YORK: Printed by C. ETHERINGTON, for the AUTHOR; AND SOLD BY JOHN BELL, Bookseller in the Strand, London; and C. ETHERINGTON, York.



THE following sheets were wrote by a gen­tleman respectable for his knowledge in the useful and ornamental parts of life. The work, in general, inculcates resignation to the will of Heaven, filial reverence, and universal love.



POSSESSED of an ancient family estate, Periander dwelt in a village, exercising those virtues, which render a man happy in him­self, and a blessing to his fellow creatures.

PROVIDENCE had made him the father of an only son, whose excel­lencies at once indulged the warm­est [Page 4]of his parental wishes, and pro­mised to the world a happy succes­sor to Periander, whose grey hairs approached the grave.

THE first vestiges of the Refor­mation had not taken place in this kingdom; yet Periander, from a mind enlarged with learning and benevolence, had embraced certain principles dissenting from the Ro­mish church.

IN the neighbourhood of the vil­lage stood a monastery, the chief of [Page 5]which an ecclesiastic, who, from the contracted habits of his education, had hardened his soul with every severity of superstition. His meagre tall figure, was made lean by a mind of anxiety, and his pale visage and hollow eyes, expressed avarice and envy. He had acquired a bi­gotry of principle, from example rather than judgement; his mona­stic learning not advancing his cha­rity, had furnished him with cen­sures and condemnations; and his aversions were more generally ex­ercised than his compassion.

[Page 6]ARBITRARY in his principles, so was Father Peter arbitrary in his manners. The insolence of the church enflamed his bosom, and zeal for peculiar modes extinguish­ed that essence of religion, universal love. To depart from Father Pe­ter's precepts, was to sin without measure; and, amidst a thousand good actions, and a life of uninter­rupted benevolence, Periander ac­quired the hatred and enmity of the ghostly Father.

[Page 7]FATHER Peter, who, from his holy office, might be conceived to be an imitator of the God whom he served; whose life, being totally ab­stracted from the cares of the world, was sustained in luxury by the hands of the labourer; whose reli­gious zeal offering to the Deity through his ministers, stored the cloister with the tenths of all his fruits; possessed of abundant leisure to indulge his study of the Divinity through all his works; might we not have hoped, that such a man would have armed himself against [Page 8]the powers of satan, and have go­verned the impetuous ardour of human passions, correcting them with true religion: But so far from modulating the sallies of the soul with piety and virtue, wrath and persecution were the weapons which were wielded by his consecrated hands.

THE influence which the reli­gious had over families, their secret intercourse, and the rigorous mode in which they sustained their arbi­trary authority, gave Father Peter [Page 9]many opportunities of instigating mischief on his neighbour. His blind bigotry induced him to think, that, in distressing one who dissented from the church of Rome, he ren­dered essential service to the God of all; through zealous frenzy he de­vised a thousand treacheries, and a thousand snares to oppress and in­jure Periander.

THE Seigniory was Lord Melvil's, where Periander's lands lay; he held them by Knight's service. To this Lord, the treacherous priest address'd [Page 10]himself; and, from a forged instru­ment, alledged to be recorded a­mongst the rolls and legends of the monastery of St Benedict, he indu­ced him to prosecute a claim to the estates of Periander. The secret engines from monastic emissaries were sent abroad; the ignorant, de­luded through their blindness into zeal, were prepared as witnesses to evidence whatever they might be prompted to.

PERIANDER, already enervated with age, his soul untoned, his [Page 11]judgement relaxed, and his mind smoothed into that divine compo­sure, which blesses the good man in his old age, as the harbinger of his dissolution; received these acts of oppression without dread: He con­fided in the God of justice, and smiled at the devices of his enemies: But too late he perceived, that the workers of iniquity were not always corrected by the instant hand of in­terposing Providence. He was at length alarmed with the reality of his danger; his paternal bosom felt apprehensions for his son; his age [Page 12]was disturbed in the midst of its infirmities, and the hand of care grasped at his fainting soul.

PERIANDER did not long sustain the shock, he sunk into the arms of death. With filial devotion, his be­loved son Astianax laid him in the vault amidst his ancestors.

ASTIANAX, called from his travels by his father's approaching fate, an utter stranger to the enmity and stratagems of Father Peter, took possession of his inheritance: The [Page 13]contest still went on. Some little time preceding to the day of trial, Astianax had retired into the gallery of his mansion, to meditate on the posture of his affairs, and to consider of Lord Melvil's claim. As he walked pensive to and fro, on a sudden, behind him, at the further end of the gallery, he heard a clash of armour: Turning hastily, he ob­served the buckler and shield to shake, which once his great ancestor Norban wore; and in which, in Palestine, he testified his valour to the Saracens. He regarded the e­vent [Page 14]as accidental, and on pursued his melancholy walk: Hearing the sound again, he looked up, and perceived the coat of mail to trem­ble on the crooks where it hung, and the gauntlet moved as if it beckoned him. This is no common circumstance, cries he, let me disco­ver the occasion of that trouble in these arms, which, with their own­er, long have been at rest. He as­cended a few steps, and begun to hand the armour, when he distin­guished, within the breast-plate, a light like the fainting rays which [Page 15]glow worms shed within the sha­dowy bower at eventide. Advan­cing further, he discovered, that the beams proceeded from a small onyx cross, which hung concealed by the armour, suspended in a gol­den chain, from the collar. The unexpected acquisition threw him, for a moment, into surprise. Strange it is, thought he, that such a gem should remain for seven ages undis­covered by his forefathers; a gem so rare, that, in its composition, it excelled all he had ever seen. It was, as the onyx stone, shadowy, [Page 16]and round, and variegated; but a­round it was diffused a livid light; on its parts were various engravings, of mysterious or emblematical cha­racters, appearing like the Egyptian devices, representing the attributes of the God of nature. A sudden propensity led Astianax to place the chain upon his neck. Soon as the a­mulet had touched his bosom, from every point of the cross, there fell warm drops of blood; and, with a horrid clangour, the armour shook in every joint! Surprise now changed to fear. Have I, says he, with sacri­legious [Page 17]hands, polluted this fair gem? and is the spirit of the mighty Norban offended at my rashness? Again the armour shook! These un­common appearances encreased his amazement; as, if danger was near, he laid his hand upon his sword, and, looking around, seemed to ex­pect an enemy. His enemy was there! The insatiable ecclesiastic, not being content with the slow pro­gress of the laws, in the oppression of Astianax, and not being appea­sed by the death of the good Pe­riander; but taking advantage of [Page 18]the liberty which these times of bi­gotry afforded to the churchmen, he past through the apartments of the house uninterrupted, and sought the heir of Periander in his retire­ment, to accomplish his infernal pur­poses by his assassination. The bless­ed spirits of those who have left this life, remain our guardian angels; and, till this globe by fire shall be refined into a heaven for men, they hover in the upper atmosphere, where light alone fills the expanse, and ride above the watry vapourous veil which circumvades this planet: [Page 19]There they behold whate'er betides their kindred souls on earth: From whence, descending to our aid, as each emergency advances, far as such refined beings, spirits of hea­venly mould, can move the dull and drowsy senses of our earthly form, they influence our will, or check our wish, or turn our rash resolve; by touch so delicate, that we, amidst the inspiration, know not how or why we pass between our purpose and the event: Their form is also pure, that, to our sight, the spirits riding on the beams of light, escape [Page 20]the sense, like colours, till they pass on mediums which are attuned to the dullness of man's nature; so, when they would conduct us from perils eminent, or to the fair pos­sessions of prosperity, they assume some form terrestrial, to minister to us their more peculiar care.

THE approach of Father Peter, at first, struck Astianax with appre­hension; but, on recollection of his holy office, and of his public name for godliness and rigid virtue, his fear subsided: Yet, not knowing [Page 21]why, he still retained his hand upon his sword. The ghostly father, in his bosom hid the dagger which he brought to shed Astianax's blood. With a solemn look of sanctity, he address'd the youth in language culled from all the store of base hy­pocrisy, first disciplined in dark monastic schools. With seeming tears he spoke of Periander; and, crossing his breast, prayed for his departed spirit. He sighed, and talked of all the ancestry of young Astianax, and called on saints to lead him in the paths of his forefathers. [Page 22]Forth he stretched his hand to bless him; and from his sword the un­suspicious youth was ready to with­draw, to clasp the monk within his bosom, where his soul rebounded with the fervour of his reverence and love to those of whom he spoke. In that instant the armour shook! Alarmed by the repeated sound, Astianax stepped back! The noise had touched the ecclesiastic's ear; and, with emotions not to be ex­pressed, he felt unusual terrors seize his soul! The crucifix upon the bosom of Astianax again let fall fresh [Page 23]tears of blood; and, fixed with ear­nest and involuntary grasp, his hand remained upon his sword. Various passions wandered on his features. The monk long used to look upon the face of those he dealt with, there to discover, from that undeceiving index, the sentiments which agitate the soul, fixed a steady gaze upon the youth, wondering to behold a lustre beam o'er all his aspect, such as zealots fancy to their patron saints. His dark resolves were shaken! Asti­anax, thus upon his guard, rendered the monk's enterprise impracticable. [Page 24]The shaking of the armour was su­pernatural. Conscious evil filled the guilty mind of Father Peter with terrors and self-condemnation. His soul let go its bloody purpose, and, for a moment, relaxed into re­morse; but for a moment only: For the succeeding thought turned on a future time to execute his project.

DURING the short time in which these few ideas moved within the mind of the ecclesiastic, Astianax and he stood motionless and silent; the monk gazing on the youth, and [Page 25]the youth, with eyes uplifted, fixed on the armour. Peter broke silence, and, arming his bosom with the to­kens of the cross, he called upon the sacred name of God to bless and sanctify him; that he might avoid the snares and wiles of those infernal beings which possessed this mansion, and the frenzy'd spirit of Astianax. Amidst this ejaculation, with uplift­ed eyes and hands, he turned to quit the chamber; when, behold, the loosened garment let the weapon pass, and at his feet the naked dag­ger dropt! This was the hour of [Page 26]wonder to Astianax! He scarce gave credit to what he saw; his astonished mind could not form one conjecture, wherefore the good, the pious monk, wore in his bosom this dire instru­ment. Confounded in the event, the monk, in haste, pass'd on, not noticing the matter, but apprehend­ing, that hence the youth would take the alarm, and ever, in his presence, be on his guard.

