saw, in the dark Recess of Death, that Glimmering of Satisfaction, which the dazzl'd Eyes of my Understanding were not capable to behold elsewhere; but like Wolves, and other wild Beasts of Prey, who see best in the Night, this black Despair, which benighted my Reason, made me see Happiness in Malice, Rancour, and Revenge.
The Evening before the Day appointed for our Marriage, the Captain of the Guard, our Roman Friend, sent one to let me know, that he was mortally wounded in a Rencounter, and desir'd to speak with me speedily. At my Arrival, he told me, that he could not die in Quiet, nor hope for Mercy from the Gods, 'till he had reveal'd and ask'd Pardon for his Treason committed against me and Exilius. It was I, Madam, (continu'd he) who being perfect in the Roman Language, and knew your Character, counterfeited that Letter from Exilius to you, and likewise one from you to him. Your Stile, as well as Character, on both Sides, were so well represented, that I think neither of you mistrusted, or thought of any Deceit; for as your Letter to him was full of Devotion and Submission to the Will of the Gods, so his to you was grounded on Reason, and the Necessity of obeying its Rudiments. These were the Topicks on which I founded my perswasive Arguments to you both, as knowing these two, to wit, Religion in you, and Reason in him, to be the Regents of your vertuous Souls; which reign'd with an Authority never to be control'd. It was I, Madam, this wretched repenting Creature, who brought him secretly into your Closet, where he saw you give your Hand to the King; which in this Country is never done, but on the Account of Marriage. It was I that contriv'd that cunning Placing of our Words, and tuning our Voice so, that he believ'd you begg'd his speedy Death of the King, as being loth to have a living Witness of your Inconstancy; so that he believes you not only false and marry'd to the King, but also pleas'd and fond of this your glorious Perjury. Thus is this most excellent and faithful of all Lovers the most wrong'd and abused of all Men.
At the Knowledge hereof, Good Gods! how violent was the Passion that seiz'd me! I told him, that nothing but the Destruction of Egypt should satisfy my Revenge, unless he could invent some Means to prevent or escape this Marriage: I will (said I) declare before the Altar of Hymen, that I am Daughter to Publius Scipio, a RomanSenator, and therefore ought not to be marry'd without the Consent of the Senate; so, in the Presence of the Gods and all the People, refuse my Consent, and swear never to be at Rest 'till Egypt be by Rome destroy'd. The Captain was surpriz'd at the Knowledge of my Quality; but soon recollected himself, and told me, that I spake like a true noble Roman, and Daughter of that honourable Family: But (said he) it is much easier to avoid, than revenge the Blow. If your Roman Courage will support you to undertake the Enterprize which I shall consel, I doubt not but you may accomplish your Escape. And therewithal he told me he would send a Suit of Cloaths of his Livery, in which, befriended by the Night, I might escape without Suspicion. This Proposal pleas'd me beyond Expression; I thank'd, forgave, and pray'd for him, then return'd to my Lodging, where I attended the Performance of his Promise, which was not long, for in few Hours he sent me the Disguise; but before I left my Apartment, I wrote these few Words to the King.
Royal Sir, Since the poor Exilia is escap'd, as not being worthy those Honours offer'd by your Majesty, she humbly begs you will cast your Eyes on Fabiel, who in her Retreat sighs for you, and is, no Doubt, that Roman design'd by the Gods for your Majesty; her Birth and Beauty in some Degree qualify her for it; her vertuous Inclination lay Claim to it; her being a Roman. entitles her to the Divine Prediction: Then, Royal Sir, oppose not Heaven and your own Happiness, in thinking on the unfortunate
Having left this little Billet, I made my Escape without Difficulty or Opposition and got safe to the Port of Alexandria, where I found a Vessel bound for Italy, ready to go off; in which Fortune favour'd me so well, that I got hither safe; where, for an Augmentation of my Happiness, I found you, my dear Cousin, in the Grove, and forgetting the Disguise I wore, embraced you with much Joy and Transport.
The End of the first Part.
Scipiana had scarce finish'd her Discourse, when one of her Women enter'd her Chamber, all surpriz'd, telling her, that according to her Ladyship's Commands, she had been to visit the poor Youth Almon, to see that he had all Things necessary for a Person indispos'd with Sickness: But coming into his Chamber, (said she) I found him sleeping, and the Cloaths fallen a little from his Stomach; by which Means I discover'd the perfect Beauties of a Virgin Breast. This surprizing Information made the two Ladies run to assure themselves of the Truth of this Adventure. The Lights, and Noise of their coming, awak'd the poor Almon; who, all blushing, half dy'd with Confusion.
It is in vain, Almon, said Scipiana, to endeavour to hide from us your being a Woman; nor be afflicted or affrighted at our Knowledge of it, but assure yourself of all the Service we can render you in that State; therefore, if it be not inconvenient to you, or too great a Fatigue to your weak Spirits, acquaint us with the Cause of this your Transformation. Wherefore Almon, with much Respect and Modesty, related as follows:
Be not surpriz'd, Ladies, (said Almon) when I tell you, that under this Disguise is hid the unfortunate Cordiala,formerly the suppos'd Daughter of Flavia, Widow to Camillus, with whom I liv'd all the Days of my Childhood, and knew no other but that I was her proper Daughter. And is it possible, said Clelia, (interrupting her) that I cou'd behold those lovely Features, and not immediately remember the fair Charmer, that captivated the Hearts of all our Roman Gallants. I now perfectly call to Mind those Beauties, with which I had the Happiness to be acquainted at Rome; so, embracing her most tenderly, begg'd her to proceed.
Having attain'd to the Age of Fifteen, (said Cordiala) Flavia, my suppos'd Mother, with much Prudence, propos'd a Marriage between me and her Nephew Clodius; but great was my Aversion to the loose, or rather lewd Life of Clodius, that I could not possibly comply with her Commands, or his Desires, tho' he made his Addresses to me with all the Gallantry and Assiduity proper on such an Occasion. I know not whether my ill Genius inspir'd me, or my hard Fate commanded me, but I cou'd not in the least gain upon my Inclinations in Favour of Clodius. This displeas'd Flavia, my pretended Mother, that she not only absolutely commanded, but threaten'd to discard me, if I did not make my Will comply with hers, in marrying Clodius. In Conclusion, my Resistance caus'd her to drive me from her Presence, forbidding me ever to see her more, without a Resolution to obey her in this her just and honourable Command, the Marrying her Nephew. This Treatment, instead of softening me towards Clodius,increas'd my Disgust, and what was before only a Disesteem of his loose Character, became now an absolute and thorough Aversion. Thus my unlucky Constellations and ill Genius conspir d to engage my Disobedience to make an indiscreet Resolution, or, rather, a rash Vow, never to marry Clodius, he being the Author of my Mother's great Anger; tho', at the same Time, I was ignorant what to do, and destitute of all Consolation, but what I receiv'd from solitary Sighs and Tears.
Whilst my Thoughts were thus in Agitation, Flavia's Woman came to me, and told me, I should be for ever miserable, if I persisted to resist her Lady's Will: For, said she, I will tell you a Thing which is an absolute Secret to all but my Lady and myself. Then be pleas'd to know, Madam, (continu'd she) that you are not Daughter to Flavia and Camillus, as the World believes you to be; for soon after the Death of Camillus, your suppos'd Father, his little Daughter Cordiala dy'd also. And, Camillus and his Daughter being dead, and his Brother Catullusbanish'd, his Estate of course would have fall'n into the Hands of the Senate. Now, Madam, (continu'd she) take it not ill that I do tell you this secret Truth, You are Daughter to that Woman who nurs'd my Lady's Daughter, Foster−Sister to her Cordiala, whom my Lady finding very pretty, and (as she fancy'd) a little like her own Child, brib'd the Nurse to say it was her Child that dy'd; so my Lady took you as her proper Daughter, and always tender'd you accordingly; and now would make you happy, in marrying you to her Nephew, who is her lawful Heir. So that, if you refuse this Marriage, she is oblig'd in Conscience to declare the Truth of your Original, rather than defraud her Nephew of what belongs to him by Right of Inheritance. And now, Madam, since you know the Case, I hope Gratitude and your own Interest will oblige you to a ready Compliance with my Lady's Commands.
Whatever Gratitude and Interest may excite me to, (said I) I know not; but I am sure Justice and Generosity teaches me to refuse what belongs not to me; wherefore, the Knowledge I have of my low Birth obliges me to refuse Clodius, as being altogether unworthy of that Honour. So that if I cannot keep my Lady's Favour, but by unworthy and indirect Means, I must submit to whatsoever hard Fortune the Gods have allotted me. In short, Flavia wholly discarded me; by which Means I was reduc'd to the Necessity of seeking a Livelihood.
Now it was that Asbella had taken her Resolution to leave Rome, and retire to her Estate in Sicily; and wanting a Woman to go along with her, I offer'd myself, being desirous to quit Rome, where I had liv'd in so much Splendour; and she retiring with a Pretence of leading a vertuous recollected Life, I thought I could not propose to my self a happier Way of Subsistance.
Thus we took our Voyage for Sicily, where I enjoy'd as much Happiness as I could hope for in that Rank or Station of Life, 'till Valerius (Asbella's Son) came, and with him Clarinthia, whom they kept there secretly in Restraint. I will not digress so, as to tell your Ladyships her Story, (extraordinary as it is) at least, not at this Time, but go on with my own: I was appointed to wait on Clarinthia, whose sweet Humour made it a very agreeable Employment, excepting the Pain I had for fear she should know me; but she having been some Time in the Country, and I very young when she left Rome, I was grown out of her Remembrance. Nevertheless, she was pleas'd to confide in me, so far as to relate to me all the Cause and Circumstances of her Sufferings; which made me add Pity to that Esteem which her Merits had grafted in my Soul, and wish'd with all my Heart I could have been serviceable to her in helping her to make her Escape; but that lay not in my Power. However, so it was, she got away, by what Means I know not; but Asbella believing me to be the Author, or, at least, Coadjutor of her Flight, in a violent Rage turn'd me out of Doors, without the least Consideration to what Misery she expos'd me, a poor unfortunate Stranger, who knew not the Language of the Country, nor which Way to direct my Steps: Moreover, it was Evening when her Anger oblig'd her to this Act of Severity. I got into an adjacent Wood, where I soon wander'd myself weary, and out of my Knowledge, without Hopes of Town or House, wherein to shelter or repose myself, so that I was forc'd to lodge under an aged Oak, making its mossy Root my Pillow, and its Boughs my Canopy. Thus was I, poor Maid, expos'd to the Weather and wild Beasts, or perhaps my Youth a Prey to lewd Out−laws, who inhabit those Woods in great Number. It pleas'd the Gods to send the former of these Sorts of Enemies, which, in Part, I may suppose, secur'd me from the latter more dangerous Assailants; for it thunder'd, lighten'd, and rain'd so violently, that no living Creature that had a Den or Hole to creep into, would be abroad that stormy Night; nevertheless, I, poor Creature, remain'd all the Night, trembling and frighted at every Clap of Thunder, ready to sink, and wish'd myself in my Grave, at every Flash of Lightning. At last, I saw just before me a great Oak rent in a thousand Pieces, and burnt with the Lightning, which dreadful Spectacle, with the Noise that accompany'd it, cast me to the Ground, quite bereav'd of Sense, where I lay 'till Morning, and then, a little recovering, I found myself so numb'd and loaded with my wet Cloaths, that I had much ado to go along. I came to that Side of the Wood which runs along the Sea Coast, where I had not gone many Paces, but I found a Suit of Man's Apparel, which lay so well cover'd under a great Cloak, that the Cloaths were not at all wet. In these Cloaths I array'd my self, without considering the Decency or Indecency of the Place or Action, my present Distress making me postpone all such little Difficulties, and entertain no Considerations but such as were favourable to my Necessities.
Thus being eas'd of my wet Habit, I walk'd indifferently well along the Sea−Coast, 'till I came to a Port where many Ships lay in Harbour. Here I submitted myself to be hir'd for a Marmer, where I used my utmost Endeavours to perform my Duty; but, alas! my Weakness, as well as Ignorance, made them soon weary of my Service; so that after much Cursing and Swearing, they set me on Shore in Sardinia. Here I was reduc'd to the last Degree of Necessity, not knowing which Way to direct my Steps, nor to whom to address.
A little Way distant from the Port where I was set on Shore, is a Temple of Apollo; a very stately Fabrick, with an adjacent House of Holy Priests, Votaries to that God. Here I went, in Order to make my Devotion, and to obtain some Assistance, or, at least, Advice, from those pious Recluses. It happen'd to be a very solemn Festival among them, it being the Day on which they commemorated that God's being taken up into Heaven, after his long Servitude, of having been Herdsman to King Admetus. Here I got into the Musick−Lost, or Tribune, where being many Instruments as well as Voices, wherewith to celebrate that Day's Sacrifice, amongst these I took one, and assisted so tolerably well, that the Priests took me into their House, and treated me very kindly, making me sing, and discourse of the Science of Musick, in which I pleas'd 'em so well, (the Priests of Apollo being all great Musicians) that they were willing to take me in as a Probationer, in order to become one of their holy Fraternity. I was almost non−plus'd what Answer to make; but present Necessity being the imperious Mistress that will be first serv'd, oblig'd me to accept of their kind Offer, and so resolv'd to stay with them, at least for some Time, 'till I cou'd study or turn myself some other Way, more suitable to my Sex and Education. Here I improv'd that little Talent I had of Singing and Musick, learn'd all the Ways and Rules of those holy Votaries; and found so much Happiness and Tranquility in that Kind of Life, that if it had been compatible with my Sex, I should have preferr'd it before all others, and have supplicated most earnestly to have been admitted into their holy Society.
