Imagens da página

» to preserve the life and integrity of my » Damon together. Oppose him, ye winds ! » prevent the eagerness and impatience of » his honourable endeavours ; and suffer him » not to arrive, till, by my death, I have » redeemed a life, a thousand times of more 5) consequence, of more estimation, than » my own; more estimable to his lovely jy wife , to his precious little innocents, to » his friends , to his country. O ! leave me » not to die the worst of deaths in my » Damon. » Dionysius was awed and confounded by the dignity of these sentiments, and by the manner, still more affecting , in which they were uttered. He felt his heart struck by a slight sense of invading truth ; but it served rather to perplex than undeceive him. He hesitated. He would have spoken. But he looked down : and retired in silence.

The fatal day arrived. Pythias was brought; and walked, amidst the guard , with a serious, but satisfied air, to the place of execution. Dionysius was already there. He was exalted on a moving throne drawn by six white horses, and sat pensive and attentive to the demeanour of the prisoner. Pythias came. He vaulted lightly on the scaffold, and, beholding for some time the apparatus of death , he turned , and with a pleasing countenance, thus addressed the assembly. « My prayers are heard. The » gods are propitious. You know, my. » friends , that the winds have been con» trary till yesterday. Damon could not » come; he could not conquer impossibi» lities. He will be here to-morrow ; and » the blood which is shed 10-day, shall » have ransomed the life of my friend. ---» O! could I erase from your bosoms every » doubt, every mean suspicion, of the ho» nour of the man for whom I am about to » suffer, I should go to my death, even as » I could to my bridal. Be it sufficient, in » the mean time, that my friend will be » found noble—that his truth is unimpeach

that he will speedily prove it that he is now on his way, hurrying » on, accusing himself, the adverse ele» ments, and the gods. But I hasten to » prevent his speed. Executioner, do » your office. » As he pronounced the last words, a buzz began to arise among the remotest of the people. A distant voice was heard. The crowd caught the words; and « Stop, stop the execution, » was repeated

» able

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

by the whole assembly. A man came at full speed ; the throng gave way to his approach. He was mounted on a steed of foam. In an instant he was off his horse on the scaffold, and held Pythias straitly embraced. You are safe, he cried, you are « safe, my friend,my beloved friend, the gods » be praised, you are safe!I, now,

have nothing but death to suffer : and I am deli>> vered from the anguish of those reproa» ches, which I gave myself, for having

endangered a life so much dearer than » my own ». Pale, and almost speechless, in the arms of his Damon, Pythias replied, in broken accents, « Fatal haste ! Cruel » impatience!

What envious powers » have wrought impossibilities in your fa» your ! - But I will not be wholly dis» appointed. — Since I cannot die to save , » I will not survive you ».

Dionysius heard , beheld, and considered all with astonishment. His heart was touched ; his eyes were opened, and he could no longer refuse his assent to truths, incontestably proved by facts. He descended from his throne. He ascended the scaffold. « Live , live , ye incomparable pair ! he

exclaimed. Ye have borne unquestionable

[ocr errors]

» testimony to the existence of virtue ! » Live happy ! live renowned ! And, O! » form me by your precepts, as you have » invited me by your example, to be wor» thy of the participation of so sacred a » friendship. »



[ocr errors]

ANDROCLES was the slave of a noble Roman who was Proconsul of Africk. He had been guilty of a fault, for which his master would have put him to death, had not he found an opportunity to escape out of his hands, and fled into the deserts of Numidia. As he was wandering among the barren sands, and almost dead with heat and hunger,

he saw a cave in the side of a rock. He went into it, and finding at the further end of it a place to sit down upon , rested there for some time. At length to his great surprise a huge overgrown Lion entered at the mouth of the cave, and seeing a man at the upper end of it, immediately made towards him. Androcles gave himself for gone; but the Lion , instead of treating him as he expected , laid his paw upon his lap, and with a complaining kind of voice fell a licking his hand. Androcles, after having recovered himself a little from the fright he was in , observed the Lion's paw to be exceedingly swelled by a large thorn that stuck in it. He immediately pullid it out and by squeezing the paw very gently, made a great deal of corrupt matter run out of it, which probably freed the Lion from the great anguish he had felt some time before. , The Lion left him upon receiving this good office from him, and soon after returned with a fawn which he had just killed. This he laid down at the feet of his benefactor , and went off again in pursuit of his prey. Androcles, after having sodden the flesh of it by the sun , subsisted upon it, till the Lion had supplied him with another. He lived many days in this frightful solitude , the Lion catering for him with great assiduity. Being tired at length of this savage society, he was resolved to deliver himself up into his master's hands, and suffer the worst effects of his displeasure, rather than be thus driven out from mankind. His master, as was customary for the Proconsuls of Africk, was at that time getting together

« AnteriorContinuar »