SOON as Astianax had recollected himself from his surprise, he stooped to take the dagger up; when he [Page 27]beheld the onyx sending forth more brilliant rays, than when he first perceived it on the breast-plate of his ancestor: He drop'd upon his knee, and, holding forth the glowing a­mulet, thus he poured forth his thoughts.

‘MOST glorious relick of my sire great Norban, do I not apprehend thy inestimable value, and thy wonderous qualities! Whilst sus­pended on my bosom, thy virtues can presage the unforeseen ap­proach of danger, and the ad­vancing [Page 28]changes to prosperity. Thy bloody tears foretel that hazard is not far behind, and thy lustre blazeth forth, to proclaim the footsteps of serenity and peace. O ye blessed manes of my depart­ed ancestors, if ye behold the last remains, this single personage of your illustrious blood, with eyes of approbation; and, with angelic love, guard me from pe­rils and the wiles of Satan; be present to my soul in all its reso­lutions; and so inspire me with the love of honour, that I may [Page 29]emulate your glorious deeds, and imitate your virtuous lives; and when my regenerated spirit shall leave this vale of sin and sorrow­fulness, to meet you on the wings of light; may I be esteemed de­serving of your approbation, and adjudged worthy to be enrolled by the recording angel, in the illu­strious table of your genealogy in heaven.’

THE monk retired into his secret cell, and there, instead of devoting his meditations to religious pros­pects, [Page 30]his temporal ambition and rapacious avarice, led him to form new plans for the destruction of Astianax. Lord Melvil was a man, whose early life was dissolute and vicious; every degree of fashionable error was familiar to him; in his lasciviousness, he ruined half his vas­sals; in his ebriety, he mastered the Herculean cup of Alexander; in him, ignorance begat obstinacy; his re­sentment was insatiate; his will was arbitrary; and his whole demeans groaned under his authority. Age and disease had weakened his facul­ties, [Page 31]but left his mind all unreform­ed. The churchmen took possession of his soul: They ingrafted bigotry upon the darkness of his under­standing; wound up the springs of superstition; and, from the horrors of their doctrine, induced his avarice to bend in purchase of salvation. Large endowments had been made, and Father Peter's monastery en­riched with vast donations. The enmity to Periander first gave rise to the prosecuted claim of his e­states. Lord Melvil had devoted it, for a thousand masses more, to the [Page 32]same monastery. The death of Pe­riander removed the object of the ecclesiastic's vengeance; but the ob­ject of his avarice was yet in being. The active spirit of Astianax the heir, and the unbounded love his excellencies gained him, together with his determined purpose, of ap­pealing to the King in person; seem­ed to throw such obstacles to a de­sign which fraud alone supported, that Father Peter's subtlety was con­founded. He was convinced, that Astianax would not be the same su­pine opponent he had met with in [Page 33]Periander: That he would never cease to trace the subject to its source; and that the esteem his vir­tues had procured him, would prompt a thousand friends to aid his suit, and second his appeal before the King; against a Lord whose vio­lence and oppression had long been infamous. He reflected, that the claim sustained itself upon a forgery. That the King, whose youthful soul was not subjected to the bigotries of church dominion, would give but little credit to the dormant legends of a monastery. The world already [Page 34]entertained suspicions of the artifices of ecclesiastics. Their large acqui­sitions had promoted jealousies, and thence their authorities grew dis­tasteful. An apprehension of the discovery of this fraud brought ma­ny terrors. He reflected, that Asti­anax was now the only one remain­ing of his ancient house; and that, without an heir, his lands reverted to the lord. An easier passage this, than what he had devised in the days of Periander. The death of Astianax would accomplish all his purpose. The perpetration com­mitted [Page 35]to his own hands, avoided discovery, and left no accomplice to betray the treachery. With soul inured to sin, he resolved upon the horrid project; but angels interpo­sing held his hands, and frustrated his device.

UNDER these circumstances, see the ecclesiastic in his cell: The re­ligious habit the cloak of hypocrisy cast from his inflamed bosom, where disappointment irritated all his sin­ful disposition. On the table where he rested, stood the image of a suf­fering [Page 36]Deity, suspended on the cross; a rosary, and a book of prayer. The holy gospels lay upon his couch, with wafers, and the hallowed wa­ter-urn o'erwhelm'd. Objects, to other minds, excitive of reverence and adoration; to Father Peter no­thing more than inanimate emblems of his profession. With such atten­dants, who could apprehend that temporalities were all his care, Ra­pine and avarice! Vengeance and blood? Could not such objects touch thy hardened heart, and prompt thee to look inward on thyself? Inured [Page 37]to wickedness, habituated to this cell with these its ornaments, even the representation of an expiring Saviour, even the doctrines of the Son of God, availed not. Undeter­minate he in his gloomy mind, for some time revolved a thousand stra­tagems; and, with his wiles, he wearied out the midnight lamp.

ONE morning Astianax was called, by some peculiar friends, to join the chace. Willing to remove the me­lancholy ideas which had possessed his mind, he accepted the invitation. [Page 38]The boar was roused, was fierce, and made the hunters exercise all their alacrity and skill. Astianax was separated from his friends, one companion left with him in the same thicket, a stranger, who, during the diversion, seemed merely a distant spectator; but, upon nearer ap­proach, appeared a spectator masked. The summer sun was vehement, and, for the freedom of the air, the youth had opened his bosom, where the onyx shone with rays distinguishing some propitious moment was at hand. The stranger still approach­ing, [Page 39]seemed with cautious looks to survey the wood, as if he feared their privacy might be interrupted. He drew near, when, opening his upper garment, and the mask being withdrawn, or vanishing, discovered him to be an ancient Hermit, whose venerable look and gracious coun­tenance bespoke benevolence and virtue. The appearance of such a person gave Astianax some sur­prise; the secrecy of the place, the disguise, the fresh impressions Father Peter had left, all conduced to make him distrust the holy looks of the [Page 40]Hermit, and even to loose his con­fidence in the auspicious omens of the amulet. An expression of anxi­ety sate on his features. From Asti­anax's looks, the sage distinguished his ideas, for he was disciplined in phisiognomy. "Young man," says he, ‘lay aside all apprehension that I design you evil. I am no stran­ger to the reason why my appear­ance troubles your thoughts. The late visit which you received from the principal of the monastery of St Benedict, is well known to me. I knew his enmity to Periander. [Page 41]I knew his projects to dispossess you of your inheritance. I am no stranger to his influence over Lord Melvil. The record with which he arms that infamous per­secutor, is all a forgery. My great esteem of Periander is not lessen­ed in Astianax. I am now a stran­ger to you; some little time will reveal my real character. I have assumed this disguise, to give you such intelligence, and to warn you of the evils which await you. From hence I go to Father Peter; my authority and influence are [Page 42]such with him, that he shall stay the prosecution. But, young man, beware; for ere we meet again, a multitude of perils will beset thee. Arm thy breast with every virtue; cloath thee with patience; trust in Heaven; loose not thy confidence in God, even in the very moments of thy greatest af­flictions. The hand of Providence conducts the events of this life, by ways so mysterious to man, that what we esteem the greatest evils, often prove the passage to prospe­rity and happiness. The monk [Page 43]is possessed of such inveteracy, such unrelenting vengeance, that this frustration of his purpose will stimulate his avarice, will serve him for the projecting of new schemes, and for the lighting up of malice yet more vehement. Prepare for wiles and treacheries, for they will surely tread upon thy heel, and circumvent thee in the most secret, secure, and un­suspected channels. His talent for such business is refined as Sa­tan's, and there my aid is totally impossible. Heaven permits, that [Page 44]the Benedictine shall proceed in his iniquity, till, from the emi­nence, his fall shall become hor­rible. The sins of his house shall rase it to its foundation; and the traces of the habitation shall be ef­faced by the ploughshare. Thou shalt once more see my counte­nance, when peace shall bless thee. Virtue consisteth not in wrestling with the will of fate, but in sus­taining the trials of life with for­titude and resignation; support­ing the mind from falling through lassitude into despair, or from im­patience [Page 45]being severed with rash­ness and headstrong resolution. The Author of every event trieth the heart of man; and, in his own good time, bringeth forth the fruits of virtue and of honour. To await with patience, to sub­mit with resignation, and without complainings, to sustain the evils of mortality with perseverance, and with piety, to stand erect be­fore the frowns of life's adversi­ty, scorning to incline to either hand, either to forlornness, or to impetuosity; but, looking forward [Page 46]with faith, depending on the will of Heaven, is to work out the labours of propriety: For God ordaineth, and his ministers ex­ecute. What ever is, derives its origin from Heaven.’

ASTIANAX listened with reverence and astonishment. The Hermit did not give him liberty to reply: He turned swiftly away, and, skilful in the mazes and intricacies of the thicket, soon was effectually conceal­ed, and clear of all pursuit! The conversation of this reverend per­sonage [Page 47]filled Astianax's mind with thoughtfulness. He admired his wisdom and his precepts, yet feared his prescience. He turned home­ward; and, as he passed along, thus he breathed his thoughts: ‘Whence or what are the evils to betide, I am not able to conjecture. Hence shall this venerable sage's precepts be ever present to my mind. Shame it is, that such a wretch as this Benedictine should cloath him with the cloak of sanctity, and, in his holy function, with hypocrisy, to screen such evil dispositions. [Page 48]Already learning gains a rapid progress in this land: The shades of ignorance are dispersing, as the vapours of the valley mount upon the morning rays, to bring on a serene meridian. The crafts and artifices by which the church have hitherto held the vulgar in bigotry and superstition, (an iron arbitrary reign), are gradually dissipating under the beams of learning; the darkness is stricken, the terrors and the goblins vanish, the authority of Rome wasteth a­way! Such men as Father Peter [Page 49]aid the blessed work of Provi­dence; yet the vices of the eccle­siastics, not only reflect infamy on themselves, but even religion it­self becomes odious through its ministers. Men draw conclusions from appearances. Miracles are no longer the infatuation of this land. These subtleties, when seen through, prejudice a people's minds even against the holiest in­stitutions of the church. When men who minister in sacred of­fice, shew themselves unaffected by the doctrine which they would [Page 50]inculcate, the doctrine suffers in the contempt which betides the teacher. Men cannot be divine, but men may be discreet. The principles of religion breathe the support of liberty; but the church hath subverted them for the pro­motion of captivity and bond­age. The mind, when at large, will pursue the Divinity through every revelation, but strain it too far, or circumscribe it too nar­rowly, and religion is languish­ing in incomprehensibilities, or rushing headlong down the pre­cipice [Page 51]of blind implicit faith. The acceptable services before God, are the workings of under­standing; in other worship, alike the camel and the man bend the prostrated knee. My prophetic mind presages to me many de­gradations of the church. She hath advanced her pride and power with a rapid progress, and prospe­rity hath made her mad. Like an idiot who gazes at the moon, as she ascends the horizon, and from the level straddles to mount her rosy car; the church, intoxicate [Page 52]with greatness, levels to its autho­rity all under heaven, and sees not the distance which intervenes between God's sufferance and his approbation; between his long probations and his judgement. The insolence of priesthood will exist to the last verge; till at length the total dissolution of these mo­nasteries, these convents, these ca­thedrals and colleges, like shackles on the hand of liberty, worn in ages of supine indolence, will be torn off; and all the pompous ac­clamations of a choir of priests, [Page 53]will change for that most accepta­ble service, the sighings of a con­trite heart.’