Here I pass'd many Months, 'till the Time began to approach, in which I must initiate myself a Member of these holy Recluses, or leave the House totally; one was hard, and the other impossible. Sometimes I thought to cast myself at the Feet of the High−Priest, and discover my Grief and Necessity to him; but then again, I knew the Crime I had committed, in living thus in Disguise amongst them, would be thought very enormous, if not unpardonable; so whether out of Cowardice or Modesty, I know not, but I could not furnish myself with Assurance enough to declare these my hard Circumstances.
An Accident, which is a little particular, I cannot omit. There was near this holy Confraternity, a certain House, wherein liv'd their Steward, or chief Servant, who took Care of all their external Concerns, a very discreet Man, who had gather'd much Riches, and had Possessions of Pastures, Corn, and Cattle. This good Man had only one fair Daughter, Heiress of his Substance: She was sought after by all the rich Swains of those Parts; but the unfortunate Maid took an Affection to me. This made her refuse their Addresses, and those her Father made on their Behalf. I will not repeat the several Advances and innocent Efforts she made; for I being a Person not engag'd in their Rule of Living, was sent abroad on divers Occasions, so I was very often at this House, with this pretty Maid, whose Vertue engag'd me to a particular Love and Esteem for her; she and her Mother always treating me extream kindly with their rural Cates, Creams, Tarts, Sweet−meats, and the like: She frequently took Occasion to hint her Affection to me, which I endeavour'd to avoid, or not understand; 'till one Day, being set with her in a pleasant Arbour, she was rallying and talking against Love and Marriage, which was often the Theme of her Discourse; I suppose, partly to justify her refusing those Offers of Marriage, so proper and fitting, that no Exception could be made; and partly to introduce that Entertainment in a modest Manner, the innocent Affection she had for me, rendering that Discourse pleasing to her. Tho' thereby she shew'd her Want of Education, and Ignorance of the World; for our Roman Gallants take it for a certain Mark of Love, when a young Lady rallies or banters a young Gentleman on that Subject; and count it an Invitation to Courtship, or a transparent Mask, thro' which they see she has a Mind to be marry'd. But this pretty Innocence knew none of these Sophisms, and therefore pursu'd the Dictates of her own Fancy; and, like Heaven, which often treats with Rigour its greatest Favourites, thereby to prove them; so she seem'd to condemn Love and Marriage, to try how far I would stand in its Defence. Wherefore, I would not baulk her Fancy, but let her catch the Discourse for which she laid a Trap, and oppos'd all the little Harangues she made against Cupid and Hymen; and with due Respect and Veneration asserted the Greatness of their Power, the Happiness of their Votaries, the Inevitableness of falling under their Jurisdiction; therefore, perswaded her to make Vertue comply with Necessity, and submit her Inclinations to her Father's wise Election, and take for an Husband one of those her rich and honest Lovers recommended by her Father. Alas! Almon, (reply'd she, with a Look over−charg'd with Tenderness) had Heaven made you one of those! And so fainted away, her Spirits being overcome with Shame and Confusion; for she was perfectly vertuous and modest. After some little Endeavours, she came to herself, and I led her in, where she betook herself to her Bed, I suppose, partly out of Indisposition, and partly out of Confusion, for having so far discover'd her Weakness. Whatever was the Cause, the Effect was an Affliction to me, and a sensible Augmentation of my Misfortunes, by reason that I truly lov'd her; for her Vertue had gain'd my Esteem, and her Kindness engag'd my Gratitude. In fine, I found myself in a Labyrinth, thro' which I knew not how to direct my Steps. To reveal my Sex I was asham'd, nor indeed knew I to whom; for to this vertuous Maid it was in vain, she not being able to help me; to the High−Priest it was dangerous, fearing to be immur'd for having prophan'd that holy Place, by living so long there in Disguise; and to live there longer, was but to augment my Crime. How to discover myself, I knew not; to steal away, I durst not, or if I did, was ignorant which Way to dispose of this wretched Creature.
Thus I was very knowing in what could not be done, but what could or ought to to be done supass'd my Capacity. Great were my Griefs, and tumultuous were my Thoughts; I reflected on my past Life, but found nothing wherein I had so grossly offended the Gods, as to render me thus the Object of their Anger. I call'd to Mind my Disobedience to Flavia, as the worst of my Life's Actions; but even in that I found a Mixture of Vertue; for before I knew my own Meanness, I refus'd Clodius out of a Principle of Morality, he being a very loose irregular Liver; and my Refusal afterwards proceeded from Justice, as knowing myself unworthy of his Quality. This made me think, that in disobeying Flavia, I comply'd with the Will of the Gods, and accordingly hoped for their Protection. But finding so great Severity, I began to grow prophane in my Thoughts, and almost concluded with the Atheists, that there were no such Beings, but that our Fears and Necessities had created the Deities, and not they us. That our Weakness gave them Power, and our Want of Ability to avenge ourselves, caus'd us to set up those immortal Tribunals, to affright those with a future Punishment, which our impotent Anger could not make them feel at present. That all those Lectures taught by Philosophers and Divines, of Patience, Humility, and Resignation, and the Rewards belonging to them, were but Words to bubble the Minds of the Poor, that they might let the Rich enjoy their Ease and Plenty without Opposition. They decry'd Self−Assassination, thereby to oblige the Poor to live, in spite of all their Wants, that the Rich might have some to serve their Sloth.
These and a thousand desperate Thoughts roll'd in my Breast, by which I found Poverty to be a greater Enemy to Vertue, than Riches: For if the Rich, in the Fulness of Riot, forget the Givers of those good Things; the Poor, in their Murmurs and Despair, affront their very Beings, as well as tax their Justice in the Distribution of their Blessings. All this I experienc'd in the Midst of my Afflictions, in a solitary Grove at the Bottom of our Garden, where I was walking alone, without Friend to consolate, or Patron to assist me: But propitious Heaven directed my Steps to a Chapel of Diana's: Here I humbled myself at the Feet of this Virgin−Goddess, endeavour'd to purge my Breast of those Murmurings tending to Despair, which my Misfortunes had there planted, and offer'd my Afflictions, Youth, and Innocence, to her Protection; and, with devout Aspirations, begg'd her to pity my Weakness, and support mine Innocence. As I thus lay in a most humble Posture before her, I know not whether Sleep overtook me, and with my flowing Tears seal'd my corporeal Eyes, or what else, I am ignorant, but I saw strange glorious Pageants of Victories, Triumphs, Countries won and lost, mighty Heroes, and heroic Actions; and after all, I thought I saw a lovely Youth stand by me, and sing these Words:
Cease, gentle Maid, cease, cease to grieve,
Thy Goddess does thy Pray'rs receive,
And Providence will thee relieve.
Those, who on Providence depend,
And patiently its Will attend,
Shall be rewarded in the End,
By Ways and Means least thought upon,
That Mortals may be forc'd to own
Their Help comes from the Gods alone.
Griefs to Heav'n's Favourites are sent,
To purify the Penitent,
And justify the Innocent.
These Ways of Heav'n are always good,
Tho' opposite to Flesh and Blood,
And are but seldom understood.
Then dry thy Eyes, and clear thy Brow;
All Africa to thee shall bow,
'Tis thy Good Genius tells thee so.
This I should have taken for a mere Dream, but that the Words were most perfectly recorded in my Memory, which must have been by some immortal Power; moreover, one of the holy Priests walking in the Grove, heard the Singing, and came to the Chapel, where finding me, he concluded it to have been my Voice: All which made me suppose it something extraordinary: But the latter Words carrying, with them so much Impossibility, that one must suppose them to proceed from some false, or at least flattering Demon, rather than a God, or one's Good Genius.
Excuse me, (reply'd Scipiana) such good Lectures cannot proceed from an infernal Teacher; I can very well believe it to be thy good Genius, which brought with him such Consolation and vertuous Instructions; nor is there an Impossibility in what he sung touching Africa: Your Beauty and Vertues are certainly made to shine in some splendid Sphere; for the all−wise Gods making nothing in vain, consequently such Merits are not to be bury'd in Obscurity, but to be instructive and exemplary to the World; and I doubt not but those Divine Powers have sent thee hither, as a Means to accomplish their eternal Will, and have given into our Hands the Power to agitate for thee, which shall be in this Manner: My Cousin Clelia and L will recommend thee to our Kinswoman and Friend Fabiel, who is a great Princess in Egypt, where I doubt not but your Merits may (at least in Part) help you to accomplish this extraordinary Prediction. In all which a little Time shall instruct us; but at present proceed in your Story.
I must needs own (said Cordiala) that I found an inward Tranquility of Mind, tho' I saw no Prospect of any good Event, or Means to extricate myself from these Difficulties in which I was entangled. But propitious Heaven had Pity on me, and sent a Deliverance least expected.
Fabius, your noble Brother, (bowing to Clelia) came into Sardinia, in Search of Scipiana; and having lost himself in the Night, by Chance arriv'd at this Place, where he was kindly entertain'd by these holy Priests. Here he was complaining for want of a Servant, being, by some Means or Accident, depriv'd of those he brought with him from Rome, and was now destitute. These holy Priests, finding my Time of Probation almost expir'd, and that I made no Application to be receiv'd into their Fraternity, recommended me to this noble Person, as one faithful and diligent in anything suitable to my Years and Capacity.
Behold, Ladies, how my hard Fortune toss'd me, from a Lady to a Waiting−Gentlewoman, thence to a miserable Vagabond, afterwards to a Mariner, then to a wretched Beggar, and after that, to a Choirister, lastly, to a Serving−Man. In this State I travell'd with my Master, the noble Fabius, till we came in Sight of a great and magnificent Castle, standing in a large Park, enclos'd with a high Wall. Here my Master had a great Curiosity to enter, and going on, he found a Breach in the Wall, over which he pass'd without much Difficulty, leaving me on the other Side with the Horses.
As Cordiala was about to go on with her Story, they heard a Noise of People coming up Stairs; and looking up, they saw Asiaticus enter the Chamber; but so fully were they possess'd with the Belief of his being dead, that they could not credit their Senses, till Time and several Demonstrations convinc'd them that it was really he himself. But then the Joy which took Possession of their Souls is not to be express'd, nor the interchangeable Caresses between him and his dear Sister not to be number'd, which continu'd till the Consideration of making their Father Partaker of this vast Felicity, made 'em descend to his Apartment, where their mutual Satisfactions were such, as no Hand can delineate, therefore I leave the Reader to imagine.
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.
These noble Lovers having related their different Adventures to Publius, he engag'd them to remain at his House, 'till the Return of those Messengers he had sent to Rome, to advertise the noble Fabius and Lucullus touching the Imprisonment of their Children, Fabius and Jemella, in Sardinia. He also sent Word to my Lord Marcellus of his Son's being arriv'd at his House, and to others of his Friends and Relations, who were concern'd with these young Lovers, or their Proceedings.
In the mean Time, Cordialia being recover'd, Scipiana accommodated her with all Things necessary for a young Lady; and so she augmented the Number of this happy Company, her Beauty, and other Endowments, giving her a Place in every Body's Esteem; but especially that of Ismenus, who soon found the Difference between her vertuous Charms, and the loose Behaviour of his African Emilia. Where Vertue is united to Beauty, the Heart of the Lover is doubly ty'd, not only by Passion, but Reason; the latter commonly proving the more strong and lasting Bond; for if Vertue does not keep, as well as Beauty take, the captivated Heart soon gets its Liberty, as appears by Ismenus and Emilia: But Cordiala's vertuous Mein and Actions fasten'd his young Heart in the strong Bonds of an unalterable Affection, which he discover'd to her on all Occasions possible.
Now it happen'd, that Libidinia, the fair Widow, Clelia's Friend, was taken very dangerously sick; wherefore she sent to speak with Clelia. Marcellus being desirous to justify himself in her Presence, who was his Accuser, desir'd Leave to accompany Clelia for that Purpose. At their Arrival they found the Lady extreamly ill, which dispos'd her to Repentance, and owning her Crime; declaring, that it was she that had made the Discord between Clelia and Marcellus; for (said she) it was I that stole the little Picture, and gave it your Ladyship, with those cunning Insinuations, as if he had return'd it in Contempt; and, on the other Side, impos'd upon him, making him believe you unfaithful. This I did not out of Malice to either of you, but too great Fondness of Marcellus. You may believe I was push'd on by a violent Passion, otherwise I would not have engag'd myself in an Enterprize so ill founded, and so easily overthrown; but I trusted in the Opposition of your Parents on both Sides, the Disguise of Marcellus, which hinder'd him from appearing openly before you for his Justification, and the Interest Jemellaand her Friends had in him, &c. Amongst all these troubled Waters I hoped to fish out something to my Advantage, if I could but form a little Animosity between you; which I wickedly accomplish'd, but am now sincerely sorry, begging Pardon both of you and Heaven.
Marcellus and Clelia thank'd her for this free Acknowledgment, which verify'd what Marcellus had asserted. They begg'd her to quiet her Mind, in Hopes the Gods would pardon her as freely as they did, and to compose herself to Rest, thereby to facilitate her Recovery, that they might have her Company at my Lord Publius Scipio's,before they departed thence; so took their Leave, recommending her to the Protection of Heaven.
