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though overawed by the presence of the two earls, with difficulty suppressed their anguish; but no sooner did Kent and Shrewsbury withdraw, than they ran to their mistress, and burst out into the most passionate expressions of tenderness and sorrow. Mary, however, not only retained perfect composure of mind, but endeavoured to moderate their excessive grief. And falling on her knees, with all her domestics round her, she thanked Heaven that her sufferings were now so near an end, and prayed that she might be enabled to endure what still remained with decency and with fortitude. The greater part of the evening she employed in settling her worldly affairs. She wrote her testament with her own band. Her money, her jewels, and her clothes, she distributed among her servants, according to their rank or merit. She wrote a short letter to the King of France, and another to the Duke of Guise, full of tender but magnanimous sentiments, and recommended her soul to their prayers, and her afflicted servants to their protection. At supper, she ate temperately, as usual, and conversed not only with ease, but with cheerfulness ; she drank to every one of her servants, and asked their forgiveness, if ever she had failed in any part of her duty towards them. At her wonted time she went to bed, and slept calmly a few hours. Early in the morning she retired into her closet, and employed a considerable time in devotion. At eight o'clock, the high sheriff and his officers entered her chamber, and found her still kneeling at the altar. She immediately started up, and with a majestic mien, and a countenance undismayed, and even cheerful, advanced towards the place of execution, leaning on two of Paulet's attendants. She was dressed in a mourning habit, but with an elegance and splendour which she had long laid aside, except on a few festival days. An Agnus Dei hung by a pomander chain at her neck; her beads at her girdle, and in her hand she carried a crucifix of ivory. At the bottom of the stairs the two earls, attended by several gentlemen from the neighbouring counties, received her; and there Sir Andrew Melvil, the master of her household, who had been secluded, for some weeks, from her presence, was permitted to take his last farewell. At the sight of a mistress whom he tenderly loved, in such a situation, he melted into tears : and as he was bewailing her condition, and complaining of his own hard fate in being appointed to carry the account of such a mournful event into Scotland, Mary replied, " Weep not, good Melvil, there is at present greater cause for rejoicing. Thou shalt this day see Mary Stuart delivered from all her cares, and such an end put to her tedious sufferings, as she has long expected. Bear witness, that I die constant in my religion ; firm in my fidelity towards Scotland ; and unchanged in my affection to France. Commend me to my son, tell him I have done nothing injurious to his kingdom, to his honour, or to his right; and God forgive all those who have thirsted, without cause, for my blood.”

With much difficulty, and after many entreaties, she prevailed on the two earls to allow Melvil, together with three of her men-servants, and two of her maids, to attend her to the scaffold. It was erected in the same hall where she had been tried, raised a little above the floor, and covered, as well as a chair, the cushion, and block, with black cloth. Mary mounted the steps with alacrity, beheld all this apparatus of death with an unaltered countenance, and signing herself with the cross, she sat down in the chair. Beale read the warrant for execution with a loud voice, to which she listened with a careless air, and like one occupied in other thoughts. Then the Dean of Peterborough began a devout discourse, suitable to her present condition, and offered up prayers to Heaven in her behalf; but she declared that she could not in conscience hearken to the one, nor join with the other; and falling on her knees, repeated a latin prayer. When the dean had finished his devotions, she, with an audible voice, and in the English tongue, recommended unto God the afflicted state of the church, and prayed for prosperity to her son, and for a long life and peaceable reign to Elizabeth. She declared that she hoped for mercy only through the death of Christ, at the foot of whose image she now willingly shed her blood, and lifting up, and kissing the crucifix, she thus addressed it: “ As thy arms, 0 Jesus, were extended on the cross; so with the outstretched arms of thy mercy receive me, and forgive my sins.”

She then prepared for the block, by taking off her veil and upper garments; and one of the executioners rudely endeavouring to assist, she gently checked him, and said, with a smile, that she had not been accustomed to undress before so many spectators, nor to be served by such valets. With calm but undaunted fortitude, she laid her neck on the block; and while one executioner held her hands, the other, at the second stroke, cut off her head, which falling out of its attire, discovered her hair already grown quite gray with cares and sorrows. The executioner held it up still streaming with blood, and the dean crying out, “So perish all Queen Elizabeth's enemies," the Earl of Kent alone answered Amen. The rest of the spectators continued silent, and drowned in tears, being incapable, at that moment, of any other sentiments but those of pity or admiration.

Edward Gibbon. 1737-1794. (Manual, p. 356.)


But my





CONCEPTION AND COMPLETION OF His HISTORY. It was at Rome, on the 15th of October, 1764, as I sat musing amidst the ruins of the Capitol, while the barefooted friars were singing vespers in the temple of Jupiter, that the idea of writing the decline and fall of the city first started to my mind. original plan was circumscribed to the decay of the city rather than of the empire ; and though my reading and reflections began to point towards that object, some years elapsed, and several avocations intervened, before I was seriously engaged in the execution of that laborious work.