IN a short time Astianax experi­enced the accomplishment of the Hermit's promise: The suit slept: Tranquillity possessed the bosom of Astianax.

THAT his ancient family might not be extinct, he determined to marry; and, ere it was long, was made happy in the excellencies of Jessalind, the daughter of a gentle­man, [Page 54]who, with his family, for a few months, had visited this land from Normandy. His fortune was but small, but his proper judgement had led him to give a liberal edu­cation to his daughter; whose fine taste had been improved in every degree of learning fashionable in the age. She was skilful in every do­mestic art, and added thereto a per­fection in music and dancing. Her person was amiable, her manners elegant, and her sense refined. These were displayed by an uninterrupted flow of health, pleasantry, and good [Page 55]spirits. Time passed away felicitous and smooth.

AMONGST a few select friends, who sometimes with their visits changed the domestic scene, Poli­dore had gained a great ascendence over the mind of Astianax. He had cultivated in his principles the most punctual sense of honour, and in­spired him with every military fer­vour for defence of that honour by arms. His readiness in rendering services, his alacrity in executing any project which he knew would [Page 56]give pleasure to his friend, his im­partial and disinterested counsels, had made Astianax place in him the utmost confidence and esteem. Whilst those two friends were one day alone in the grove which adjoin­ed to Astianax's mansion, thus Po­lidore addressed him. ‘I am so well known to my friend, that I need not seek to win his confidence, by a rehearsal of my services; or gain his opinion of my veracity, by assertions which would injure our mutual esteem. My regard for Astianax makes me jealous of [Page 57]every injury done to his honour; and it becomes a duty in me to apprize him of every danger which besets him. Be not too much shocked, my friend, by a discovery in which your happi­ness is in imminent peril. Your Jessalind is inconstant!’

AT that expression, Astianax started, shuddered, and grew en­flamed. "Have a care," cries he, ‘these are weapons too accute to sport with.’

[Page 58]POLIDORE shewed a resentful look at this reply. "Can you," says he, ‘dispute my veracity? Then let the rest of the discovery sleep. If you think I injure her, my profession allows you means to satisfy your honour: You know I am a soldier.’

THE experience which Astianax had of Polidore's sincerity, gave him credulity: His thoughts were con­fused, his judgement confounded; and, amidst the distraction of in­jured love, and the shame of such [Page 59]dishonour, he gave way to an im­petuous tide of jealousy and resent­ment. He was greedy of hearing his own calamities and disgrace, and devoured the poisonous and destruc­tive tale with vehemence. Poli­dore, appeased by such apology as Astianax, in his confusion, could utter, was prompted to pursue the horrid history.

‘GRINVIL, your kinsman, who, from his earliest youth, hath been your intimate and bosom friend, 'tis he that injures you. The [Page 60]guilty hour of assignation is at hand. Is it not about the time at which you have often said, in this season of the year, your Jes­salind retires to bathe?’ "It is," replies Astianax, ‘and what of that?’ "This winding walk," says Polidore, ‘will lead us to the bath-house undiscovered. I will attend you to the place, and leave you to be assured of my truth.’ They hastened on: They arrive within sight of the bath: Polidore departed.

[Page 61]WITH arms enfolded, and with down-cast eyes, Astianax stood ru­minating on the tale. The more he revolved in his mind the circum­stances and events attending his hours of married life, the more was he induced to discredit the relation. A wish arose within his beating heart, born from reviving love and kindling hope: But soon that wish was blasted, and jealousy, in his dire realm of chaos, swept away ex­tinguished hope, and swallowed up expiring love; when, with eyes shedding tears of distraction, he be­held [Page 62]the amulet portending woe. In a few moments, as he stood thus concealed in his shady situation, he viewed the lovely Jessalind, without attendant, moving to the bath. The serenity of virtue sate smooth upon her brow; placid innocence be­calm'd her looks, whilst fond feli­city was sporting with insuspicion in dimples on her cheek. Over his whole soul, affection lay bleeding. His eyes, as they dwelt upon the object, swam in tears; whilst the blackness of his mind, in mourning, absorbed the image from the aching [Page 63]optics, and never returned one fair refraction to the seat of love. When nature struggled, to give birth to hope, the amulet, and Po­lidore's known faith, obstructed every passage, but the influx of de­spair.

SHE entered the bath. The sound of several voices struck Asti­anax's ear! His heart was thrown into dreadful convulsions, and all his bosom blazed with resentment. His impatience became unsupport­able, he rushed from his conceal­ment; [Page 64]and, bursting into the anti­chamber of the bath, discovered the disconcerted and alarmed Jessalind, with the treacherous Grinvil! For jealousy, for madness, this was evi­dence sufficient. The emotions of Astianax's breast stifled his words; he only had power left him to call Grinvil to defend himself. Grinvil would have parley'd, but Astianax rushed on. The terrified Jessalind fainted! Sword met with sword, and, in the bosom of Grinvil, the horrid steel was plunged!

[Page 65]SCARCE breathing from his vic­tory, Astianax stepped forward to destroy the fair, the insensible Jes­salind! A dreadful burst of thunder seem'd to make the earth tremble to the centre! Rous'd from the ve­ry grasp of death, Grinvil cast up his hand and eyes; and, faulter­ing, bid him forbear! The attitude, the accents of his dying friend, seem'd to express something irresist­ible! Gasping with rage, Astianax paused, as the lion over his captive stag, when breathless with the chace, to meditate his ravenous repast. [Page 66]Grinvil took possession of this inter­val. ‘If you suspect the virtue of your wife, you are deceived. Our meeting here was accidental. I die content, if I should save her innocence.’ He ceas'd—The blood gushed from his wound in torrents—His speech is gone—His eyes grow dim—He faints—

ASTIANAX, like one who heard the direful voice of an avenging an­gel, denouncing desolation to whole empires, stood fixed in horror! His extended eyes shifted their distract­ed [Page 67]stare from Jessalind to Grin­vil! His trembling hands, stained with the murder of his friend, con­vulsively grasped his reeking sword! Irresolute for suicide; irresolute for flight; too proud to seek for sanc­tuary; not longer able to endure the horrid spectacle, he sought the grove; he sought some hiding place, where he might form a resolution for his conduct. The grove renew­ed his grief. Conscience ceases not to haunt the steps of guilt. The grove, the bath, alike afforded him objects for despair: Too late he [Page 68]proved the want of discretion in Polidore; for, from his well-proved faith, he could never conceive that he was treacherous: Too late he re­collects the pious precepts of the Hermit on the chase: Too late he finds that the abortive claim, so basely instigated by the Benedictine, was now effected; and, as a mur­derer, not only life was forfeited, but his lands escheated to Lord Mel­vil! How dreadful was the prospect of his total desolation? Divested of his property; guilty of innocent blood; a victim due to justice. By [Page 69]one rash act, rushed from the height of human happiness, into the dark­est gulph of woe! Fallen from af­fluence, from the joys of virtuous love, domestic harmony, and heart­felt self-approving rectitude and ho­nour! But yet, to aggravate and crown his misery, the innocent tra­duced Jessalind, widowed, in penury, and at the instant pregnant.

THE first interval of judgement, prompted Astianax to seek the thickest cover of an adjoining forest to conceal him, till the approach of [Page 70]night; as he was assured, in these walks, the alarm would speedily be spread, and his escape frustrated; thence, under the favour of the darkness, he determined to proceed into the mountains, and, at some secure distance, live unknown; till, perchance, a favourable opportunity might present, to gain an advocate for the obtaining royal clemency.

How distracting a scene presented itself to Jessalind, upon her recovery from her swoon: Grinvil weltering in his blood, convulsed, and in the [Page 71]agonies of death! Astianax gone! gone full of condemnations, jealousy and hatred against his innocent and forlorn Jessalind! "Then," cries she, ‘all the remainder of existence is given to despair!’ With lamen­tations and dishevel'd hair, she fled into the avenue, and strained her voice with incessant calls on her be­loved husband! No voice reply'd but plaintive echo, sobbing in the gloomy grove. She flew to her late happy habitation: The domestics, alarmed at her complainings, stood astonished, and melting into tears.

[Page 72]As soon as the dreadful story was related, Grinvil's body was removed by a faithful old servant; and by him carried to a friend, a shepherd, who inhabited a cot, in an adjoining valley; a man well skilled in salutary drugs; and one, who, in his youth, from long services in arms, had ac­quired a wonderous knowledge in the art of surgery: Some faint re­mains of life appearing, he had hopes the wound might not prove mortal.

[Page 73]WHILST these matters were tran­sacting, the rumour spread with ra­pid wing, and soon had reached Lord Melvil's ears; whose officers, like hungry wolves upon the snow­cloath'd Alps, poured down their rude rapacious bands on the estates of the unfortunate Astianax. They beset the mansion house; possess themselves of all; and, with a bru­tality peculiar to their office, com­mand the friendless heart-broken widow'd Jessalind to quit the place. The command admitted no reply; their hardened hearts suffered no [Page 74]compassion; and, whilst her linger­ing steps hung trembling on the threshold which she loved, with sa­vage rage they push her out!

Now all the elements in war seem­ed to have made this habitation the scene of their dire vengeance! Fierce lightnings blazed in the apartments, and rush upon each gallery! Tre­mendous bursts of thunder shook the building to its foundation! As if a torrent poured its waters down the stairs, the noise of vast cascades were heard; and, in the painted [Page 75]gallery, the agitated coat of mail, sounded with the clangour of a mighty combat.