They were but just return'd, when there came Fabius, Jemella, Clodius, and Milena, to the great Surprize and Astonishment of all the Company; in particular, to see Clodius in such good Intelligence with the others, insomuch, that Scipiana knew not in what Manner to receive him, 'till Fabius took her out of her Difficulty, by asking Pardon for Clodius, desiring her to receive him as a Friend, promising to inform her the rest afterwards. The first Complements and Civilities being over, Scipiana presented Cordiala to Fabius, bidding him behold his Man Almon become a fair Lady, which was very surprizing to Fabius, Clodius, and the rest; but, in particular, Clodius was agitated in Mind, there to meet the Person once design'd for his Wife; to see her who had run through so many Difficulties and Hazards, purely to avoid his Love. He look'd on her with Veneration, saying, she deserv'd to crown the Head of some great Conqueror, who, like the chase Daphne, chose to suffer any Metamorphosis, rather than be united to so loose a Liver as he had been; but Heaven, I hope, will pardon, (as these noble Persons Fabius and Jemella have done) and thou, Cordiala, also receive me into Favour; for thy Sake I can become (what I thought impossible to my Nature) a constant Lover; and then I am sure I shall be as great a Metamorphosis in Manners, as thou art in Person; and since it was my loose Way of living that caus'd your Scom, let that vertuous Life I now pretend to live, procure your Kindness. Your loose Life (reply'd Cordiala) was but one Obstacle; my low Fortune was another, and that Cause not being remov'd, the Effect must remain. This Discourse was put to a Period by the coming in of Publius, to whom Clodius address'd with profound Respect, begging him to forgive what was past touching his Daughter and Nephew, and to obtain the same for him of the Senate; promising him never to do anything unworthy of his Pardon or Protection. To which Publius reply'd, that he had receiv'd Letters from Rome, which inform'd him, that the Lords Fabius and Lucullus would be here shortly, to whom you are to address yourself, as Persons equally injur'd. In the mean Time, I excuse and desire you to remain here with this good Company.
The approaching Night oblig'd these happy Friends to a Cessation of their grateful Entertainments, and to retire to their respective Apartments. The Ladies attended Jemella to her's, where they begg'd the Favour of her to recite the Manner of her Escape, and other Occurrences during her Confinement in Sardinia.
Madam, said Jemella, (addressing her Words to Scipiana ) you may remember how Clodius dispos'd us in different Cabbins, I suppose, that he might make his Court to us alternatively. He was in one of his amorous Follies, when the Fire took the Ship; which proving impossible to be extinguish'd, made us betake ourselves to the last miserable Means of Escape, and so committed ourselves to the Sea, where I floated a−while, but was soon taken by a Sea−Monster, call'd a Syren, being a Fish perfectly in Shape of a Man. This Monster carry'd me into the Hollow of a Rock, and there laid me on a Crag to drein and come to myself; which I soon did, to behold the greatest Horror that ever could be presented to human View. I found my self in the Custody of Monsters, in the Hollow of a Rock, where was no Footing but Water, except such Crags or Bosses on which I was laid, and those all besmear'd with Blood, and strew'd with human Bones, and by me lay a Body half devour'd by this Monster, the other Part stunk so as almost poison'd me. Here being alone in this Station of Horror, I had Time to reflect how justly the Gods punish'd me for my Folly and Disobedience; I say, Disobedience in Will at least, tho' not in Fact, in having so despis'd and abhorr'd that Country Solitude with my Grandmother, which was indeed a noble magnificent Place, but distant from Rome, the Original of Pride, Vanity, and Luxury; which engage the Hearts of too many of our Country Ladies, who enjoy all Things excellent in Nature, but undervalue all, because not in a Place their wild Fancies would chuse; of which I found my self sufficiently sensible here, and severely chastis'd. My Punishment was a Glass wherein I saw my Crimes; and withal, the Wisdom and Justice of the Gods, in having thus adapted one to the other. I, who had so ungratefully murmur'd at the happy Lot the Gods had drawn for me in that vertuous and honourable Station with my Grandmother, was now reduc'd to the Distress ás I told you, every Moment expecting the Return of the Monster to devour me. Sometimes I thought to throw myself into the Sea, to disappoint his greedy Jaws; but then I remember'd that was Self−Murder, which would intail upon me a miserable Eternity; wherefore, I forc'd my Inclinations to remain where he had laid me, in Expectation of his Return to devour me. I lay as on an Altar, and there offer'd my self to the Gods, begging them to receive my immortal Part, when this Frame should perish: But withal reflecting how much more agreeable this Resignation would have been to them, had it been before Necessity compell'd me; for without Doubt, the Offerings we make to Heaven out of a Motive of Love, are much more acceptable than those of Fear. As I lay in these Thoughts, there came swimming into the Rock a She−Monster, as I thought, for I took it to be a Syren; but finding her speak articulately and rationally in the Roman Language, I understood this Creature was really a Woman. She told me her Husband had sent her to comfort and assist me. I ask'd her who was her Husband? She told me, that it was her Husband that had found me, and brought me thither; that he was an old He− Syren, and was worship'd for a God by all the watery Kind; and that he had taken a great Liking to me, and would not hurt me, if I would submit to him. At which Words I was more amaz'd than ever, and wish'd rather to be a Prey to his Hunger than his Love. The Woman rais'd me from the Place whereon I lay, and help'd me to scramble up some Craggs of the Rock, and pass'd with me through a Cleft, and so got into a pretty Kind of a Room, where was a little Fire of Shells and Fish Bones, as also some human Bones, Ribs, Sculls, and the like, the Ensigns of Horror and Amazement. There was a little Bed, or Couch, on which she laid me, and gave me some good Liquor out of a Bottle; all which reviv'd me, and put me in a little Condition to examine her how she came and how long she had liv'd there. She told me she was the Daughter of a wealthy Citizen of Rome, who had design'd to marry her to a rich neighbouring Citizen; but she, like many of her Age and Rank, thinking her Wealth deserv'd something above her Quality, kept a secret Intrigue with one of the Gallants of the Town, a Man of Wit and Quality: So, flattering herself with the Hopes of being one Day his Lady, suffer'd herself to be debauch'd by him; but was so far from finding what her Folly expected, that she became the Object of his Scorn and Aversion; which is no more than common in those Cases. Her Father finding out what had happen'd, with the utmost Anger turn'd her out of Doors, to find that Misery her Crimes had sought. In this distress'd Condition she wander'd, resolving, if possible, to get into some far Country, there to hide her Shame; in order to which, she made Acquaintance with some Sea−men, who took her on Board, where she was diliver'd of the Fruit of her Lewdness; and not many Days after the Ship was cast away, and she was taken up by the foremention'd Sea−Monster, and liv'd with him ever since as his Wife. In this I could not but again admire the exact Justice of Heaven, in thus punishing her Lewdness and Disobedience to her Parents. She that refus'd the honest Espousals provided by her Father, became Wife to a Monster; she that disgrac'd herself and her Friends by unlawful Lust, was a Prostitute to a Fish: Nor did I omit to make Reflections on my self, in the Case of Marcellus. I ask'd her how she did at first accommodate herself to that strange Life? She said, it was with much Difficulty; but Custom made it become natural, insomuch, that now she believes she could not bear dwelling on Land. The Syrenus, she said, had always been very kind to her, and she very assistant to him, in helping him to catch his Prey; for she could swim and dive as well as he; but principally she was beneficial to him in bringing the half−drown'd Prey to Life in this little Room; for he could not endure so far from the Water, especially in this Place where there was Fire, and he did not love to eat the Bodies that were drown'd; and that was the Reason she had taken so much Pains to bring me to Life; nevertheless, (said she) be not afraid, be rul'd by me, and you shall be happy; for I have a Son (continu'd she) shall be your Husband, and you shall live with me in this Rock, which is the chief in all this Sea. In a little Time you will learn to swim and dive, see all the Riches at the Bottom of the Sea, the Groves of Samphire, and pleasant Grotto's of Coral; rejoycé in the Voices of the Syrens, and dance to the Musick of the Tritons; every one striving to do you Service, and be worship'd as a Goddess by all the watery Kind; and what can Ambition require more than to be Deify'd? All this Extravagance so distracted, frighted, and amaz'd me, that I scarce knew what to say: But as the Honour of the Gods ought to concern one most, so I began to reprimand her first on that Score, as affronting and blaspheming their Divinities, in setting up poor Mortals in their Place, or making them Competitors. As I was about to proceed, to make her know the Affront she put upon human Kind in general, and to me in particular, we heard a Noise below, which she understood; for the Monster she call'd Husband, had brought in more Prey, so call'd to her to take it up, in order to bring it to Life, if possible. It was a Man, in all Appearance dead; however, she laid him before the Fire, and chaf'd him well with the Liquors she had by her, and forc'd some down his Throat. In the mean Time, I knew not what I had best to do, whether to assist her or not; for I knew that the bringing him to Life, was but to make him the more pleasing Prey to the Monster; therefore thought him happier to remain dead, as he appear'd. But then again, I thought the Gods expected I should serve the present Necessity, and leave the Event to their Providence; therefore, I arose from the Couch on which I was laid, and join'd my Endeavours with hers to bring him to Life. When I had cleans'd his Face from the Froth and Filth with which it was smear'd, I found this Object of Misery was Clodius. I continu'd my Endeavours to bring him to Life, neither out of Malice nor Kindness, but out of Duty to the Gods, and the natural Tie of Humanity. At last we began to find a Kind of reviving Warmth to overspread him, and his Pulses began to move. We continu'd our Endeavours 'till I thought I saw him open his Eyes, then I call'd him by his Name, to try if he had yet any Sense. At my naming Clodius, the Woman started and trembled, so that I fear'd she would have fainted quite away, I left Clodius, to address my Assistance to her, who in a little Time recover'd, and said, the Gods had been extreamly just, to bring him to Punishment, who had been the Cause of her Ruin, and the Disgrace of her Family. But now (said she) I shall see that Flesh, whose Lust knew no Bounds, devour'd with the Teath of a Sea−Monster; and that Tongue, whose Falshood betray'd my Innocence, torn from its Root, and on these Coals made an Offering to Pluto; and many Things more she said to this Purpose. But Clodius coming to himself, told her that she was to accuse herself of her Ruin, forasmuch as she was not ignorant of the World: She knew the Town, and the Humour of the Times, and knew, that young Men would say and swear any Thing to gain their Ends on Girls, and then abandon them to Ruin and Despair; for, said he, that young Girl that will carry on secret Intrigues of Love, without the Knowledge or Consent of her Parents, deserves to be treated by her Gallant as you have been by me; for how could you suppose I would make you a Lady, or a Wife, who could not keep yourself a vertuous Maid, nor a dutiful Daughter? No, no, (continu'd he) those who bridle not their fond Desires with the Curb of Reason, or filial Duty, are only fit to be Wives to Monsters, or Mistresses to the last of Mankind; and such as will run to Balls Theatres, and Treats, with young Men of the Town, cannot expect the Vows we make are made to be kept, but to become the broken Meat for lost Vertue to feed upon, and be the miserable Support of a ruin'd Reputation: Of all which you could not be ignorant, at least my Character was sufficiently known, to have inform'd you; therefore, it is yourself you are to reproach for all your Misfortunes.