I have presumed to mark the moment of conception : I shall now commemorate the hour of my final deliverance. It was on the day, or rather night, of the 27th of June, 1787, between the hours of eleven and twelve, that I wrote the last lines of the last page, in a summer-house in my garden. After laying down my pen I took several turns in a berceau, or covered walk of acacias, which commands a prospect of the country, the lake, and the mountains. The air was temperate, the sky was serene, the silver orb of the moon was reflected from the waters, and all nature was silent. I will not dissemble the first emotions of joy on recovery of my freedom, and, perhaps, the establishment of my fame. But my pride was soon humbled, and a sober melancholy was spread over my mind, by the idea that I had taken an everlasting leave of an old and agreeable companion, and that, whatsoever might be the future date of my history, the life of the historian must be short and precarious. I will add two facts, which have seldom occurred in the composition of six, or at least of five quartos. 1. My first rough manuscript, without


copy, has been sent to the press. 2. Not a sheet has been seen by any human eyes, excepting those of the author and the printer : the faults and the merits are exclusively my



208. THE SCHOOLS OF ATHENS. Athens, after her Persian triumphs, adopted the philosophy of Ionia and the rhetoric of Sicily; and these studies became the patrimony of a city whose inhabitants, about thirty thousand males, condensed, within the period of a single life, the genius of ages and millions. Our sense of the dignity of human nature is exalted by the simple recollection that Isocrates was the companion of Plato and Xenophon ; that he assisted, perhaps with the historian Thucydides, at the first representations of the Edipus of Sophocles and the Iphigenia of Euripides ; and that his pupils Æschines and Demosthenes contended for the crown of patriotism in the presence of Aristotle, the master of Theophrastus, who taught at Athens with the founders of the Stoic and Epicurean sects. The ingenuous youth of Attica enjoyed the benefits of their domestic education, which was communicated without envy to the rival cities. Two thousand disciples heard the lessons of Theophrastus; the schools of rhetoric must have been still more populous than those of philosophy; and a rapid succession of students diffused the fame of their teachers as far as the utmost limits of the Grecian language and name. Those limits were enlarged by the victories of Alexander; the arts of Athens survived her freedom and dominion; and the Greek colonies which the Macedonians planted in Egypt, and scattered over Asia, undertook long and frequent pilgrimages to worship the Muses in their favourite temple on the banks of the Ilissus. The Latin conquerors respectfully listened to the instructions of their subjects and captives; the names of Cicero and Horace were enrolled in the schools of Athens; and after the perfect settlement of the Roman empire, the natives of Italy, of Africa, and of Britain, conversed in the groves of the Academy with their fellowstudents of the East. The studies of philosophy and eloquence are congenial to a popular state, which encourages the freedom of inquiry, and submits only to the force of persuasion. In the republics of Greece and Rome the art of speaking was the powerful engine of patriotism or ambition ; and the schools of rhetoric poured forth a colony of statesmen and legislators. When the liberty of public debate was suppressed, the orator, in the honourable profession of an advocate, might plead the cause of innocence and justice; he might abuse his talents in the more profitable trade of panegyric ; and the same precepts continued to dictate the fanciful declamations of the sophist, and the chaster beauties of historical composition, The systems which professed to unfold the nature of God, of man, and of the universe, entertained the curiosity of the philosophic student; and according to the temper of his mind, he might doubt with the Sceptics, or decide with the Stoics, sublimely speculate with Plato, or severely argue with Aristotle. The pride of the adverse sects had fixed an unattainable term of moral happiness and perfection : but the race was glorious and salutary; the disciples of Zeno, and even those of Epicurus, were taught both to act and to suffer; and the death of Petronius was not less effectual than that of Seneca to humble a tyrant by the discovery of his impotence. The light of science could not indeed be confined within the walls of Athens. Her incomparable writers address themselves to the human race; the living masters emigrated to Italy and Asia; Berytus, in later times, was devoted to the study of the law; astronomy and physic were cultivated in the musæum of Alexandria ; but the Attic schools of rhetoric and philosophy maintained their superior reputation from the Peloponnesian war to the reign of Justinian. Athens, though situate in a barren soil, possessed a pure air, a free navigation, and the monuments of ancient art. That sacred retirement was seldom disturbed by the business of trade or government; and the last of the Athenians were distinguished by their lively wit, the purity of their taste and language, their social manners, and some traces, at least in discourse, of the magnanimity of their fathers. In the suburbs of the city, the Academy of the Platonists, the Lycæum of the Peripatetics, the Portico of the Stoics, and the Garden of the Epicureans, were planted with trees and decorated with statues; and the philosophers, instead of being immured in a cloister, delivered their instructions in spacious and pleasant walks, which, at different hours, were consecrated to the exercises of the mind and body. The genius of the founders still lived in those venerable seats; the ambition of succeeding to the masters of human reason excited a generous emulation ; and the merit of the candidates was determined, on each vacancy, by the free voices of an enlightened people.


The appellation of Great has been often bestowed, and sometimes deserved, but Charlemagne is the only prince in whose favour the title has been indissolubly blended with the name. That name, with the addition of saint, is inserted in the Roman calendar; and the saint, by a rare felicity, is crowned with the praises of the historians and philosophers of an enlightened age. His real merit is doubtless enhanced by the barbarism of the nation and the times from which he emerged : but the apparent magnitude of an object is likewise enlarged by an unequal comparison ; and the ruins of Palmyra derive a casual splendour from the nakedness of the surrounding desert. Without injustice to his fame I may discern some blemishes in the sanctity and greatness of the restorer of the western empire. Of his moral virtues, chastity is not the most conspicuous: but the public happiness could not be materially injured by his nine wives or concubines, the various indulgence of meaner or more transient amours, the multitude of his bastards whom he bestowed on the church, and the long celibacy and licentious manners of his daughters. I shall be scarcely permitted to accuse the ambition of a conqueror ;

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