THE wretches who executed Lord Melvil's commission, conjecturing they were beset with evil spirits, fled, and left the place without inhabit­ants.

THE report of these amazing cir­cumstances busy'd the ear of every villager. It reach'd the monastery of St Benedict. The priests, enfla­med with the zeal of their hypocri­sy, [Page 76]rejoiced in the intelligence, e­steeming all these wonders, as the bugbears born of Credulity and Ig­norance: And, apprehending this a fortunate opportunity to execute their exorcisms, and acquire an impi­ous credit with the vulgar, by exer­cising the miraculous privilege of chaining spirits by their religious of­ces; they sought their principal to crave his licence, for their visiting the house of the unfortunate Astianax. Father Peter was then in close confe­rence with one, on business of im­portance, and would not be disturb­ed; [Page 77]well judging, it were best for these rash men, not to brave the wrath of the enchanted armour. At this very instant Father Peter enter­tained a visiter, whose friendship was not to be neglected. The grant of Astianax's escheated lands, already was framing for the records of the monastery: And Polidore was shut up with the monk in his cell, to claim the miserable reward of his inestimable services. Polidore had been gained by avarice and great gratuities, to perpetrate the worst of crimes. The monk, baffled in [Page 78]his former projects, cast his eyes to­wards the soldier, whose love of gain he perceived stood incompa­tible with his sincerity; and that interest could easily subvert his spe­cious principles. He won the soul of this base man, by assurances that certain lands which lay contiguous to his scanty farm, should be grant­ed by the monastery, together with infallible absolution, if he should be the means of Astianax's overthrow. Artful and subtle, he devised the plan; and, at this instant, the trai­tor listened to assurances, that so [Page 79]soon as Lord Melvil sealed the grant, he should receive the rewards of his treachery.

THE malicious monk, resolute in his purpose, had determined to engage this his emissary; for, from his having been many years a mis­sionary in his younger days, he had acquired a competent knowledge of the disposition of a soldier, [...]born in abject life, and bred a mercenary; and, whilst he fixed his project and his plan, thus he meditated on the character of his accomplice.

[Page 80] ‘THIS Polidore he is a soldier, born of the lowest of mankind, unlettered and unprincipled. He has risen through the fatalities of war, and mounted by the scale of death to superiority: He hath been tutor'd in subtleties and craft, purloining other mens opinions, passions, and purposes, to win the way to his promotion. It was his earliest object; his vacant soul re­ceived it for a solitary portion. Thus ambition hath become his only passion. The slaughter of his brother-soldier is his prospe­rity, [Page 81]and his exaltation comes fostered in bloodshed. Thence it is, that affection and compassion never were subjects of his brutal bosom. All true courage is deri­ved from virtue, and honour from integrity; but the soldier's substitutes for these are savage insensibility, and the law of arms. From his youth, his estimates of mankind have been formed from himself; he barters existence for his pay; his blood is hired with the wages: So every attachment, every principle, every price is gi­ven [Page 82]to serve ambition.’ Such is the man in whom Father Pe­ter puts his confidence. Immersed in crimes like these, such a man cannot possess one virtue. Such a man can assassinate his friend.

JESSALIND sought a resting place in an adjoining convent, whose abbess was a distant relation to her husband. Here she determined to remain, until she could hear from her father in Normandy, into whose arms she would throw herself, to [Page 83]spend the remainder of her miser­able days.

THE night which had oversha­dowed Astianax, was heavily beset with clouds, and the young moon soon reach'd the dusky horizon; yet, with unremitting steps, he sought the heath. At length he sat him down, where rugged rocks had formed a little circle, resorted to by goats, who shunned the storms of winter, or sought the shadowy haunt to screen them from the summer-sun. Amidst the dus­ty [Page 84]tracks, some little plots of grass were scattered, inviting to repose; and, down the rifted cliffs, a stream of water trickled through the moss, to tempt the fainting lips with its refreshment. The weary limbs will yield to rest, even amidst the afflic­tions of the mind. The grass, the murmuring breeze, the water-trill, all tempted sleep. Astianax sunk into repose. Ere long, beyond the hills the distant thunders growl'd, and gushing winds bustle through the rocks. The storm advances, and now a horrid peal bursts o'er [Page 85]Astianax's head. Astonished he a­wakes. In terror he cries out, ‘Here rests the miscreant, O Lord: From thee the sinner finds no hiding place: Thy vengeance ever overtakes the guilty.’ The hea­vy clouds were rent; light changing instantaneous with darkness; floods of lightning fill the whole welkin with a blaze; light, too acute for mortal eye, succeeds impenetrable darkness; the loud thunder-claps, which seemed to convulse the world, in their intervals, were followed by a dreary universal silence, in which [Page 86]the very breezes slept. Astianax trembled! The human mind, con­scious of evil, is busy to torment it­self. Guilt dragging on remorse, brings terror his attendant. Astia­nax doubted not the angry arm of Providence wielded the storm, to brand the odious wretch, whose hands were red with the murder of his friend, and whose head was o­verwhelmed with the misery of ha­ving undone a virtuous wife, and beggar'd his progeny even in the womb.

[Page 87]AT length the hurricane subsides, and, ere it was long, the morning dawns; the clouds had gathered up their heavy skirts, and left the ho­rizon tinged with a silver ray, which lighted up the pale grey eye of morn. The distant hills were green to the view, and night's last sha­dow fled adown the valleys, mixing with the blue trimmed vapours. The heavens above were muffled in a shaggy cloak, like ruffled plumes, when the awaking vulture shakes his pinions. At length the fringe of every folding cloud was stained [Page 88]with crimson; the dye improves, till the whole velvet mantle of the rising day, glowed into scarlet, ed­ged with burnished gold; and forth ascends the ruddy orb of light, ex­ulting in the race he now renews. All nature, as if ashamed of being caught within the sluggard arms of sleep, wore blushes. Now the uni­versal silence is subdued: The birds awake the song: The curlew pipes it as he passes on: The plover, on her bustling pinion, sallies round, and the heath cock cackles to his [Page 89]brood, to lead them to the sweet re­past of bilberries luxuriant.

How cheering is the face of morn to innocence! but to Astianax it was increase of woe. The night re­moved, removes his safety. Pent in by rocks, within a narrow space, far from the road of any passengers, save shepherds, he resolved to pass away the day; and when the eve­ning returned, pursue his way into the mountains, where there are mines; and there, amongst these miserable men, who earn a sorry [Page 90]sustenance, by labouring in the bow­els of the earth, he might at once support existence, and conceal him­self, till he could send intelligence to Alfred, the father of his Jessalind, of his situation, that he might move the throne for pardon. Amongst the cliffs, he gathered berries to stay his hunger, from briers, brambles, and the juniper, and drank his drink fresh from the fountain's lip.

As he sate in tears, to pass away the heavy hours of day, the dreary [Page 91]waste surrounding, afforded no pros­pects to amuse the mind; where Na­ture sate in Desolation's weeds, and mourned the long protracted absence of Sylva and her sister Ceres. All around, or hill, or dale, was clad in russet heath; save here and there a barren mountain lifts its rugged brow, a mass of storm-bleach'd cliffs, where vegetation, from the reign of chaos, never smiled; or chance some plots lying on the distant steep, from whence the heath, by lightning burnt, had made a space for grass and pasturage; where shaggy goats [Page 92]were seen to climb, or some few scattered sheep; over which a star­ving shepherd hung, desponding of the providence of Heaven; and scarce believes himself the better brute. Whilst near at hand a hasty brook was seen, as driven on from rock to rock in course confused, pouring its frothy streams precipi­tate; impatient to escape the in­hospitable, the native land: Along whose channel rocks beset with yew, stand mutes to mourn her passage into happier climes. No swallow flitted through the winding way, nor [Page 93]rail consoled her negro race with chearful call: A sad resort for sick­ening goats, a secret dell where they could hide their woe from mortal eye; save a single pair of ravens, who occupied the place, and named it the vale of melancholy; where, to the ear of misery, they told the daily tale of death. Whilst o'er the spacious tract of moor, and down the dreary dale, Astianax's eye wearily wandered, the sun had shot his rays beyond the cloud, and light­ed up the distant hill, where, grief to his soul, at the stretch of sight, he [Page 94]viewed the fair enclosures, and the chearful verdure of a cultivated land, as extending from out the richer valley. The vapours which o'erhang the dale, seeming to blaze with light, as if the God of nature shed a bounteous smile upon the favoured scene.

AFTER some days journey, di­stance secured the wanderer; and now he ventured forth by day. In his wretched journey, accident had brought him to a shepherd's hut, placed in a little vale, surrounded [Page 95]by a chain of mountains; where a few acres, with fresh verdure, pastu­red a cow. The hills descending to the south, abounded with wild thyme, and variegated pansies; where a flock of sheep, with fleeces white as snow, were scattered up and down. The northern hills stood rugged and black, mourning the distant God of day, who only once a year, shot transverse rays across the waste; and look'd askance up­on the seat of barrenness. Through this valley a little stream, with many meandrings, winds its tardy pace, [Page 96]as if it lingered in the scene it loved. Along the margin nodding willows play'd with fond reflection in the silver lake: There hazels mixed with poplars stand, where thrushes whistle on the rural song of sweet retirement. A little plain fronted the hut, where a single thorn had grown for half a century; beneath whose shade, a bench built up of stones and turf, afforded a pleasing resting place. Thick ivy covered the cottage front, and house leek ornamented the thatch. A little plot of garden ground was stocked [Page 97]with roots; where, in one continued range, a multitude of bee-hives stood, and, in the sunshine, sent their buzzing myriads forth to la­bour. At the approach of Astianax, a dog that slumbered in his watch, gave the alarm; and, to his bark­ings echo from the hill, repeats the signal to the distant swain. A grey old man came forth, whose coun­tenance shone with benevolence; as wondering to behold a man in gay apparel wandering there, amidst the mountains, far from any road, a place scarce accessible, and seldom [Page 98]visited by any but shepherds: He, for a while, remained silent, whilst he surveyed Astianax with deep at­tention. He saluted him: Enquired what occasion brought him there, and what those sorrows were which he perceived to hang upon his brow. Astianax returned his gracious looks with tears. "Father," says he, ‘I am unfortunate: My miseries have overwhelmed me: The treachery of men hath made me hate their intercourse: And here I wander, finding greater satisfaction in wastes and wilds, sustaining life [Page 99]with berries and the fountain's brim, than in the crowded hall busy'd with servile cringing dogs, and smelling rank of luxury and riot.’