As they were in this Discourse, the Monster below made a Noise, which she understood, and gave him down a great Fish or two, the Blood being first squeez'd out, as also a Bottle of good Liquor. She told us he had ask'd her if either of us were so well recover'd, as to be fit to be his Prey; but she had told him no, out of Kindness to me, (as she worded it) and Malice to Clodius; adding, that she design'd me for her Son, who was in all Respects a Human Creature, excepting that he could live under Water. She ran on, saying many Things in Praise of this her young Monster; which shews how blind we are towards the Defects or Deformities of what belongs to ourselves; for she represented this young Monster as a Hero of the Ocean, a principal Minister of State to Neptune, and a young God of all the watry Kind. As I was about to reprimand her for her Extravagance, we heard a Noise below, which was the worthy Monster her Son, who had brought with him a Woman, so call'd, to his Mother to take her up through the Cleft. As soon as we saw her, we knew her to be Milena, Scipiana's faithful Waiting−Gentlewoman. The poor Girl was wet, fatigu'd, and faint, otherwise alive and well; for the young Monster had found her when she first fell into the Water, and carry'd her to the Side of a Rock, where he had entertain'd her with the Sight of many Sea−Rarities, and the Voices of Syrens, Creatures of his own Kindred; and after perceiving her faint and discompos'd, brought her here to his Mother, to be reviv'd, he himself coming along with her; so I had a Sight of my pretended Lover, and was presented to him by his Mother, as the Person she had found him for his Wife: But the Monster by Luck was so good−natur'd to refuse me, telling his Mother, (in a strange squeaking Tone) that he was desirous to have the Woman he had found himself, having already offer'd her his Love; and if that other Woman wanted a Mate, she might take that Man which was there with her, he being resolv'd to keep to this Woman he had found: Which Piece of Kindness and Constancy serv'd only to augment Milena's Fright and Consternation; and indeed we had no Reason to be otherwise in that miserable State to which we were reduc'd. However, Clodius was so far Master of his Temper, as to make Use of the Monster's Kindness, and began to flatter him in it, and told him how extreamly this Constancy in Love was esteem'd on Land, and promis'd him if he would go with them on Shore, he should find a much happier Being than here at Sea, and there he should have this Woman to himself, and live together in a stately House, and have many Servants to wait on them, and there enjoy all that Sea and Land could afford; which he easily believ'd, because his Mother had told him such admirable Stories of the Land, that he seem'd willing to go with us, provided his Mother would go; for he said he would not leave her behind, she being one of the earthly World, he would not abandon her alone to the watry Kind; with other Things to this Purpose, which he spake with such an Air of Love and Tenderness, that we began to be charm'd with the Creature, and used what Arguments we could to perswade him to go with us. In the mean Time, Clodius perswaded the Woman, telling her that she and her Son should live with him in his Castle in Sardinia, and that he would establish her Son in one of his Lordships and so make her and him happy after all the Affliction his Crimes had procur'd her. The wretched Creature was not hard to be persuaded, and accordingly persuaded her Son; so by a general Consent we were all to leave the Rock that Night; we only stay'd till the Moon rose, which was not long, it being a little past the Full. At the Rise of the Moon the Syrens all began to sing, and made the finest Harmony possible; there were great Numbers dwelt about that Rock, and other Rocks in that Sea: They sung in perfect Concord, tho' many and divers Sort of Voices, from the highest Treble to the lowest Base, yet so united, that one could scarce distinguish whether it was not all one Voice: Then they sung in Parts, and sometimes only a particular Voice; but which Way soever it was, it was most charming, and I perceiv'd they sung in Honour of the rising Moon, as being the chief Goddess of the Ocean. Their Singing being over, they threw up a great deal of Water, as an Offering to the Moon, which they spouted up in most curious Works, Curls, and Branches to Admiration. This being done, they retir'd to their Rest on the Sides of the Rocks. Then it was that we were to enterprize our Escape, which was to be done with great Silence and soft Motions, for fear of waking the old Syren who lay snoaring below, and no Way to pass but down by the same Cleft we ascended, close by his rocky Bed. However, by the Help of the Woman and her Son, we got safe down into the Water. At the Entrance of the watery Cave lay a Plank of a broken Ship; on this they put Clodius; and the Woman taking me, and her Son Milena, we all made our Escape to Shore in Sardinia. Here we stay'd a while to rest and refresh our selves after our dangerous Fatigues; but our Companions grew soon indispos'd, being out of their Element; for the Woman had liv'd so long in the Water, that it was become so natural to her, that she could not bear the Air at Land, but grew so ill, that we almost despair'd of her Recovery, and her Son worse; so, upon their earnest Desires, we help'd them both into the Water again, being sorry that we had no other Way to testify our Gratitude for all their Kindness.
Having a little recover'd our Fatigue, Clodius hasted to convey us to his Castle, which stood in the Midst of Sardinia, encompass'd with many Lordships of his own: A Place truly magnificent, having been in former Times the Palace Royal of the Kings of Sardinia. Here we had all Things necessary for my Sex and Quality; but the Thoughts of my being a Prisoner in the Hands of the lewd Clodius, and the Loss of my dear Friend Scipiana,together with other sorrowful Reflexions, gave me a perpetual Chagrin; which, together with the foul Air of Sardinia, depriv'd me of my Health, that I was incapable of returning into my own Country, if Clodius would have permitted. Nevertheless I must do him the Justice to own, that he not only assur'd me in Words, of all Service, but also perform'd in Fact; for there was nothing wanting, that might conduce to the Recovery of my Health; even he ceas'd to persecute me with his Love, leaving me in Repose with Milena and those other Women he had given me for Attendance; for, to say the Truth, Clodius is not ill−natur'd, only his extravagant Conduct in some Things has so far lost his Reputation, as may be very hardly retriev'd.
After many Weeks Sickness, I began at last to recover. I walk'd into the Park which join'd to the House, where there are many Groves, Grotto's, and Fountains, fine Walks of Trees, marble Statues, and rare carv'd Work. At my first going out, I went to a Fountain of Diana, a Place I had before frequented, to implore the Protection of this Deity. Approaching the Place, (which is inviron'd and cover'd over with Trees) I saw lying, as it were, at the Feet of the Goddess, a gallant Person asleep, who at the Noise of our Entry awak'd, and seeming all surpriz'd, cast himself at my Feet, saying, If you be the Guardian Goddess of this Place, forgive my intruding into your Retirement, accept of my Devotions, and favour me with your divine Protection and Assistance. I was surpriz'd at these his Expressions, and stood in a little Pause what to answer. In the mean Time, Milena looking well upon him, knew him to be Fabius, and he as soon knew her to be Milena, and ask'd her for her Lady Scipiana, in Search of whom he had left Italy, and was come into Sardinia, in Hopes to hear News of her, or at least to be reveng'd on Clodius for his having assassinated him in the Streets of Rome. Whereupon Milena gave him a brief Account how we had been carry'd away by Clodius; and how we, together with Scipiana, were forc'd on the Waves, by Means of Fire taking the Ship: And as she was about to proceed to the Means and Manner of our getting thither, Clodius came, I suppose thinking to congratulate my going abroad. At the Sight of him, Fabiuswas so transported, that he drew, and ran violently upon him, saying, he would now deliver the World of a Monster; so gave him a very desperate Wound, before Clodius could put himself in any Posture of Defence: Which was a Rashness Fabius would not have been guilty of, had he had a generous vertuous Opposite; but the unworthy Actions of Clodius had depriv'd him of the Right of a fair Combat. This Accident forc'd a Passage to our Cries, and immediately a Number of Clodius's Servants came, and took their Master to his Bed, and Fabius to Prison; his Man also, who was on the other Side the Park−Wall, with the Horses he brought to the Castle, to serve his Master. Clodius's Wound confin'd him long to his Bed, and was so bad, that the Surgeons despair'd of his Recovery. Wherefore he sent for me, and begg'd my Pardon for all that had pass'd; charg'd the Master of his Houshold, that if he dy'd, to see me convey'd safe to my Father, and to give Fabius his Liberty, saying, that he had well deserv'd what he had receiv'd from him, even Death; and many other Words, testifying Kindness to us, and sincere Repentance for all his Crimes and Follies.
In the mean Time, Fabius, by Means of his Imprisonment, and the ill Air of Sardinia, fell sick; for which Clodiusseem'd very sorry, and engag'd me to go to him, and assure him of all Kindness from Clodius, and to conjure him, on his Behalf, to neglect nothing that might conduce to his Recovery. When I was with him, he told me this Honour I did him, was capable not only to cure, but even raise him from the Dead; for I believe, continu'd he, the chief Cause of my Sickness to proceed from the Want of your Presence. These Words a little displeas'd me, as supposing them unsuitable to our unhappy Circumstances; so that I was under a little Pause, not knowing readily what to reply. Therefor he added, 'Tis true, Madam, I have not had one Moment's Repose since I first saw you at the Fountain. Pardon, continu'd he, this my abrupt Declaration, which I should not have made, if Sickness did not partly force me; for it is such as I have Reason to think may take me out of the World; and I shall die much more satisfy'd, since you are informed I die your most faithful and passionate Lover. To which I reply'd, that I had very hard Fortune to be the Object of Courtship to all false and inconstant Pretenders. If (said I) there be no Truth in your Sex, there ought to be Honour in your Quality, or at least Respect to mine. Adieu, Sir, your Discourse is very displeasing.
Being return'd to my own Apartment, I reflected with Anger on what had pass'd, examining my own Conduct and Behaviour, but could find nothing that might thus expose me to Courtship, and make me the Mistress to so may false Pertenders. Marcellus, Clodius, and now Fabius, who seem'd to me the most unpardonable, thus to abuse the Charms of the bright Scipiana, and affront her in thus offering a false Amour to me her Friend; and this from Fabius, the worthy, noble, vertuous Fabius, that he should be false to his Love, false to the most vertuous of her Sex, and his Kinswoman; and in so doing transgress his Duty to his noble Parents, who authoriz'd this Affection by their unanimous Consent and Approbation.
In these Kind of Thoughts I pass'd the Night. Next Morning Almon his Man came to speak with Milena, telling her how cruelly his Master resented my severe Deportment; and therefore begg'd of her to gain me, if possible, to come once more to him, to give him Opportunity to beg my Pardon. This she represented to me in a Manner so touching, that I could not defend my self from her Importunities. When I enter'd his Chamber, I know not whether by Means of his Weakness, or Surprize of my Presence, but he fainted quite away. After a while, being come to himself, he said the Gods would not permit him to leave this World, without asking Pardon, though (continu'd he) I have little Hopes of obtaining it, not being able to repent; for it is less in my Power to cease from loving you, than Heaven or my own Happiness; therefore Pardon must proceed from your own Goodness, Be not cruel, Madam, to your dying Lover; dying not in Fancy, but in real Fact; pity the weak State to which I am reduc'd by Sickness and hard Fortune, and let that Pity excite you to pardon the rash Declaration I made of my Love, and abandon me not to your Scorn and Anger. I know not what Answer to make (reply'd I) in these your weak Circumstances, only beg you to remember, that Marcellus on my Part, and Scipiana on yours, ought to be the chief Object of our Affections, and Bound of all our amorous Inclinations. The Gods, and Scipiana herself, (were she here, reply'd he) could witness, that our Love was rather the Effect of Duty to our Parents, than any essential Being it had in our Souls; nor was I ever sensible of its divine Authority, 'till your Eyes brought me in Subjection: Not but that I have a true Veneration for my Cousin Scipiana's Perfections, and throughly convinc'd of the Excellence of filial Duty; nevertheless, our Passions not being in our Power, we cannot always comply with our Parents Election. This is an unseasonable Discourse, reply'd I, at present; therefore beg you to defer it, at least, 'till the Recovery of your Health and our Liberty, and then we shall see which Way Providence and our wise Parents will dispose Things. In the mean Time, I beg you to quiet your Mind by a true Resignation to the Will of the Gods; and, at present, give me Leave to retire, for your weak State requires Repose. These Words he receiv'd with some Satisfaction, and endeavour'd to apply them to the Recovery of his Health, in the mean Time sending Almonfrequently to entertain Milena on the Subject of his Affection.
When Clodius was a little recover'd of his Wound, he came to visit Fabius, and told him, that since Scipiana, the Object of their Enmity was absent, he desir'd they might be perfect Friends, forgiving each other what was past, and living in good Intelligence for the future; and as I shall be ready to render you all Service, (continu'd Clodius) so I hope to receive reciprocal Obligations from you, in particular, in what I am about to propose.
Be pleas'd to know, that in Consideration of you and Justice, I have overcome my Passion for Scipiana, as belonging to you by Right of her Father's Donation; that if the Gods have spar'd her, I shall never more dispute her with you, but shall for ever direct all my Vows to the adorable Jemella, and desire you to perswade her on my Behalf; for the Reputation you have acquir'd of Virtue and Wisdom, may intitle you to be her Counsellor; and whatsoever you shall assert to her of the Sincerity of my Affection, or the Reformation of my Life, I shall make good in Fact, for I profess I begin to be weary of my loose dabauch'd Way of living. I should think my self happy (reply'd Fabius ) to serve and join with you in a mutual Friendship; but you are mistaken in thinking the Object of our Dispute absent in the Person of Scipiana; for I assure you, she has no other Share in my Heart than that of a Friend or Relation; but Jemella is the only Beauty I do or ever shall adore. Is it possible (reply'd Clodius ) that one of your Character, the wise and virtuous Fabius, should be inconstant in his Love; I know Fortune has been liberal of her Favours of that Kind towards me, but I little thought of finding a Companion in you; nevertheless I love you for it; but withal love my self so well, as to secure you from doing me any Injury. Wherefore he kept Fabius a closer Prisoner than before, and prohibited all Correspondence between Almon and Milena; in the mean Time perscuted me with his Courtship, which was to me extremely displeasing. Fabius, no doubt, found himself unhappy enough under this his strict Restraint; nor could we hope for an End of this our Misfortune, it being impossible for us to advertise our Friends, or the Senate, of this our Confinement.
Fabius walking one Day in his Chamber, reflecting on his Misfortune, he perceiv'd the Floor in one Part to give a more hollow Sound than the other; wherefore to satisfy his Curiosity, Almon and he found Means to get up those Planks, where they found Steps, by which they descended a great Depth into an arch'd Vault, which led them far under Ground. As they pass'd on, they came to a little Rivulet which ran cross the Vault, whose Murmur made a kind of strange and dreadful Noise as it pass'd that hollow Cavity. At first, they thought this Brook would have put a Period to their Passage; but, upon Search, they found it fordable, and the Vault to extend it self a great Way beyond, 'till at last they came to Steps, which mounted a vast Height, but when they were got to the Top, they were surpriz'd to find over their Heads a flat Board; but after a little Obfervation, they found the Board to give Way, and lifted up in Manner of a Trap−Door. They entering, found themselves in the midst of a vast Image of Hercules, which is plac'd directly over the Altar in his Temple. In the Back−Part of this monstrous Figure was a Passage into the Priest's Lodging, where they found him in his Bed fast asleep, it being Night when they undertook this Enterprize. By this Adventure they guess'd at the Cheat of those Priests, who amus'd the People with their own Frauds, making them pass for divine Oracles: For this Castle of Clodius was formerly the Palace Royal of the Kings of Sardinia, and the Vault, no doubt, had been a secret Passage for the Priest's to the King's Closet, there to know of him what they should make the Oracle deliver to the People: But these Abuses being remov'd by the Wisdom of our Roman Government, the said Passage was forgot, at least never known to Clodius. But to return to Fabius and Almon. They, without Noise, or waking the Priest, return'd quietly to their Lodging, and there consider'd what Use they might make of this Discovery.