THE shepherd, from his talk, con­ceived Astianax was disordered in his mind. His compassion prompt­ed him to lend his aid to calm his troubled reason. Charity, with her looks benign, lighted up his coun­tenance; and the Divinity shone forth his presence on his features: Wisdom, with silver-hair'd experi­ence, [Page 100]stood confest o'er all his figure: "Blessed old age," exclaimed the enraptured Astianax, ‘in thee man­kind confess the image which God ordained in the first crea­tion.’

"YOUNG man," interrupts the shepherd, ‘rest here a little. First, I pray thee, recollect, that all the ways of Providence are left un­searchable to human understand­ing; and so blind are we, that of­tentimes those things which we esteem calamities, lead to the [Page 101]birth of our felicity; and what is present evil, is the very passage to our prosperity. Tell me whence are all thy sorrows. I would talk to thee of that all-seeing ever­bounteous God, who, despising not the sighings of a contrite heart, drieth up the tears of men in misery. Perchance I thus, his minister, may lend thee consola­tion.’ Astianax was moved a­new: He recollected the admoni­tions of the Hermit: Conscious that he had neglected his sage precepts, and yielded himself a sacrifice to [Page 102]passion, fresh tears were shed. After some moments of astonishment, that the judgement of each re­verend teacher had admonished him to principles of the like import, and weighing in his thought the tenor of his crimes, as being incapable of consolation; he replies, ‘In vain you talk of that great Being, in whom alone is peace: In vain you ask of my afflictions: My miseries are not to be revealed: The secret, through a thousand vows, is bound in darkness! The recollection will for ever be my [Page 103]torment; madness would attend description! The baseness, the villainies, the treacheries of man­kind, afford a history so horrid, that their permission, in the eye of Heaven, would make even zealots stagger from their religion into infidelity, and blasphemously cry, amidst the darkness, there is no God! My wretchedness hath wrestled with consolation by the way, and the Comforter is passed by. Time once elapsed turneth not his wings. Offended Heaven hath marked me with the seal of [Page 104]fate; from the celestial eye I wan­der forth, like Cain, to hide me from the countenance divine, which I have enflamed with wrath; if, in this world, a place is found where God abideth not. But behold! amidst these horrid wastes, this little paradise is pla­ced, where he communes with shepherds.’

AFTER some little talk, the good old man desired his visiter to take re­freshment, and set before him, milk, with butter, honey, and bread; and, [Page 105]to conclude the mess, in a plain cup of horn, served him with nectar, brewed from the stores the busy bees had yielded. The cheering re­past, afforded gayer spirits. The shepherd, with joy, perceived his guest's countenance much brighten­ed: His benevolent heart exulted, he asks the stranger to enter his hut, where a grave bending matron, the consort of the shepherd's hap­piness, was assiduous in the cleanly offices of her household. From the hills returned the shepherd's two sons; hardy and hale the youths [Page 106]breath'd freshness and health. In gratitude for the bounty of their father, Astianax, from his purse, presented them with each two broad pieces of gold. Wonder struck their countenance; they were astonish'd at the gift; and their hearts were filled with wishes, to render him good offices.

ASTIANAX arose, and bid the shepherd and his family adieu. The old man stay'd him, earnestly de­siring to know, whither he sought to go, or where he hoped to rest? [Page 107]The question could not be resolved. He knew not whither he wandered; but, to the importuning of his host, at length he answered: ‘I seek some place for my retirement, where Innocence and Truth have form­ed their habitation; if they, ere this, are not escap'd to Heaven. I have forsworn the busy world, and seek to form some Hermitage, where I may spend my life in prayer and meditation, by penitence to pur­chase expiation of my crimes. Some Hermitage where few men come, and yet where human [Page 108]steps may tread, that seeing them I may remember what I am; and renewing to my mind the history of mankind, I may daily, to the throne of Heaven, put up pe­titions for mercies on them; to repay evil with good, and close this life of misery and care, in supplications for the pardon of the world.’

"AN Hermitage you seek," replies the shepherd, ‘the Hermitage of Paul Du' Monte, as old tradition goes, was near this place.’

[Page 109]THE name Du' Monte struck Astianax with horror! His own sir­name. He thought he had associa­ted with necromancers. The old man beheld his agitation with sur­prise, and ask'd the cause: But he was replied to with sighs. ‘My sons,’ added the shepherd, ‘shall attend you to the hill, where, sto­ry tells, this ancient Hermit dwelt; a man of holy life, and sage be­yond his race: Of noted birth, near in blood to nobles; yet there he dwelt. The first surprise past over, Astianax, with impatience, [Page 110]desired the young men would ac­company him.’ The task was arduous, but they were ready to testify their gratitude by such their assiduity. ‘Repose yourself with us this night,’ the shepherd said, ‘the spot is distant six hours jour­ney; there I have a few good goats; and, at some seasons, these my sons go near the place, to see how fares my herd. In the morning they shall shew the way; and, that the hours may not seem irksome, I will relate to you the history, as I received it from my grandsire; [Page 111]who, though then of ninety years of age, had heard the tale when young, as a relation of far distant facts.’ With anxious ear Affia­nax attended. The shepherd thus:

‘FROM Normandy the good man came, the youngest son of Lord Du' Monte. Bred to the holy office of a priest; he was a member of the priory of St Au­gustine.’

ASTIANAX was greatly agitated at this prelude. His colour came [Page 112]and fled alternately. The shepherd, observing his confusion, asked him; ‘Wherefore the story moved him? The history of a man, who, cen­turies ago, had hid himself amidst these wilds; and of whom he ap­prehended, Astianax had never heard till then.’ To conceal his thoughts, he replied: ‘The story, in its beginning, reminds me of my father, who, in my youth, would often laugh, and tell of mad Du' Monte. The memory of that father, is sacred to my soul. These sighs a duteous tri­bute [Page 113]to his memory. His parental virtues are indelibly written on my recollection.’

"To the Hermit," continued the shepherd, ‘in reward for his great piety, a visiting angel left the realms of light, to pour upon him gifts most excellent and superna­tural. The gift of healing was his own, and simples gathered from the cliffs and wilds, became from him most salutary medicine. His knowledge in Nature's secrets was extensive; he foretold the [Page 114]seasons and their changes, and saw the dire approach of famine, pestilence, or war. His wisdom afforded him the power of upright judgement; and with the shep­herds he was judge, determining their wrongs and injuries. He taught the rudest men the sense of moral virtues; and the lips of infants breath'd his prayer. The sins and subtleties of the ecclesia­stics of St Augustine's house dis­gusted him: Their avarice and their intrigues were oft his talk; and, when he uttered condemna­tions [Page 115]on their lives, he trembled for the wrath of Heaven, which those most impious men provoked by their hypocrisy. The errors of those learned sinners, defying the enlightened spirit of science, hardily braving a Deity, in whose name they taught deceit, and cloak'd the worst of crimes, so offended the upright soul of Paul Du' Monte, that he sought these barren mountains, there to devote his life to piety and god­ly works. In this solitude he remained for many seasons; at [Page 116]length, age and infirmity had bent his reverend figure; and every day, for long he sate at the en­trance of his cell, as if watchful for his releasing angel, to give his spirit freedom from mortality: And every shepherd often would he ask, if yet no stranger was perceived about the moun­tains, as questing for his habita­tion. At length the visiter ap­peared, with whom he seemed affectionately intimate. One day he summoned to his cell the neighbouring herdsmen, and thus [Page 117]addressed them: That you may declare my words unto your chil­dren, and they to late posterity deli­ver the tradition down, I call you here. You have known me long, and know my truth; this visiter he is my brother. I had foretold his coming, and I knew it was the sig­nal of my mortal dissolution. Scarce yet an hour remains for life. The herds all lov'd the Hermit, and all wept. Forth from his breast he drew a crucifix, and placed it on his brother's neck: Wear this, he cries, beloved Norban.’

[Page 118]AT that name Astianax, like one struck with instantaneous lightning, started, and sunk upon a knee, with hands extended towards the shep­herd, in astonishment, devouring every accent, and each look.

THE old man thought these were the starts and passions of his malady, pitying which, he forbore to pro­ceed. Astianax, yet kneeling, and trembling with impatience, request­ed him to go on. He obeyed. ‘Wear this, beloved Norban, said the Hermit; sword, pestilence, [Page 119]and storms, shall never injure thee, whilst this crucifix shall hang upon thy neck. The jewel of extraordinary nature, no soon­er rested on the bosom of Norban, than forth it shed a blaze of light, too piercing for the herds to gaze upon. This shalt thou wear, continued the Hermit, till a good old age shall lead thee through the tranquil hours, and yield thee to the peaceful sleep of death; but I charge thee, never divulge to any of thy kindred what further I relate. When the hour of thy [Page 120]dissolution comes upon thee, en­join thy son in vows, that with thy armour this gem may hang within the mansion of Du' Monte: There it shall hang for ages, till one of thy good race, whom Heaven appoints to give rest unto my ashes, shall reassume it, and with it all its virtues.’

THE agitation still encreased with­in the bosom of Astianax: He scarce appeared to breathe, for won­der! The shepherd went on. ‘La­ment not for me, said the Her­mit, [Page 121]it is alone the flesh which sleeps: For I shall change this na­ture into spirit, that I may, for seven ages yet to come, become the guardian of my friends: Un­til these bones shall lie with my forefathers in the tomb, my soul shall be a wanderer in the middle regions; thence I shall pass, a me­diating spirit, into the presence of the Divinity, presenting the pe­titions of thy posterity on earth, before his everlasting throne. In that period of time, when my ashes shall rest in the sepulchre of [Page 122]the Du' Montes, thy issue Norban will again reassume their ducal ti­tle, and possess the large demains which Norman William granted to our ancestor, as a reward for his illustrious virtues. Depart, he cry'd, and leave me to my prayer. Indulge this last embrace —a brother's kiss—adieu!’