They resolv'd upon making an Escape; but seeing no Possibility of having me with 'em, Fabius resolv'd to stay himself, and only send Almon to try his Wits and Fortune to get through the Priest's Lodgings, which they put in Execution the first Opportunity: Almon being to feign himself Mercury, and sent from the Gods with their Benediction to the Priest, with a little Purse of Gold, as a Recompence of his Devotion, or rather to pay his Passage through his House; for the Golden Key can open all Locks, and break thro' all Barriers.
Three or four Days pass'd without any Noise or Suspicion of what had happen'd. Then Clodius having been a Hunting, and a little fatigu'd, return'd by the House of the said Priest, where he went in a little to refresh himself. The Priest being full of Joy and Extasy, could not contain from revealing to Clodius this extraordinary Favour of the Gods: But Clodius having more Wit than Devotion, interrogated the Priest much about it; and by the Description he gave, fancy'd it must needs be Almon, escap'd by some Stratagem of Fabius; and being impatient to know the Truth, as soon as he got Home, went directly to the Apartment of Fabius, where missing Almon, he was convinc'd of what before he suspected; but politickly dissembling the same, said to Fabius, Notwithstanding that you are my Rival, and in my Possession, having Power to retain you Prisoner, or put you to Death, nevertheless I am willing to give you Liberty, not doubting but that you will in Requital resign to me Jemella. Fabius thank'd him for the offer'd Kindness of his Liberty; but withal assur'd him, that the principal Use he would make of it, should be to the Service of Jemella. Therefore (continu'd he) if you will render this Action truly generous, give Jemella her Liberty also, and then let us try whose Vows and Services will be most acceptable. At that Rate, reply'd Clodius, I shall be sure to be the Loser. For that Reputation of Virtue which the World has bestow'd on you, will as surely give you that Advantage against me, as Flattering the People gives a Man the consular Dignity against a Person of greater Merit. But 'tis no Matter (continu'd he) if it be so, she is not the first Mistress I have lost by an hundred, and I hope will not be the last by a thousand; then let us go together to her, and see if she will be content to go with us into Italy. Thus they came to me, Clodius making the agreeable Proposal, desiring me to pardon what was pass'd, and be his Advocate to my Father and the Senate. This generous good Offer I thought ought not to be slighted, he being able to defend himself against all the Power of Rome, (at least a considerable Time) the whole Country of Sardinia being at his Devotion, or indeed at the Devotion of any one that would deliver them from their Roman Conquerors. So, not knowing what might happen, or what Violence he might be tempted to use upon us, when besieg'd, distress'd, and hopeless of Pardon; wherefore I comply'd with this Profer, and in Consideration of the handsome Treatment I had receiv'd whilst I was there, promised him any Act of Friendship in my Power. Thus we came together, without any considerable Adventure, 'till we arriv'd at this Port, and became happy in finding all this good Company.
Jemella having finish'd her Discourse, the Ladies return'd her Thanks, and all address'd themselves to Night's Repose.
Amongst this Number of happy Persons, let us not forget the fair Cordiala, who, by Scipiana's Generosity, was accommodated with all Necessaries to embellish her beautiful Person, which shin'd with such Lustre, as soon struck the Eyes and Heart of the Youth Ismenus, who took all Opportunities to make her understand his Inclinations: And such was his Wit, Mein, and Person, that his Endeavours were not fruitless; for, unawares to her, a secret Affection took Root, and grew in her Heart, too deep for any Endeavours to eradicate; nevertheless, her Prudence and Modesty conceal'd it most carefully, and especially from Ismenus, making Passion submit to Reason, which taught her to refuse and avoid an Espousal, where their mutual Poverty could produce nothing but Misery. But this Reservedness serv'd only to fan the Flame of Ismenus; for as her Beauty gave Birth to his Love, so her Discretion created his Esteem, and both united in a vertuous and sincere Affection. He learn'd by her Carriage to distinguish between the African Facility in Emelia, and the European Modesty in Cordiala, one serving to nauseate and overcharge the Stomach of the Lover, the other to excite a constant Appetite. And 'tis certain nothing so charms the Heart of Man as Modesty in Woman; this being the Beauty of the Mind, exceeds that of the Body, and remains when the other perishes One gains a Victory, but the other wholly subdues. Which the young Ismenus experienc'd every Moment in the Person and Behaviour of the fair Cordiala; for whensoever he accosted her, she forc'd both her Tongue and Eyes to give her Heart the Lye, fearing to embark herself on those dangerous Seas of amorous Intrigues, without Friend or Parent for her Guide or Pilot; that whenever Ismenusfound Opportunity to assert his Passion, she always left him in a disponding State, and on the Brink of the worst of Precipices, Despair. Then would he reflect on his hard Fortune, wishing the Gods had made him less amorous, or her less fair. O ye eternal Powers! (would he say to himself) why am I the only object of your Anger, amongst all this happy Company of Lovers? Wherein have I offended your Divinities, that I am thus the Object of your Punishment in her Scorn? Am I disregarded, and not protected by you, because I am not born great? O, no, that were incongruous with your Justice, since I direct all my Actions and Intentions to vertuous and honourable Ends; and my Love to Cordiala is because she bears so true a Resemblance to your Perfections. But, perhaps, Cordialais too bright and perfect to be look'd on by the Eyes of the unworthy Ismenus; she is made for some great Lord, and to be the Mother of a Race of Heroes. Thus did Ismenus pass his Moments in amorous Fancies, between Fears and earnest Longings, Hope having but a small Share of his solitary Thoughts.
Nor were the whole Company without their respective Fears and Apprehensions. The Presence of Fabius and Jemella caus'd great Agitations in the Hearts of Exilius, Scipiana, Clelia, and Marcellus.
In fine, the Hearts of all this illustrious Company were surcharg'd with the Business of their respective Amours. Only Clodius, who had been so lavish of his Love, that he was now become bankrupt, and had neither Mistress nor Intrigue wherewith to divert himself, but by the Blessing of his Stars he does not remain so long: For Clelia,being careful to inquire daily after the Health of Libidinia, was inform'd, that now she was so well recover'd, that she intended very shortly to pay her Respects to that illustrious Company. When Clodius heard of Libidinia, he said the Gods had brought him thither in a lucky Moment; for, said he, she was my first Mistress, and perhaps shall be my last; for I will catch her in a Marriage−Noose, if possible: In which State I shall have Opportunity to be reveng'd of her; she deserves no better than such a loose hung Lover as my self, she having taken large Liberties of that Kind; for it was to me she first gave her Faith, and afterwards, by the Perswasion of her Friends, was marry'd to Aurelius. This her Infidelity instructed me in the Rudiments of Falshood, in which I have made such Proficiency, that I dare challenge a Tryal of Skill with her, or any false She in Europe. Therefore, Widow, when thou comest, thou must have thy own Genius and nine Devils more to help thee if thou escape.
But we will leave these happy Lovers and Friends to divert themselves with the Raillery of Clodius, and conduct our Reader to search after the Body of Turpius, which has been so long Time lost and lamented by his Daughter the beautious Clarinthia.
The Servant of Turpius, who had escap'd the Hands of Asiaticus, returning after he and Clarinthia were gone, found the Body of his Master which was not quite dead; wherefore he did all he could to restore him to Life, which soon prov'd effectual. When he was throughly come to himself, he commanded the Servant to keep the Secret, and feign an Imerment, as if he had been really dead; and in the mean Time absconded, taking Measures to make his Friends use all Endeavours to take and apprehend Asiaticus, as the Murderer of Turpius and Ravisher of Clarinthia; but he, as before specify'd, secur'd himself from their Malice.
As soon as Turpius was able to stir abroad, he resolv'd to go into Sicily, being inform'd by the said Servant, (who kept Correspondence with Valerius) that Clarinthia was there with Asbella. He resolv'd to conclude the Marriage between her and Valerius, and put them in Possession of his Lordships in Italy, whilst he should spend the Remainder of his Days with his belov'd Asbella in Sicily.
But when he came there, he found not Carinthia, she being escap'd the preceding Day, which very much afflicted him; and making Reflections by little and little, he began to mistrust Asbella and Valerius, supposing they had made her away, nor wou'd believe all they could assert to the contrary. Wherefore he resolv'd to go to Rome, and there take Measures contrary to what he had design'd before. Whether Asbella perceiving or suspecting, she thought it best to assure herself and her Son of his Estate before she parted with his Person, and therefore kept him within the Confines of the Castle. This Proceeding enrag'd him to the highest Degree, and confirm'd him in the Opinion he had of their Cruelty towards Clarinthia. But then again, in his Anger and Despair, he would say to himself, I ought not to impute this Crime to them. It is myself, Horror of Nature as I am, it is I that am the Author of her Loss, miserable abominable Monster! a Burden to the Earth, unworthy of Heaven, and afraid of Hell. O Clarinthia, Clarinthia, beautiful Clarinthia! the perfect Pourtrait of thy bright and vertuous Mother, thy Loss is irreparable, and thy untimely Death a Misery insupportable. O Wretch that I was! to give myself to the Embraces of a Prostitute, and break my Marriage−Vows to the best and fairest of her Sex, and then project an incestuous Marriage betwixt my only lawful Offspring and the Son of my Lewdness; and, as if these had been but petty Crimes, attempt the most detestable in Nature, on the Chastity of my own Child, that now I am justly the Object of Heaven's Vengeance, and a Prey to this lewd Woman's Tyranny. I am without Power or Friend to help or to deliver me; I have nothing but Horror and Lamentation to accompany me, and inward Regret to torment me. Thus he spent his Hours in Complaints and Anxiety of Mind; and, for an Augmentation of his Affliction, Asbellaincessantly importun'd him to make a Settlement of his Estate on Valerius, at the same Time assuring him of his Liberty; which at last so provok'd him, that with Difficulty he restrain'd himself from doing her Violence; but turning himself to go from her, his Tongue disburden'd the Anxiety of his Mind in most violent Maledictions. Curs'd Woman! (said he) may the Pestilence and filthy Maladies seize thee, 'till thou be scorn'd and loath'd by all the World; may all Misery and Misfortune accompany thee, the Devils and Despair pursue and overtake thee, Hell and Damnation meet thee, and a thousand other Curses attend thee to all Eternity. Thus did this unhappy Lord add Crimes to his Afflictions, and Sin to his Sorrows, by his Rage and Impatience. Asbella, on the other Side, with an hypocritical Complaisance, pretended to soften and compassionate his Sufferings, saving, My Lord, what have I done, thus to be the Object of your Anger and Reproach? Or rather, what have I not done, that might contribute to your Satisfaction? Did I not waste my Youth in your Love, and prostrate mine Honour to your Embraces? Was I not always faithful and constant to you, a true Friend and Confident of all your most secret Thoughts? And above all, though a Lady born to great Riches, yet as subject and obedient to all your Desires and Commands, as if I had been dependent on your Bounty. It is very hard, that I shou'd now be the Object of your Anger, for no other Cause but endeavouring to make you happy, by keeping you within the Reach of my Embraces. Had Queen Dido done so by her Trojan Hero, Despair and Death had not been her only Refuge. My Lord, continu'd she, be not cruel to your self and me, but endeavour to compose your Spirits, and calm those Storms, which Mistakes have rais'd in your Breast; in order to which, I will fetch you a little Cordial, that may moderate your Fury, by procuring you some gentle Slumbers. So, going to her Closet, she brought him a certain Draught, which she desir'd him to take as a Cordial to restore his Quiet. Yes, said he, I doubt not but it will be an assur'd Remedy of all my Misfortunes in this World, by sending me to the next. I question not its Efficacy, being it comes from thy Hand, Serpent as thou art; however I will take it, to be deliver'd from thy Tyranny. But as he began to drink thereof, his Mind chang'd; wherefore taking the Cup from his Mouth, he threw it and the Poison therein full in her Face. In the mean time Valerius came in, and was surpriz'd at all this Disorder; for Turpius began to be sensible of the Strength of the Poison, though he had taken but very little; and it had already seiz'd Asbella's Brain, that she lay raving on the Floor like a miserable Wretch, such as her own Crimes had made her, a sad Spectacle of the Vengeance of Heaven.
Valerius, as Duty oblig'd him, took all possible Care of them both, and got the best Physicians to their Aid, by whose Care and Skill they escaped Death, though they labour'd under long Sickness, and became much disfigur'd; for Asbella became deaf and blind, and lost all her Teeth; Turpius lost his Teeth, Hair, and Nails. Thus just Heaven takes care to punish human Crimes, and teach us cur Duty by our Sufferings. Asbella's Eyes, that gave Way to loose Glances and alluring Looks, are now only Blindness and Deformity; and her Ears, that were open to the soft Whispers of unlawful Love, are now shut from all Conversation, and deharr'd of the Employment for which they were created; and Turpius, whose handsome Person and graceful Mein had deluded not only Asbella,but divers others, was now a miserable Spectacle of Deformity. However, in this Condition, Valerius thought it necessary to keep Turpius in his Apartment, 'till Time should a little restore him to his proper Figure; but withal, supposing Air necessary for his Recovery, put him into that Lodging where Clarinthia had been, for the Benefit of the adjacent Balcony. As Turpius was here walking one Day, with his Heart oppress'd with Sorrow, and his Head with Madness and Despair, the only Companions his wicked Life had provided to entertain him in his Solitude and Misfortune, he saw a little Vessel sailing so near the Castle, that he could call and becken to the Sailors, who approaching near, he threw himself over the Banisters into the Sea. The Ship's Crew took him up with all Speed half dead with the Plunge; nevertheless, he soon came to himself, and as soon knew the Master of the Ship to be his ancient Enemy Mecos: And Mecos in a little Time remember'd Turpius, notwithstanding the great Change his late Sickness had made in him. Their first Surprize being over, Turpius said, Without Doubt the Gods have brought me to receive Punishment from thy Hands, without which their Justice could not be perfect. I confess my Crimes have deserv'd the most rigorous Chastisement which thou my greatest Enemy, canst inflict; then here take thy full Revenge: So opening his Breast, begg'd Mecos to sheath his Sword in his Heart. No, reply'd Mecos, though thou deservest Death, yet I will not be thine Executioner, being a Wretch more wicked than thy self; and as Wolves and Serpents agree amongst themselves, it is but natural for thou and I to live in good Intelligence; therefore tell me whither thou would'st go, and I will conduct thee, or what other Service I can render. Alas, reply'd Turpius. I scarce know how to thank thee for thy kind Offer, nor what Use to make of it; for I am a wretched Monster, the Odium of Mankind. However, if you will put me on Shore near the House of Publius Scipio, it is all I desire. That is the Place, reply'd Mecos, to which I am bound, therefore we will go together.
In short, these two Persons arriv'd, without any Obstacle, to the said Place, where they found all this Company of happy Friends and Lovers, and amongst them Clarinthia, which was a joyful Surprize to her Father; and though he was extremely chang'd, she knew him; and, falling at his Feet, begg'd him to pardon her if she had done any Thing to offend him. Rise, rise, my dear Child, said Turpius, for it is I, thy guilty Father, which ought to be in that Posture, begging Pardon of the Gods, and all the World, and in particular of thee, my dear Clarinthia: Thou hast done nothing to displease me; thou hast been all Vertue and Obedience; thy bright Soul is all Perfection and Purity; then pity and pardon this thy unhappy Father: Then both embracing, testify'd their mutual Tenderness in a Shower of Tears, 'till Publius, Asiaticus, and others of the Company, interrupted them with their Welcomes and kind Addresses to Turpius.
In the mean Time, Exilius and Scipiana, regarding Mecos a little stedfastly, knew him to be the Pyrate that had taken and sold them into Ægypt, and he likewise knew them; and casting himself at their Feet, begg'd Pardon for what was past, assuring them of a true and sincere Repentance; and that it was that hearty and unfeign'd Sorrow, which had brought him to offer himself a Sacrifice to the just Anger of my Lord Publius Scipio. At which my Lord Publius turning towards him, said, I know not wherein thou hast offended me, so as to deserve either Punishment or Pardon. But looking more attentively on him, he remember'd him to be his old Acquaintance Mecos; whereupon he desir'd him to relate what had befallen him since he left Rome, and how he came reduc'd to this Condition.
You know, said Mecos, that I was heretofore one of the richest of the Roman Nobility, 'till mine and my Wife's lewd Lives dissipated what the Care and Wisdom of our Ancestors had accumulated. With Shame I may speak it, I think I was one of the greatest Debauchees of my Time, nor was my Wife on her Part less culpable. Amongst several Gallants which she entertain'd, Turpius, who pass'd for one of the most infamous of all the Sons of Luxury, was one of her greatest Favourites; and notwithstanding that I often forbad her to see or speak with him, yet so little did she regard my Prohibition, that she would be with him at Theatres, Balls, Masques, and all other Diversions, whilst I did the same with other Ladies. Thus we led a Life disagreeable to the Gods and our Friends; and though the Diminution of my Estate call'd loud for a Retrenchment of my Expences, I was deaf to all, and thought to supply my Extravagance by wrecking my poor Tenants, inhancing their Rents, 'till their utmost Endeavours cou'd not supply their Necessities, much less my Luxuries. Tho' my Stewards represented to me their Industry, or Distress, how they pass'd their Days in Labour, and their Nights in Care, neither drinking the Fruit of their Vines, nor eating the best of their Corn; their Cloaths, the Offal of their Flocks, coarsly wrought up by the Labour of their Hands; yet all not capable to help them through those Oppressions I laid upon them. My Severity minded not the Widows Tears, nor Orphans Cries; the Sighs of Husbands groaning in Prisons, and the Petitions of Wives supplicating on their Behalf, penetrated not; I consider'd no−body's Wants but my own, and thought my self in Necessity, if I had not an Affluence even to Riot and Luxury; that by Degrees my Lordships became abandon'd, few caring to be my Tenants; that for want of annual Revenues I was forc'd to sell the Lands, 'till my Affairs sell to such Extremity as were past Retrieve. I went into the Country amongst my Lordships, where I found nothing but Misery and Ruin, which caus'd me to return sooner than my Family expected; and going directly into my Chamber, I found Turpius in Bed with my Wife. This enraging Sight I could not bear, but ran up on him with the utmost Violence; but he being nimble escap'd, and all my Fury fell upon her, for with my Sword I kill'd her in her Bed. This Accident, join'd to the other distress'd Circumstances, made me betake my self to Flight, partly to avoid the Vengeance of her Friends, but chiefly the more insupportable Punishment of that Poverty my Extravagance had brought upon me. I took my Son with me, believing him to be my own, he being born before my Wife betook herself to that lewd Life; but my little Daughter I left to the Hazard of Fortune. As I pass'd through a little Street behind the Garden of Publius Scipio, the Back−gate being open, and the little Scipioplaying there, and his Attendance at a Distance from him, I took him up under my Cloak, and carry'd him away. The Child went pleas'd and smiling, as knowing me very well, being one that frequented his Father's House. I knowing he would be a good Booty in Africa, went directly thither, and there sold him to Amilcar, a Cartbaginian Lord, who gave him to his Son Hannibal, where I suppose he remains to this Day in Quality of a Page. At these Words Ismenus interrupted him, saying, that he was mistaken, forasmuch as Hannibal had no Roman, Bond nor Freeman, except himself: Whereupon Publius looking upon him with Attention, beheld in him the lovely Features of his beauteous Mother; and said, if this be my Son, the lovely Scipio which I lost, he has an Eagle spread on his Breast. True reply'd Mecos, the lovely Boy I sold had that Mark; whereupon Ismenus opening his Breast, shew'd them the Eagle. This Discovery was no less grateful, than surprizing to all the Company, but chiefly to Publius,who receiv'd and embrac'd him with all the tender Caresses of an overjoy'd Father; and all the Company, by his Example, express'd their Joy and Satisfaction, according to their different Relation they had to this lovely Object of their Endearments. After the first Efforts of their Kindness, they began to reflect on several Passages; how Emelia had taken the Picture of Asiaticus to have been the Pourtraiture of Ismenus, which, no doubt, resembled him very much, it having been drawn when Asiaticus was of his Age; and likewise how Exilius took him for Scipiana, when dress'd in Woman's Cloaths, at their meeting in the Cave; for 'tis certain, never did Brother and Sister more resemble each other than did these; to wit, Asiaticus, Ismenus, and Scipiana. After a little Time was pass'd on these Reflections, Mecos, at the Desire of Publius, return'd to his Story.
Having (said Mecos) vended my pretty Merchandize at Carthage, I went for Eygpt, where I plac'd my Son in an Academy of good Education, at Alexandria, and betook my self to Pyracy, taking upon me the Name of Marinus. In this wicked Occupation I throve so well, that in a little Time I became Master of a Fleet of these rapacious Wretches, they all owning me for their Admiral. Amongst many other Prizes which my wicked Hands took, it was my Fortune to light on this noble Couple, Exilius and Scipiana, whose Adventures I suppose you have had at large from themselves. My Son, whom I told you I left at Alexandria, made so good Proficiency in his Studies and Exercises, that he made himself an accomplish'd Gentleman; so that by Degrees, with the Help of Friends, he got to be Captain in the King's Guard, in the Place of Exilius, after he was put in Prison. But the Gods was pleas'd to punish all my Crimes in the Person of my Son; for he had enjoy'd this Honour but a very small Time, when passing one Evening in the Street, he was assassinated in his Chariot; but before he dy'd, he engag'd me to quit this wicked Way of Living, and to go ask Pardon of Publius Scipio, and inform him of the Adventures of his Daughter, and where I had left his Son. And now, my Lord, behold me at your Feet, not only as a Criminal, but a real Penitent, asking Pardon both of you and Heaven with all Sincerity and Submission.
I am always ready (reply'd Publius) to pardon my Enemies; and I will not only forgive, but gratify thee; for as you have render'd me a Son, so I will present you with a Daughter, whom you left to the Risk of Fortune; she is here with me, the Governess of my Family. For when the Senate dispos'd of your Estate for the Payment of your Debts, my Wife, who was all Vertue and Goodness, took your Daughter Home to her, giving her a noble Education: Thus did her Bounty towards thy Child inhance the Odium of thy Wickedness towards hers. But may the Gods pardon thee freely, as I do. Then calling Artemesia, presented her to Mecos, saying, behold in her your own Figure; you have no Cause to doubt her being your own Child, she bears so great Resemblance to your Lordship. At which Mecos embrac'd her with much Joy and Tenderness, as also the rest of the Company presented their Congratulations with great Satisfaction, which was interrupted by the coming in of Dinner.
Inner was scarce ended, when Libidinia, who was very well recover'd, came to visit the Ladies. After they had congratulated the Restoration of her Health, Clodius advanc'd, telling her, that he was not only glad to find her in good Health, but in Prosperity, and freed from the Fetters of a prudent. Husband, the Curb of good Humour, and Bridle of Mirth, the Clog of Wit, and Bar to all Diversion; from these and many other Restraints the Gods have deliver'd you, in taking from you the discreet Aurelius, and has brought to you a more suitable Match, the wild, loose, lewd Clodius, who is ready to be again your Lover, and in Time your Husband: Trust me, Madam, I find great Charms in the Riches of Aurelius, as well as in the Beauty of his Widow; both are irresistable, and, I hope, Madam, you will find the same Agreements in me, which heretofore did not displease you; then let us never balk our Fancies, but marry speedily; no Matter for the Proverb of repenting leisurely, for that I am perswaded we shall never do; for we shall understand the World and our selves so well, as never to be displeas'd at what Company each other keeps, or what Diversions engage our Time, or where we spend our Money: No, no, we will be easy to our selves and to each other. Truly, reply'd Libidinia, you wou'd be easy to me if you wou'd cease this Ramble of Words, and remember what Respect is due to the illustrious Company, if you think none due to me. She was about to proceed, but Scipiana interpos'd, begging her not to take Notice with Displeasure of Clodius's Raillery, but remember what he had suffer'd in Consideration of her being marry'd to Aurelius, when he expected the Happiness himself; so begg'd her to consider how to repair those his Sufferings.