NORBAN, with the herdsmen, re­tired, and left the cell. Instantly the mountain shook, as if the world was falling into ruin; in the strange convulsion, the rocks, with mighty [Page 123]sounds, were torn asunder; bursting waters loosened from their subterra­neous prisons; tumbling rocks and peals of thunder in the bowels of the earth; made a tremendous uproar! The cell was closed, and, from the cliffs above, a headlong torrent rush­ed, in whose waters the sun beams struck, and shewed a blaze of light, like that protecting sword, which shone at Eden's gate, to guard the sacred pass.

NORBAN, with the spectators, fled in astonishment! Astianax, in silence, [Page 124]listened to the latest accents, which, for some time, seemed to sound up­on his wondering ear. His attitude was motionless, until the shepherd, in compassion to his malady, lent him his arm, and roused him from his depth of thought. With clasp­ing hands, and eyes uplifted, he re­peats: ‘Till one of thy good race, whom Heaven appoints to give rest unto my ashes, shall reassume it, and with it all its virtues.— Most wonderful and most myste­rious sentences! Grant unto me, almighty Lord of Heaven, who [Page 125]seest all the secrets of futurity, the understanding of these dark pre­sages; make me the minister of this great work, and guide me on to bless the spirit of Du' Monte.’

THE good old shepherd smiled, and his two sons laughed out aloud, at these his strange extravagancies. Astianax was not moved at their improprieties.

"GRANT unto me," he cries with an encreasing fervour, ‘grant [Page 126]unto me, O God, the virtuous labour of giving rest unto the bones of Paul Du' Monte within the tomb of his forefathers! Con­scious I am of the imperfection of human judgement! Men are blind in their distinctions between good and evil! The wretchedness which I endured, thy Providence ordain­ed for good, that thence I might be brought into this pious office; and all those evils which betided me, were only means of this thy work destined for me from seven long ages past. As my present [Page 127]duty was concealed in time elap­sed, so are the means accomplish­ing these prophesies unveiled from comprehension; but my breast feels all thy holy inspiration, which pours upon my spirit confidence and intrepidity, and with me is thy mighty arm, before whose power nothing remains impossi­ble.’

HE raised himself, and, on his o­pened bosom hung the onyx, blaz­ing forth a lustre equal to the mid­night moon, when passing clouds [Page 128]give forth her silver rays on the still ocean, as she rolls her chariot wheels o'er her meridian. Amazement struck the cottagers! they were a­shamed of their arrogance, and turn­ed away their face! Astianax con­soled them: His wild appearance carry'd the impressions they had entertained. No wonder the idea of such malady had possessed their minds at his being seen amidst the wildest wastes of Britain, where none but shepherds had, for ages past, been known to visit: But now they looked upon the stranger as a man [Page 129]of God, led forth by Providence's secret hand, on embassy miraculous.

SOON as it was morning, Astianax, with the two young shepherds, pro­ceeded to the hills. The country seemed to have changed its aspect; the young men wandered on be­wildered! Terror came upon them, and they fled! Astianax all the day persevered in his journey up the steeps, led by a winding way which seemed to have been worn by pas­sing goats. At length, fatigued, he sate down beneath the covert of a [Page 130]solitary yew, which hung from off the brink of rocks yet unessay'd; and, night approaching, there he slept! And, as he slept, his mind was touched with images, far di­stant from the thoughts which had employed the day. His friend, the slaughtered Grinvil, seem'd to pass before him, array'd for battle. Lau­rels wreathed a verdant shade over his casque; and, on his sword the image of victory stood graven; the field was gay with spring; and, o'er the flowers, his steed on bounding pasterns, seemed to tread as light as [Page 131]air; and, sporting with the bit, sub­mitted play-fully to his restraint. The dreamer's fluttering heart re­ceived the accents uttered by the shade: ‘Did Astianax but live, did the brave man but know that Grinvil is on earth, and heard him call him to the field of glory, how would his bounding soul leap from the fetters of despair and wretchedness, and glow with the ardour of reviving virtue? bright­er blazing, as the meteor adds to its lustre, by the darkness of the night, from whence it bursts into [Page 132]existence. Then would I restore him to these worthy friends, and save a suicide! They follow me.’ The vision seemed to keep silence. When there succeeded, drest in bri­dal robes, a fair one led reluctant on, whose down-cast countenance was hidden from the dreamer's eye. At distance stood the wedding couch crowded with attendants, and over­spread with roses: The crimson curtain was supported by laughing Cupids, and the blushing Graces played with the bridal girdle. As the bride approach'd the bed, with [Page 133]tear-fill'd eyes, she cast up looks of anguish to the skies, and lifted her resolute arm to plunge a dagger in her bosom, crying out: ‘I never cease to love thee, my Astianax!’ But ere the blow was struck, there rush'd upon her a young stripling, calling himself her son, and shewed the dreamer that it was his Jessalind.

IN a tumult of distress and joy, trembling, yet fevered, the astonish­ed wanderer awaked, when all was past away; and the uprising sun chid his dilatory steps, and gave him [Page 134]back the prospect of rude moun­tains, horrid wastes, and piles of rocks; such as old chaos formed in sportive mood, as monuments of his dreary empire. His amazement en­creased, when he beheld the face of nature changed, and, like his dream, the wonderous work of causes su­pernatural presenting to him images fantastical and wild. The hill was rent, and opened to his eye a wind­ing passage through stupendous rocks, which seemed to prop the azure arch of Heaven. As he passed on, within some little distance, a [Page 135]crystal rill poured its divided streams from high, and trill'd from cliff to cliff around a gaping cavern, which opened its dreary bosom to the view. Led by an impulse irre­sistible, Astianax with virtuous for­titude approached. The onyx shed propitious beams, conducting him through narrow passes to a spacious cell; whose ample roof, incrusted with variety of minerals, reflected to his eye the blaze of gems innu­merable.

[Page 136]AT a table, form'd of porphyry, cut from the solid mass whereon it stood, there sate, in meditative po­sture, the figure of a man, as if preserved by spices and embalming. His long and spreading beard, and graceful locks which hung upon his neck, were white, and shone as silver, as struck by the faint beams of day, which entered some aper­tures in the roof. A shaggy man­tle, the skin of a wild roe, cloathed his shoulders; and his jacket was encircled with a leathern girdle. As he reclined his head upon his hand, [Page 137]one elbow rested on the table; before him lay a book, an extinguished lamp, and rosary; around the cell instruments for astronomy were scat­tered. In a niche formed in the wall by Nature, studded and emboss'd with spar and spangles, representing amethysts, an empty urn was placed, inscribed, ‘The dust of Paul Du' Monte.’

As Astianax approached, the lustre of the onyx seemed to blaze upon the effigy, and every limb was agi­tated. A livid lambent flame sur­rounded [Page 138]all his image, and darted on his eye, like light refracted on the emerald. A voice, as one that spake aloft in air, call'd on Astianax. The voice, the apparition, renewed to him the remembrance of the Her­mit in the wood. Kneeling, he re­plied: ‘Thou hallowed spirit of my ancestor, for such thou surely art, here am I; conducted by the hand of Providence, I come to serve thy will, and see the won­derful accomplishment of thy pre­sagings.’ The vision raised his head, and, with extended arm, seem­ed [Page 139]to demand attention; when a voice was heard to say: ‘Here thou shalt remain, to serve thy God in prayer and meditation, until the time shall be accomplished, which hath been written in the book of fate! To delight thy solitary hours, peruse this book; it will enrich thy mind with science; and, from science true religion is derived: For, as thou advancest in philosophy, the growing ideas will enlarge thy knowledge of the Deity, as his wonderous works and attributes are revealed to thy [Page 140]understanding. On the day in which thou shalt attain the last of these few folios, on that day the will of Heaven shall lead thee hence. When thou departest, carry forth my ashes, and let them rest amidst my ancestors!’

As the last sounds expired, the apparition quivered in each limb; and, as it sunk, Astianax snatched off his cloak, and, spreading it to catch the sacred form, received it as it wasted in a shower of dust. With pious care, he lodged the hallowed [Page 141]remains within the urn; after re­placing which, bending on one knee, thus he poured forth his prayer: ‘Holy spirit of Du' Monte, thy prophetic knowledge hitherto foretold these wonderful events, perceiving, through the course of centuries unborn, this pilgrimage of mine! if thou art not enthron­ed in the realms of Heaven, and far abstracted from all cares for thy posterity, art reigning in the in­effable beatitudes which await thy virtue; but as thou foretold­est, art a mediating spirit, pre­senting [Page 142]to the throne of mercy, mens petitions; O bend thy gra­cious care towards my Jessalind! May some benign spirit save her, and the issue of our love! And, when thy holy self shall pay the adoration undefiled, which spirits only know, before the throne of the Divinity; let thy mediating intercessions breathe in Heaven for these thy kindred! Oh! may she be sustained with some spiritu­al consolation, to reconcile her soul; effacing from her memory, the injuries her rash Lord hath [Page 143]done her virtue; and may she conceive, that all the dire events she hath endured, were works conducing unto good, good not revealed, yet ordained in Heaven; and may her bosom entertain a confidence her Astianax survives.’

HE ceased, and around the grot, innumerable voices, in strains se­raphic, sung an hallelujah! The en­raptured soul of Astianax, amidst the melody, seemed to depart from its imprisonment, and quit its mortal senses; tasting of transports far sur­passing [Page 144]what in human being she had hitherto experienced. In a lit­tle time he became habituated to his cell: Not far distant ran the rill, which fill'd his daily cup; the cliffs afforded berry-bearing shrubs and nuts; the shepherds brought him milk of goats; and, facing the sun, some little fertile plots he fill'd with herbs. The pleasing pages of the book of science occupied the hours, which were spared from his other avocations; and thus he pass'd a life of fair tranquillity. The evening led him to his peaceful couch, where [Page 145]fleep was uninterrupted with images arising from distempered nerves, and with the dawn he wakes.