Whilst they were in this Discourse, Cordiala walk'd out into the Grove, there, in Solitude, to meditate on the late Change in the Circumstances of Ismenus, well knowing herself too low in Quality and Fortune ever to marry a Scipio, nevertheless found it impossible to disingage her Heart from those tender Sentiments the lovely Youth had infus'd: O cruel Passion, said she to herself, that in Spite of all Endeavours subjects us to thy Tyranny; yet I am happy in this, Scipio knows not what Power he has over me, nor ever shall; I will dye rather than discover my Folly. O poor Cordiala, unhapy Maid! what wild Meanders of strange and hard Adventures has Fortune mark'd out for thy Virtue to trace; what strange Vicissitudes hast thou encounter'd in the short Space of thy Life; yet short as it is, it had been happy for thee if it had pleas'd the Gods to have abridg'd it, and taken me out of the World ere I had beheld this lovely Object of my pleasing Pain. Yesterday I thought him the Morning−Star of my Hopes, ushering in the bright Dawn of some Happiness: But when he became illustrated with the Glories of his House, and the poor Ismenus encircled with the Rays of a Scipio, his Brightness then extinguish'd all my Hopes, and cast me into the Abyss of deep Despair. And now that all Hopes are extinguish'd, my fond Desires ought to dye with them: But, alas! so firm a Possession has Love taken of my Heart, as is not in my Power to eject. O ye Gods! why did you permit me to see and love him in his low Condition? Had I never seen him, 'til refulgent with the bright Rays of his Family, his Glories had been too dazling for one in my low Sphere to have look'd upon, but at a vast Distance, amongst the admiring Crowd, have run to see him pass by, and there to have respected him as a Hero, equal to a Demi−God. What Madness is it then for me, a Thing so mean, to think on him, but as one of the Lords of Mankind, above the Reach of vulgar Thoughts! Yet so it is, I must not only think of him, but infinitely love him. He is the only Object of my Tenderness; my Eyes never taught my Heart to make Distinction 'til they beheld Ismenus. All the Gallants of Rome, and Youths of Sicily, were to me alike indifferent. I thought Misfortunes hard harden'd my Heart to such a Temper, as not to love beyond the Degree of Friendship; but, poor Girl! how suddenly didst thou become flexible! The first Onset of his Eyes subjected my Heart to Love's imperial Commands: Methinks I could live on the Remembrance of that dear Moment, when a gentle Look and a soft Sigh forc'd their Passage to my Soul; which I had almost return'd with the like tender Motions, but that I stifled in the Birth such untimely Fruits of my Folly, not suffering my Breast to deliver itself of the Burden of one Sigh: By which Means Scipio remains ignorant of my Weakness, for which Conduct I am thankful to Heaven; for had he known it, I could not have out out−liv'd the Shame of being deserted by him, which must necessarily have ensu'd this his elevated State; for whatsoever Inclination might have whisper'd to him on my Behalf, Duty and Honour would command, and are such imperious Mistresses as must and ought to be obey'd. Then, O ye Gods! be so kind to me as you were to the Nymphs of old, and turn me into a Tree in this Grove, where perhaps Scipio may admire me in that Form or Species, and carve some Love Verses on my Bark, sing and whisper gentle Airs, which the Wind, joining with my ruffling Leaves, will reverberate, and so make a happy Consort of our mutual Loves. And if my thick Shade shelter him from Sun or Rain, how pleas'd should I be in rendering him that Service. But, O ye Gods! if he should bring some fair She, Daughter of a mighty Lord, and underneath the Umbrage of my extended Branches court and languish at her Feet, then should I die, my Leaves wither, and my Trunk rot with Indignation. Then rather let me follow the Fate of that babling Nymph whom your Pity turn'd into a Voice, and I will always follow this my Narcissus; and when vast Armies and glorious Triumph shall with loud Applause shout forth the Name of Scipio, then is my Time to serve his Fame, by echoing, Scipio, Scipio, Scipio, 'til his Name pierce the Clouds, and make even the Gods jealous of his rising Glories. Thus did this vertuous Maid entertain her roving Thoughts in this her solitary Walk, 'til Scipio, who was full of Agitation of Mind, also came into those Walks, and there met her, the Object of his Tenderness, to whom he address'd himself, saying, That since the Gods had been propitious to him in the Advancement of his Condition, he hoped she would now cease her Rigour; for (said he) I protest by all that's good, the chief Satisfaction I take in this my Advancement, is the Hopes that it well render me the more worthy Object of your Consideration, and gives me Occasion to testify the Sencerity of my Affection; inasmuch as no Change of Fortune is capable to change my Sentiments towards my lovely Maid: Then testify the Acceptance of this my offer'd Love by one gentle Look or Smile; let me hope that I am not wholly indifferent to you. Alas! (reply'd Cordiala) those Reasons you inforce, to oblige me to correspond with your amorus Pretensions, ought to be employ'd to justify my Refusal. It is obvious to any Capacity, that the Inequality of our present Fortunes must needs be a greater Obstacle than was our mutual Poverty. Then cease to entertain me or your own Fancy on this Subject; for assure your self I will never hear, much less gratify you: I will not be the Author of your Misfortunes, nor the Scorns of your Family: I will not cause you to disoblige the best of Fathers, nor myself become the Odium of Mankind. Therefore cease, I say, to importune me on this Subject. Madam, (reply'd Scipio) your Commands to me are sacred, and must be obey'd to the utmost Degree of Possibility; but know this, that although I cease to importune you, I cannot cease to love you: Your Perfections are made to be belov'd, and chiefly by me. And though you should forbid me ten thousand Times, yet still I must love on. You took Possession of my Heart the Moment of our first Interview, and will hold it against all other Assailants, whether Riches, Honours, or any other Beauty. Then since it is impossible to make my Heart cease from sighing Love, and my Mind from thinking Love, my Eyes from languishing, it is vain to command my Tongue to cease from declaring what all my interiour Passions dictate. No, rather give me Leave to address my Friends, and obtain not only their Leave but their Assistance to persuade you on my Behalf. As he was about to proceed, they discover'd Asiaticus at the End of the Walk, and seeing him alone, Scipio took the Opportunity to go and discourse with him on the Subject of his Passion, begging him to intercede with his Father on his Behalf. This Discourse both surpriz'd and displeas'd Asiaticus; nevertheless he could not refuse his Importunity, and so promis'd to do what he could with his Father, tho' he fear'd it would prove ineffectual; and so left Scipio to go look for his Father, whilst he return'd to the Place where he left Cordiala, and there found with her Clarinthia,who, seating themselves, and discoursing of Things indifferent, they saw a Person at the End of the Walk coming towards them, who they soon perceiv'd to be Valerius. As he came near Clarinthia, he cast himself at her Feet, begging Pardon of her and Heaven for all the Trouble he had caus'd her; adding, That he was come on Purpose from Sicily, and going to Rome, to enquire after Turpius, in Hopes he may have gotten thither. If seeking after Turpius be your Business, reply'd Clarinthia, you will soon find Success; for he is at my Lord Publius Scipio'sHouse, whither I will conduct thee.
Valerius humbled himself at the Feet of his Father, who readily receiv'd him. Asiaticus, at the Request of Clarinthia, forgave him. All the Company congratulated his safe Arrival, and oblig'd him to stay and be a Sharer in the general Happiness, and the Diversions of the coming Night, which was design'd for Musick, Mirth, and Feasting. Thus these happy Lovers diverted themselves, in Expectation of their Friends from Rome, in Order to conclude and perfect their Felicity.
But the Gods seldom permit human Happiness to be compleat, least, perhaps, we should forget them, the Donors, and fix our Affections too much on these terrestrial Objects; and therefore their allwise Providence mixes something amongst our most happy Moments, that may mind us on our Dependance upon their Bounty. Wherefore, amongst this happy Company of Lovers and Friends, the poor Scipio was unfortunate, in the Opposition his Father made in the Business of his Amour: For Publius receiv'd the Information from Asiaticuswith great Indignation, telling him, that he had rather he had remain'd still lost, than thus to lose himself and disgrace his Family, with divers other Rebukes of this Kind: All which were so grievous to him, that all the Diversion of that Night was not capable to infuse one easy Thought in the Heart of Scipio. When the Fatigue of Pleasure oblig'd them to retire to their Repose, he retir'd only to Inquietude. O ye Gods! (said he to himself) in what hard Circumstances have you plac'd me, that I must disobey the most honourable and kind of all Fathers, or violate my Word given to the most vertuous and beautiful of all Maids, and at the same Time render myself the most unhappy of all Mortals. Ah unhappy Scipio! It had been well for me if I had still been ignorant whose Son I was, and only known myself to be the poor Ismenus; then might I have lov'd the fair Cordiala without Controul. Yesterday I had no Chains to wear but hers, no Commands to obey but the Motion of her Eyes, no Friends to oblige, no Honours to comply with, no Grandeur to seek, no Parents to obey; all was concenter'd in her alone. Ah, the Happiness of Poverty and low Parentage! which gives us that most valuable Jewel of this World's Treasure, Liberty; which the Rich and Great are seldom Masters of, but are fetter'd with a thousand Impertinencies, from which they can no more disengage themselves than I from my unhappy Passion; but why do I call it unhappy? Am I not fortunate, to see and love the finest Thing of the Creation? Then why do I make any Doubt or Difficulty? Love on, Scipio, love thy beauteous Cordiala, and, if possible, make her wholly thine; such Perfections were never made for less noble Ends than to be Wife to a Scipio. But, O the Thoughts of making her wretched, when my Father shall discard us, all my Family scorn us, and the whole World condemn us! With what Face shall I then look on her, whom I have brought to inevitable Ruin. As she is, her Merits may provide her an honourable Marriage with some noble Roman, Master of himself, that can make her happy, since I only undo her with my Love. Then, since one must be miserable, 'tis fit that I sustain the whole Blow alone, and not endeavour to involve her, who has no Way been accessary; then be obedient to thy Father's Commands, and leave this only Object of my Life's Happiness; sacrifice all Satisfaction to the Honour of my Family, and the Repose of Cordiala. But, ah! if Cordiala should be sensible of those tender Sighs and faithful Vows I have so often repeated to her, where would then be her Ease or Repose? Yesterday I thought I perceiv'd a Sigh struggling in her Breast; but she, cruel to herself and me, stifled it e'er born. Her frequent Blushes and broken Words seem'd to testify she spake against the Sentiment of her Heart; that I brib'd my foolish Hopes to believe myself not wholly indifferent to her; for Maids, they say, take great Care to conceal that Secret from the Knowledge of their Lovers. If it should be thus with Cordiala, how could she bear the being deserted by me, or rather the Death of him she loves? For die I must, if not possess her. Ah, cruel Lot! that constrains me, either to live in Disobedience to the best of Fathers, or die, rather than displease him in marrying the best and most beautiful of all her Sex. Assist me, Vertue, to conduct me through this narrow Passage, that I wreck not upon Scylla or Charybdis. Thus did this young Heart pass his Hours in Chagrin, whilst others enjoy'd soft Slumbers.
The agreeable Fatigue of the preceding Night detain'd this noble Company in their Beds beyond the wonted Hour; only Valerius proclaim'd his Contempt of Lassitude, by rising before the others, having had his Thoughts employ'd on the Beauty of Artemisa, the fair Daughter of Mecos, whose agreeable Mein in her dancing that Night, added a Grace to her Person, which in itself was charming. His Mind being agitated therewith, he walk'd out into the Grove, to gratify his Thoughts in Solitude in Contemplation of this pleasing Object: He had not made many Turns, when his Ears were saluted with the best of all Musick, a fine Voice singing these Words:
In vain does Nature her free Gifts bestow
To make us wise or fair;
If Fortune don't her Favours show,
Scorn'd and neglected we may go,
Not worth a Look, much less a Lover's Care.
Or if we shou'd some pitying Eyes command,
Or those of Admiration;
So unendow'd fair Structures stand
Admir'd, but not one helping Hand
Will rescue them from Time's Dilapidation.
Then surely vain it is for me to strive
With native Charms or Art;
For Beauty may as well survive
Her Climacterick Twenty five,
As without Wealth to get or keep a Heart.
Having heard the Song, he was curious to see the Person; and approaching the Place, he found Artemisa, to whom he address'd, saying, If your Angelick Form Yesterday inspir'd my Thoughts with Admiration, your Seraphick Voice now charms me even to adore you; therefore, Madam, refuse not those Sighs and Vows I shall perpetually offer you as my Life's Guardian; not like those Votaries your Song complains of, who slightly admire, and so pass: No, my Love shall be constant as your Beauties are perfect. Sir, reply'd Artemisa, I know not how constant you may think yourself; but to me your Love seems of too hasty a Growth to have taken any great Root in your Heart; moreover, a Declaration without the Consent of my Father, shews a Want of Respect, which ought to be the Foundation of Affection. But, perhaps, you take your Measures from the unhappy Miscarriages of my Mother, and so take a Freedom of Speech with me her Daughter, without being first authoriz'd by my Father. But be assur'd, Sir, that altho' Ignominy on my Mother's Side, and Poverty on my Father's, be all the Portion I have to thank them for, yet I resolve to preserve my filial Devoirs entire; and since my Circumstances are such as exclude me from those Respects due to my Quality, the Object of my Choice ought to be a Virgin−Life amongst Diana'sTrain. Diana, and all the Gods, be my Witnesses, reply'd Valerius, my Intentions towards you are vertuous and honourable; nor do I measure your Merits or Inclinations by the Standard of your Parents Actions, no more than I would be condemn'd for the Faults of my Progenitors. The Truth is, in this Point, our Fortunes hold so just a Proportion, that we cannot upbraid each other with our Relations; therefore, certainly we are the most proper for each other's Circumstances: Yes, methinks I see that Heaven has design'd it so. I must confess, (reply'd Artemisa) our Fortunes have a great Resemblance; and what is very remarkable, that our Mothers should be not only both vicious, but both Mistresses to the same Man Sure Turpius in his Youth was a most accomplish'd Person, that, amongst the Multitude of his amorous Conquests, he led Captive these two Ladies of Quality. They were about to pursue their Discourse, when they perceiv'd Scipio and Cordiala coming at the other End of the Walk; wherefore they retir'd, Valerius telling her, that he would endeavour to enfranchize his Discourse, by gaining the Suffrage of her Father.
Cordiala and Scipio seating themselves, she told him, that his Sister and Cousin, Scipiana and Clelia, had promis'd to give her Letters of Recommendation to their Cousin Fabiell in Ægypt, by the Help of which she hop'd to make her Fortune, or, at least, gain a Livelihood; so thither I intend to direct my Steps as soon as possible; and I beg you to content yourself with that Felicity the Gods have provided for you, in proving you the Son of such an honourable Father. Testify your Thanks to them in a perfect Obedience to him, and think no more on the unfortunate Cordiala.
When you command Impossibilities, said Scipio, you cannot hope to be obey'd; for you may as well command the Heavens to cease their Motions, and not influence this terrestrial Globe, or all Nature to cease her Work, as to command Scipio not to think on Cordiala. Ah, Cordiala! I must for ever think on you, love you, and follow you where ever you go; therefore extend not your Commands against these my Resolutions of loving you, and languishing at your Feet for ever; then, kissing her Hand a thousand Times, begg'd her to pronounce him happy. O Scipio! reply'd Cordiala, cease to importune me on this Subject; leave this unfortunate Creature; stay not within the Reach of Infection; Misfortunes may be catching as well as Sickness; leave me alone to my Sighs and Tears; stay not at all, lest my unweary Tongue pronounce your Ruin; leave me, I say, that I may gently expire without the Agony of seeing you undone. My charming Fair, reply'd Scipio, there is no Ruin but in your Rigor, nor can I be undone but by your Absence; therefore dry those Eyes, whose bright Rays are only capable to enliven the Heart of your languishing Lover, who dies to see you weep. 'Tis fit, reply'd Cordiala, that Criminals should weep, and such are my Eyes, since they cause the vertuous Scipio to transgress his Duty to his Father; therefore if you would have me cease to weep, you must cease to love; and if any Thing I can say may have Influence over you, let me conjure you to withdraw your tender Thoughts from me a Wretch unworthy: At least endeavour it; perhaps the divine Asistance may co−operate in so just an Enterprize, and help you to overcome your self, which will render you a greater Conqueror, than your noble Brother in his subduing Asia. My self, reply'd Scipio, is an useless Part of Mankind without my Cordiala, a Thing unworthy the Industry of a Scipio; therefore never perswade me to any Thing that regards my self, otherwise than for your Service; I desire not to live, but for you; I desire no Honour, Riches, or Happiness, but for you; it is for your Sake only, that I rejoice to be the Son of a Scipio; it is for your Sake, that I glory to have the noble Asiaticus for my Brother; in fine, it is for your Sake, and in Hopes of your Favours, that I bear with human Life, and aim to be a Grandee of the World. Then never more bid me to withdraw my Affections, or endeavour at such a wild Impossibility; but rather endeavour to unite yours with mine, and hope the Gods will assist us in the Enterprize.
As they were in this Discourse, Asiaticus and Scipiana came towards them; wherefore they broke off, and arose to go meet them. Asiaticus, taking Scipio aside, left Scipiana and Cordiala together: Asiaticus told him, that he had again discours'd his Father this Morning on the Subject of his Amour, but could obtain nothing of him but a firm Resolution against it, with a Command never to mention it to him more on Pain of his Displeasure. Wherefore (continu'd he) let me beg of you to eradicate this misplanted Affection, and force your Heart to a thorough Obedience to your Father. Ah Brother! (reply'd Scipio, the Respect I owe to you, as well as my Duty to my Father, would make me do it if 'twas possible; but it is not in my Power: I might tear my Heart from my Breast, but cannot tear my Passion from my Heart: Dear Brother, let me beg of you to reflect on your Passion for Clarinthia,and if you find a Possibility of removing it, then blame me for not obeying your Advice and my Father's Commands; if not, I hope you'll forgive me: I am sure you cannot say but that Cordiala is truly fair and vertuous; 'tis true, she is not the Daughter of a noble Lord; no more am I the great Conqueror of Asia, though I am now the Son of the noble Scipio, and your Brother; yet when my Affection took Root, I was only the poor Ismenus,without Family or Character; in that low State I gave Cordiala the Assurance of my everlasting Love; and now the Gods has exalted me to be the Son of a Scipio, can I recede from my Word, without fixing a Mark of Unworthiness on my Name and Family, was it possible? But, alas! I may as well tear the Sun from its Coelestial Orb, and wear it for a Shield, as tear this Passion from my Heart. Consider then, dear Brother; and if you cannot help, at least pity me, and let me have a Place in your Consideration.
Whilst the two Brothers were in this Discourse, Scipiana and Cordiala entertain'd each other on the same Subject Cordiala told Scipiana, that since she had in much Goodness offer'd to recommend her to her Kinswoman the Princess Fabiell, she begg'd the speedy Performance of this Favour, that she might retire from the Importunities of her Brother, the young Scipio. 'Tis true, reply'd Scipiana, that is the best Way I can foresee for you, especially since my Father is so very opposite to Scipio's Inclinations, and you yourself receive his Address with so much Indifferency, for which prudent Conduct you are extreamly to be commended. Very few, so young as you, could so perfectly govern themselves, as not to have a strong Inclination, when courted by so fine a Person as my Brother. Ah! Madam, reply'd Cordiala, you are too generous a Benefactrix to me, for me to disguise the Truth; I am far from being able to govern my Affections towards your Brother; it is with great Difficulty that I make a Shift to govern my Words; for, alas! Madam, I love him to the last Degree: Pardon, dear Madam, this free Confession; for I count I ought to conceal nothing from you, no more than from a Goddess, you having been to me as my good Genius: Therefore, Madam, do not interpret this as an indecent Boldness, which is truly Duty; but be pleas'd to assist me in my Departure into Ægypt, thereby to remove from your House the Odium of your Family. I am truly sorry for you both, reply'd Scipiana, and wish it was in my Power to serve you in a more agreeable Way than assisting towards your Separation; for, believe it Cordiala, I truly love and esteem you: Your Vertue and Wisdom carry with them irresistable Charms; but it is not in my Power to serve my own Inclinations in assisting your Affections. Scipiana was about to proceed in her Assurances, when a Servant came to let them know, that their Friends they so long expected from Rome were arriv'd, to wit, my Lord Fabius, Lucullus, Marcellus, and Flavia. Wherefore they hasten'd in to pay their Respects to them, which they did according to the Dignity of their respective Qualities. They were surpriz'd to find Fabius and Jemella there; for they knew not of their being come from Sardinia; but most of all they were surpriz'd to find Clodius in good Intelligence with them; but a few Turns of Discourse inform'd them all the manner of that Proceeding, when, together with the Intercession of Publius and the others, they pardon'd Clodius, and promis'd to obtain the same of the Senate, as also to intercede on his Behalf with his fair Widow the bright Libidinia. Flavia, with the rest, having pardon'd her Nephew, Scipiana presented to her Cordiala, begging her to extend her Favour also to this young Creature, once the Object of her Kindness, and receive her into the same Station of her Benevolence as formerly; but Flaviareply'd, that it was impossible; however, she would, for the Sake of that honourable Assembly, do what she could to make her happy in that low Station in which the Gods had plac'd her. Whereupon Cordiala gave her Thanks for so kind a Promise, and withal begg'd her Ladyship, to let her know who and where her poor Parents were to be found, that she might pay her Duty to them, as a Means to obtain a Blessing on what her Ladyship's Goodness would bestow. To which Flavia reply'd, That her Mother was a poor Woman living at Cajeta; and so forthwith sent a Servant to find the poor Woman, and bring her thither. In the mean time Publius propos'd the Marriages to the noble Romans, according to the Inclinations of their Children the young Lovers; to which they all unanimously agreed. Amongst the rest Turpius and Mecos were very well pleas'd at the Choice their Children, Valerius and Artemisa, had made of each other; and accordingly gave them their full Consent: So that amongst all this noble Company, Scipio and Cordiala were the only Pair likely to be unhappy, and without Prospect of being otherwise.
The Servant which Flavia sent to Cajeta soon return'd, bringing with him the good Woman, Mother to Cordiala. To whom Flavia presented Cordiala, telling her, that she restor'd to her her Child, being sorry that her Disobedience had been such as had obstructed her Fortune, which otherwise had been honourably made in a happy Marriage. Nevertheless, continu'd Flavia, I am willing to assist her and you, to make her happy in that Rank she has chose for herself; and when any Person of her Condition shall espouse her, I will take Care of an Establishment for them. Which Discourse so swell'd the Heart of Scipio, that he burst forth into these Words, which he utter'd with more Passion than Prudence: Madam, be pleas'd to know, that your offer'd Favour is never to be accepted by Cordiala; she is of a Composure, both of Mind and Person, above any Thing below a Scipio; and, whilst I live, she neither must nor shall marry any but myself. Then casting himself at the Feet of his Father, with great Submission begg'd his Lordship to forgive that Freedom of Speech, which his Passion and her Merits had unawares forc'd from him, adding, That although he there avow'd that none should espouse her but himself, nevertheless that he did not design any Espousals without his Lordship's Leave; and moreover asserted, That such was her Vertue and Prudence, as would not permit her to accept of his Courtship, much less to resign her Affections, in Opposition to his Lordship; for which, and divers other excellent Qualities, I hope (said he) she deserves the Esteem of all this noble Company, and I beg they will intercede in my Behalf: for I dare not presume to ask my Lord myself, having already receiv'd his Prohibition. The Company were all extreamly pleas'd at his modest Freedom, and every one was sensible of her Personal Deserts; nevertheless, no body ventur'd to perswade Publius on their Behalf, but look'd upon one another with confus'd Aspects: 'Till Publius begg'd them all to remain silent on that Subject, it being a Thing he neither could nor would grant; therefore commanded his Son never more to mention it to him, nor to employ any body about it; not but that he esteem'd Cordiala for her Discretion, and would reward her for it; and if Scipio would apply himself to his Duty, he would forget this Folly, as the Effect of Youth; otherwise he must expect to be discarded and forgotten by him; with many other Words to this Effect, which were as Claps of Thunder to the Hearts of our young Couple.
Cordiala retir'd to give Vent to her Sighs, Tears, and Blushes, whilst Scipio remain'd still at the Feet of his Father, imploring him and begging him to pity his Youth, and pardon his Passion, which he could not help; protesting, that he would never act contrary to his Duty, which still gave him Hopes, that his Lordship would in Time be a little reconcil'd and indulgent to his Affection. As Publius was about to reply, he saw enter into the Room an aged Person, which he soon knew to be his old Friend Catullus, whose Banishment had been one Cause of his leaving Rome. Wherefore, falling about his Neck, he embrac'd him most tenderly. At the same Time Exilius threw himself at the Feet of his Father, begging Pardon for his long Absence, withal presenting Scipiana as the Cause, assuring him, that nothing less worthy, or less belov'd, should have detain'd him from his Presence. This Discovery extreamly surpriz'd and pleas'd the Company, and most especially Publius, who was transported to find his Daughter's Lover, or rather pretended Husband, to be the Son of his dearly beloved Friend, and a noble Roman; he whose single Merits, whilst unknown, and without Name, Quality, or Estate, had so far oblig'd him both in the Person of Asiaticus and Scipiana, that he could not refuse his Consent to their Espousals. But now his Joy transcended all Bounds, and not only he, but all the Company found a Satisfaction at this Discovery, every one saluting and embracing both the Father and the Son, according to their respective Relations; all begging his Lordship to inform them how he had done to hide his illustrious Person from the Knowledge of all the World, in particular from his Friends, who had been solicitous for him, to have inform'd him, that the Senate had recall'd him and restor'd his Estate.
I was so thorowly unconcern'd (said Catullus) for the Things of this World, that I never enquir'd what was done by the Senate touching me or my Fortune. For I found so much Injustice in my Banishment, that I betook my self wholly to the Thoughts of Heaven, and look'd with Contempt on all earthly Things. I accepted willingly my Sufferings, and with Pleasure begg'd Pardon of the Gods for those that had been my Persecutors. Pray give me Leave, My noble Lords, to avow mine Innocence, for I know nothing by my self that might occasion this my Punishment; but a Party took a Conceit, that I endeavour'd to make my self popular, so as to raise my self above the rest of the Senate: If I spoke any Thing in the Senate to maintain the Laws, then I was suppos'd to cajole the Nobles; if in Favour of the People, then it was to engage the Mobb; if I forgave my Tenants their Debts, or abated their Rents, that was undermining other Landlords; if I pray'd in the Temple, it was deem'd Hypocrisy; if I treated my Friends, it was Lewdness; if I requir'd any just Debt, it was Cruelty; if I gave Alms, it was Vain−glory: Thus all that I did or said was misunderstood or misrepresented by mine Enemies, 'til they gain'd both Senate and People on their Party, and in the End accomplish'd their Design in my Banishment. I conclude my Son has told you the Manner of my Life in my rocky Island, where I intended always to remain; but having one Day been at Sardinia, I heard, to my great Sorrow, that my Friend Publius was in great Affliction for the Loss of all his Children; wherefore I resolv'd to venture once more into my unjust and unnatural Country, to endeavour to consolate my Friend, and give him what Information I could touching his Daughter's Departure from me. The Execution of this Design we retarded by long Sickness and foul Weather; but now, to my unspeakable Joy, I am come to partake of the greatest Happiness my Heart could hope for on this Side Heaven, in the Espousals of my Son with the fair Daughter of my Friend: My next Care must be to find out my Daughter, which I left with a poor Woman of Cajeta, she being too tender for my rough Hands to deal withal; therefore I left her at that Town, in my Passage, as I went to imbark. At which the good Woman, Mother of Cordiala, presented herself to Catullus,telling him, that she was the Person to whom his Lordship had committed the Care of that Treasure: Wherefore calling Cordiala, she said, Behold this fair Lady, the Daughter you left with me; I have carefully kept the Secret, according to your Commands, that even when my Lady Flavia took her, I did not discover whose Daughter she was, but deliver'd her to her Ladyship as my own; and notwithstanding her being my Lady's Niece, and very like her little Daughter that dy'd, her Ladyship suspected nothing. This Discovery was a joyful Surprize to all the Company, but in particular to Catullus her Father, who embrac'd her with much Tenderness; and for a greater Demonstration of the Truth of all this, he shew'd a red Heart on her Arm, a Mark with which she was born. But above all Joy and Transport, that of Scipio transcended all Bounds; wherefore once more kneeling to his Father, told him, he hoped that now he would not only give his Consent, but obtain the same for him of Catullus and Cordiala; in which all unanimously consented, and all with excessive Joy receiv'd and embrac'd Cordiala,according to their respective Relations. Catullus adding, that he hoped to see the Glories of the Scipio's increase in the Person of this young Man; and that Africa should give him a Name, as Asia had done his Brother; for, said he, last Night I dream'd, that the Gods gave me a Daughter from the Clouds, which they told me should command all Africa; and now, methinks I foresee the Prediction true in the Person of this young Scipio. At which Asiaticuscall'd to Mind what the Sybil had foretold him in her Cave, and Scipiana remember'd what Cordiala's good Genius had sung to her in the Chapel of Diana; insomuch that they were almost ready to salute him Scipio Africanus, by Way of Advance. Thus was the Troubles and Inquietudes of these noble Romans and many Lovers all brought to a happy Conclusion. So we will leave them to agree amongst themselves, whether they will celebrate their Nuptials at Publius Scipio's House, according to his Request, or go to Rome, to accomplish the same with greater Splendour and Magnificence.
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