THE prophecy being by tradition handed down amongst the shep­herds, the coming of Astianax was soon made known. The strange e­vent brought the astonish'd people to the cell, to pay him homage as a man divine, and offer gifts. Their pious hands strewed his couch with skins of goats, and cloathed him with garments, such as their hum­ble life afforded. To them Astianax [Page 146]incessantly was teaching moral du­ties; and, to their maladies, applied the salutary simples which he culti­vated; thus imitating the excellen­cies of his predecessor, and emula­ting all his virtues; and hence, in­spiring the minds of his attendants with reverence and love. The sons of the hospitable shepherd in the vale, from frequent intercourse, ex­periencing the virtues of his soul, as a saint esteemed him. Depending on their fidelity, and recollecting the vision which preceded his ap­proach to this his Hermitage, and [Page 147]which, he apprehended, was design­ed to touch his mind with resigna­tion and consolatory hopes, presa­ging better fate; he often wish'd to send the young men forth, to gain intelligence, whether his Jessalind was yet alive, and what betided the possessions of Du' Monte: But ever, as the wish grew anxious, the lustre of the onyx languished, and weep'd with blood! The dire appearance was succeeded by contrition, for his transgression of the maxims of his hallowed ancestor; and all the ima­ges which hope or expectation paint­ed [Page 148]on his mind, quickly were effaced; and his disturbed spirit left the i­deas of the world he wished for, and from prayer regained his lost sere­nity.

ALREADY were fourteen years elapsed in this abode; the book of wisdom yet remained unfinished, and the latest page of knowledge was far distant.

ONE morning, after his usual ado­ration, the same harmonious voices, which saluted Astianax upon his ar­rival, [Page 149]with the melody of Heaven, sung a Te Deum; and, from the sa­cred urn, there blazed a livid flame, which shed the sweet perfume of eastern spices, when consumed in incense: The gems around the urn reflect the rays, which glowed with beauties like the train of Iris, when she arises with a rosy toe upon the mountain's top, and rides upon the summer shower. The book of know­ledge turned as leaves toss'd by the breeze, and shewed this last most sacred sentence: ‘The essence of all human wisdom is religion; in pros­perity, [Page 150]it guides the giddy spirits to the paths of rectitude; and, in ad­versity, it blesseth us with confi­dence in God.’

ASTIANAX perused the lines; no sooner were they read, than the book closed, and to the table became firmly united, part of the very ada­mant itself. As he sate, his eyes were cast upon the ground, in medi­tation on the wonders to which he had been witness; from whence, he was roused by the voice of one who called him by his name! As he [Page 151]looked up, behold, there stood be­fore him, the apparition of his mur­dered friend, of Grinvil! Guilt fill­ed his breast with horror; in his astonishment he let go the maxims of the book of knowledge, and cried out: ‘Am I then summoned with thee to pass before the judgement­seat? Will not my contrition ex­piate? Are my prayers unheard, and shall not my soul find mercy?’

HE was interrupted by the well­known voice of Grinvil, assuring him, his prayers were heard; that [Page 152]he, yet living, and recovered of his wound, sought for Astianax in this solitude, to restore him to the world. Astianax's amazement was encrea­sed! He scarce believed his senses! After a few moments, recovering himself, he arose to embrace his friend! Grinvil being seated, thus related his story:

‘A FEW days being over, after my removal from the bath, my wounds shewed symptoms flatter­ing with hopes of a recovery; but, as they yet were dangerous, [Page 153]I was not suffered to bestir my­self. I improved daily, till at length my skilful surgeon, gave permission to return to my own house; from whence I sent to make enquiry after Astianax; af­ter Jessalind; after Lord Melvil! No intelligence could be gained of you: It was believed you died a suicide, and all enquiry ceased. Lord Melvil, urged to the pursuit of you, the fugitive, by Father Peter, armed a few domestics, and ranged the forests and the heath, as if he quested wolves: They [Page 154]were benighted; and, seeking shelter under the cliffs, which stand upon the crown of Mount Avaro:’

"OF Mount Avaro," cried Asti­anax: ‘There was I! That was my hiding place! There I sustained a dreadful storm! There the aven­ging elements seemed to pursue the miscreant!’

"SEEKING shelter in that place," continues Grinvil, ‘Lord Melvil, with two more, the chiefs of his [Page 155]domestics, died, branded by light­ning!’

ASTIANAX could not forbear to cry aloud, lifting his hands and eyes to Heaven: ‘How arrogantly blind is sinful man, presuming judge­ment in the darkest of his igno­rance! Surrounded with the ter­rors of the storm, I deemed my­self the mark for the enraged bolts; the wretch whom justice followed, armed with the brands of Heaven: I thought myself ad­judged to misery! when, behold, [Page 156]the very things which I called wretchedness, were given me for blessings! Had morning arose up­on us, I had fallen by the hands of Melvil; but, preordained for mighty works, here in this moun­tain, the will of Heaven was not to be confounded.’

GRINVIL went on: ‘Lord Mel­vil's retinue dispersed, terrified and amazed, fled homewards, and left the bodies to the tempest. Geo­frey, the son and heir of Melvil, took possession of his seigniories. [Page 157]Geofrey, a youth of high deport­ment, and a haughty spirit, con­temning the bigotry and insolence of churchmen, refused to seal the grant of Astianax's escheated lands to the Benedictine monastery, in pursuance of the superstitious fol­ly of his father. Polidore, whose treachery was publicly suspected, he who occasioned all these dire calamities to your ancient house, it was he that named the hour and place, for me to meet him on the fatal day, on a pretended ur­gency of business. I was a stran­ger [Page 158]to the time when the virtuous Jessalind usually resorted thither. The plot was wound up with a soldier's resolution, and the sub­tlety of priests.—You know the rest.’

ASTIANAX weep'd with Grinvil.—

"BUT, as to Polidore," conti­nues Grinvil, ‘he, wretched man, was soon no more: Possessed of Father Peter's secrets, the minister of an abortive plot, the holy Fa­ther, remaining in the power of [Page 159]one whose principles were well known to him, and in whose cha­racter at large, he could only place the momentary confidence for an assassin; he died the death—in the holy wafer it was administered— He departed from the altar full of health; and, ere it was midnight, he gave up the ghost. Receiving of the sacrament in him was sa­crilege: By the vengeance of an offended Deity, or by poison, he was slain.’

[Page 160]"BUT what of Jessalind," cries Astianax?—

"OF her," returns Grinvil, ‘I only heard, that, retiring to the convent where Lucia was Lady Abbess, in a little time, meeting with some disgust, she retired in­to Normandy, where she is living with her father: But whether there is issue of your love, is yet unknown to me. My coming here (continues he) may seem mi­raculous. I apprehended that, if you could escape, you would have [Page 161]fled to Normandy; but the mo­nastic, in Lord Melvil's name, had gained immediate power to search the ports and passengers; thence all probability of that at­tempt was void. Fruitless en­quiries for many years, induced me to believe that thou wert dead; when by accident, as we were hawking in the Melshaw downs, I overtook a shepherd, and his flock, proceeding southward; I ask'd his way, and whence he came; and finding that of late he journeyed from the mountains, [Page 162]in a part of Britain where I had never been, curiosity prompted my enquiries. Amongst a mul­titude of stories such ignorant men relate, of wonders which they have heard, I was struck with his description of Pengerard, and this Hermitage; but much asto­nished, when I heard him relate a wonderful prophecy, which an Hermit, Paul Du' Monte, some centuries ago, published to the peasants: And when he told me these dark sayings were verified, and that the promised one was [Page 163]come; my soul presaged, that hi­ther you had bent your way, and taken your abode: Thence I de­termined to visit the place. My anxiety grew every hour upon me, and I was restless day and night, until I set forward on my journey.’

"AND you, dear friend," replies Astianax, ‘bear a great part in the accomplishment of that ancient prophecy.’

[Page 164]GRINVIL interrupted him, cry­ing, ‘Now haste, my friend, and quit this gloomy cell. The field of honour calls thee to arms: For even now the young Lord Melvil, with his uncles the Lords Selbourn, and Henricks, and a mighty band of great confederates, have ta­ken arms against our Sovereign, and march their rebel troops to­wards the royal residence. This is the season for thee at once to shew thy loyalty and valour, and claim thy usurped inheritance. Some chosen troops arrive from [Page 165]Normandy, perhaps with them comes Alfred, Jessalind's father, to redress the injuries of his family. My attendants wait my coming, about ten miles full west, and with them some spare steeds well train'd to arms. Haste to reassume thy honours.’

THE dream now stood revived upon Astianax's memory, and hope inspired the pleasing images of Jes­salind's return: ‘Were it not for the pious duty,’ cries Astianax, ‘which I owe to the sacred memo­ry [Page 166]of Paul Du' Monte, and to these his hallowed ashes, I would instantly accompany my friend towards the field of honour: But the angelic voice of him depart­ed, left me this indispensable in­junction, When thou goes hence, carry forth my dust, and let it rest amidst my ancestors! First per­mit me to fulfil his last request, committed to me from the regions of spirits.’

GRINVIL was silent.—

[Page 167]AFTER some little preparations, they left the Hermitage, Astianax in his arms bearing the urn; thus journeying until they reached the re­tinue, which waited Grinvil's return. As they pass'd on, towards night they gained a village. Astianax re­tired to the church, and, on the al­tar, placed the sacred urn; then prostrate he poured forth his thanks­giving to that bounteous Providence which had preserved him thus mi­raculously. From hence he retired, leaving the ashes of Paul Du' Monte till morning.

[Page 168]EARLY as day break, Astianax a­gain approached the altar; with re­verence he laid his hands upon the urn, to bear it on his journey; but it was six'd immoveable! Amidst his astonishment, he heard a voice, commanding him to leave the ashes there at rest, till peace was in the land. With pious resignation he o­beyed, and retiring, informed his friend, that he was now at liberty to accompany him to the seat of war. He quitted the Hermit's garb, and, from his beard, which reached his girdle, formed his countenance into [Page 169]the modern cut. Furnished with a suit of armour, he assumed the lance, and strode the managed steed. As they journey'd on, they approach'd the territories of Lord Albon. This Lord had called to arms his vassals and his knights, and was preparing his march to join the royal standard! It was now evening, and Astianax, with his friend, had formed their little camp, upon the brow of an easy eminence, where they over­look'd the vale. They determined to join their forces in the morning [...] and, to that end, sent a messenger [Page 170]to greet Lord Albon, and inform him of their arrival. As Astianax sate in the door of his tent, medi­tating on the bounties of Heaven, and enjoying the delightful prospect, with the freshness of the evening, thus he express'd himself to his friend:

‘WHILST we attend to the works of Nature, we receive innumera­ble testimonies of the benevolence of that great Existence, whose eye superintends, and whose breath pervades the universe. Every [Page 171]landscape is the manifestation of the presence of its all-powerful Author: Every individual object in this scene bears inexpressible beauties, which exceed human imagination, leading us at once to astonishment and adoration: See how the velvet-verdant car­pet, which overspreads the lawn, is embroidered with flowers, and fringed with shrubs, irregularly scattered round: The autumn dresses yonder woods in a variety of colours: The foliage of the shadowy sycamore is gilded, the [Page 172]oak puts on his russet, the holly half conceals her ripened berries with her evergreen, the trem­bling poplar mixes its silvery hue amidst the dusky elms, and, here and there, thro' the thick grove, the white-skin'd birch seems to conceal its nakedness. Amidst the windings of the woods, the river shews its shining lakes, where the glad spirit of the streams, laughs at the dancing myriads of the sun beams. Their fleecy multitudes whiten the extended pasture, browsing around the hil­locks, [Page 173]and with their bleating wake solitary echo from her Silvan grot; all intermixed, the lazy oxen stand sullenly, and recollect the flowery feast, whilst the gay fantastic colts play round their dams, vaulting in airy sport; and to their airy sport, the dams cast looks askance, and neigh maternal cautions to their frantic rounds. On this hand, golden furrows gladden the ascent, and load the reapers arms with wealthy sheafs. The yellow hills stretch out the distant view to yonder heathy [Page 174]mountains, where Barrenness sits sullenly, and frowns on Sloth; and, whilst she eyes her haggard bosom, furrowed over by storms, with extended arms she grasps the cumberous clouds, to veil her desolation. Wilder the aspect on the other hand, which terminates the prospect; the vale extends it­self to such a distance, that, tinged with azure hue, it seems to mix with Heaven; the nearer objects are o'ertop'd in gay perspective with objects still behind. Hamlets and rills, and cottages delightfully [Page 175]dispersed, and mingled with the various teints of trees and streams, of pastures, corn, and fallow. The church spire thrusts its head above the smoak which clouds the town; and there the solemn ruins of a castle nod upon the cliff and precipice, and tremble o'er the brook below, whose frighted Ne­reides hide them in the reeds which wave along the marsh. Oh! thou most splendid object, thou descend­ing orb of light, how wonderful, how delighting! From thy a­bounding glory are shed forth the [Page 176]golden streams which paint the western Heavens: To thy blazing chariot wheel gay vegetation, ever young, and fair fertility, with joys prolific wait: Now the slant ray overstretches all the valley, and there, behind the hill, the beams shoot up aloft, and skirt the pale grey, and the crimson clouds, with rich embroidery: But, whilst we contemplate the beauties of the scene, behold, far east, the horizon stands crouded with as­cending vapours; and thou day-imparting constellation, hastenest [Page 177]thy career, and drives the rosy-footed hours beneath the moun­tains: As objects are withdraw­ing from our view, another sense finds pleasure: The bleating of the sheep, the voice of cattle trudging down the plain, and mourning for the pail, salute my ear; the song of yonder black­bird perch'd upon the thorn, the calling notes of every tenant of the spray; the cooing of the doves that lodge in dusky pines, the rustling gales which wanton with the aspine leaves, the ivy-cover'd [Page 178]sage, who whoots his trembling prayer to deities of darkness, the deep ton'd cadence of the distant water-fall, the voice of busy men who bear the harvest home, the clangour of the smith's laborious hammer from his hovel, the dash­ing of the streams which turn yon mill, the barking of the cottage cur, who waits impatiently the long protracted steps of his dear peasant master, with the solemn sound of curfew bell which dies along the dale, as thus united or intermixed, afford delightful [Page 179]harmony. Through all thy glo­rious works, almighty Lord, the enraptured spirit of the human mind wanders forth, and full of wonder, full of praise, dwells on each object, till in itself enlarged with the pure flame of adoration; through unbounded space it bends inspired imagination, and presents itself prostrate at thy throne, full of humiliation, reverence, and gratitude; paying to thy divine existence, that worship which hu­man language never can express.’

[Page 180]GRINVIL now invites his friend to share a slight repast, and sweet repose concludes the night. The day-spring calls them to their march, and ere it is noon they reach the territories of Lord Albon. A trum­peter salutes the stranger allies; they draw near the castle; a massy pile of building thrown together by va­rious architects, all irregular and confused; towers jostle towers, and battlement rides on battlement; a dark unhallowed aspect hangs upon it. Time had dress'd the walls in sable, and gasping loops and yawn­ing [Page 181]grates, beset the horrid front, and strike it with the characters of savage times, of power uncivilized, of slavery, and arbitrary rule. Here the open gallery conducts to each rude tower, whose walls stand gar­risoned with men of stone to mock the siege. As the strangers approach the gate, the pavement sounds be­neath the horses hoofs, and hollow arches multiply the noise. They cross the draw-bridge of the ditch, and, to the trumpet's summons, the iron studded gates roll rumbling on the massive hinge, and the port­cullis, [Page 182]in its passage, harshly grates as the watchmen heave it up. From a multitude of sluices waters rush, and fill the muddy ditch. On the outward wall, men buckled up in steel, bearing various arms, spears, bills, and battle axes, stand arraign­ed, and archers throng each turret. The noise of busy workmen, with shrill clangour, fitting harness, ar­mour, and arms, is heard on every side! Lord Albon's extensive seig­niories command seven hundred knights, with their esquires and re­tinue, together with twelve hun­dred [Page 183]villains, valient men, renown­ed in arms, which composed the gar­rison. These were the guests he en­tertained. An herald conducted the strangers to Lord Albon, where, with his knights, he sate in council.

THE spacious hall received the concourse most commodiously; situ­ate within the inner court, and shel­tered from an enemy, it wore a dif­ferent aspect to the outworks. The ascent was by an open stair, where ten might move abreast. The walls within were hung with tapestry, [Page 184]where the historian told the atchieve­ments of his Lordship's ancestors. The windows admitted shadowy day, shining through painted glass, where shields and family-coat ar­mour were blazoned. The painted rafters were sustained by gilded ef­figies of Hercules, bending his bear­ing neck. In the gallery stood mu­sicians, on the strangers approach, sounding the salute. Lord Albon sate, and on each side a rank of knights armed cap à pè; behind each of whom stood an esquire bear­ing the shield, stained or engraven [Page 185]with the several devices of their proper arms. Between the ranks Grinvil and Astianax mov'd on, their retinue halting at the foot. These ranks form a gloomy avenue of armour, an arrangement of steel statues, and burnish'd images. As the strangers pass, the lances were bent down by each saluting knight. The agitated plumes toss'd on each helmet's brow, and from the moving joints of every gauntlet and each coat of mail, a harsh and horrid din re-echoed in the hall. They approach Lord Albon, whose noble figure [Page 186]struck each stranger with respectful­ness. His armour polished and black as adamant, was flowered and figu­red with inlaid gold! His cuirass, like the scales of dragons, shone with burnish'd silver; and, round his col­lar, and on every joint, the studs were diamonds! On his helmet plumes of scarlet waved, and, at his thigh, a scimitar suspended in a belt of gold embroidery, blazed with precious stones! He graciously re­ceived the visiters, retained them with their retinue in his corps, and sate them one on each hand to at­tend [Page 187]in council. From his uplifted beaver, Lord Albon shewed a bene­volent countenance, and, from his dark grey eyes, shot forth intelli­gence. The news brought by the scouts and spies related, that the royal army was moving towards the rebels, which shewed that the battle was not far off. After a farewel re­past, it was resolved to march and join the royal standard. The ample board was spread, the seats were placed along the hall, and every of­ficious 'squire unbraced the buckler, and removed the helmet with a din [Page 188]of arms tumultuous and confused; as the sound of hail, when in a ha­sty storm, it falls upon the leafy forest: And now each hero's coun­tenance revealed with gracious smiles; they greet the strangers. The table was encumbered with the mess: With every dainty of this luxurious land the dishes swell'd! The forest and the chace poured forth their stores; the pasture and the streams their stock: The service was in silver, and a thousand dishes stood smoaking with the rich repast! The sun beams glazed upon the [Page 189]arms, and danced upon the splendid feast, which far outshone the pomp of antient Rome. With officious care the board was cleared by mul­titudes of well taught slaves; and straight in porcelain were placed fruits, pastry, and variety of sweet meats, served to the guests with knives and spoons of solid gold! The musicians fill'd the air with mar­tial melody, and, from the flowing cup, the sparkling wines were quaffed. After the feast was ended, they prepare for march, and in some days they join the royal army. [Page 190]Within sight, the rebels lay encamp­ed upon an eminence so near, that, from the outposts, the passing of the watch was heard, the neighing of the steeds, and one confused mur­muring of the voice of busy troops, mixed with the clang of arms. The King commanded in person, and to the royal tent the allies being intro­duced, were stationed in the right wing of the army. No Norman troops were in the field, detained by adverse winds, they had not dis­embarked. Orders were issued for the next day's attack, and all the [Page 191]troops were under arms. A spacious plain laid extended between the ar­mies, hem'd in by hills upon the left, and to the right a deep morass. Each with ditches and high mounds of earth lay in their camp entrench­ed! The mind of brave Astianax, an utter stranger to emotions of fear, employed itself in thoughts divine: Humane compassion for his fellow creatures mov'd his soul: He viewed, with anxious eye, the long extended camp, stretching its storm bleach'd canvass o'er the hill: ‘How many worthy men, whose hearts [Page 192]beat ardently for honour, ere to­morrow's sun shall set, will sleep in death? How many valiant spi­rits, through a wreck of wounds, will pour themselves into eternity? How many widowed eyes must weep? How many orphans groan beneath adversity? Oh! cursed ambition, first introduced by Sa­tan to the souls of men! A simple woman's passion, a passion with which simple woman first conta­minated seduced man! A foolish name for avarice! Unlawful wish for other mens fair honours and [Page 193]possessions! Essence of Lucifer; the contrariety of Heaven; whose hand writes on the world, univer­sal benevolence! What crimes are infolded in thy girdle? What wretchedness is enclosed in thy grasp? The circling zodiac; the belt of Heaven is scarce thy boun­dary! Oh! ambition! in thy il­legitimacy, foster'd by rebellion, whither dost thou stretch thy ra­ven wing, and bend thy boding flight? On whose raven wing not one white plume, or one fic­titious mark of justice shines; but [Page 194]all is sable as the curtain which conceals the damn'd! What ha­vock shall stalk forth amongst man­kind? What horrid slaughter stain thy sullen crest, ere once the sun shall circle us; and, o'er the book of fate, the sorrowing Seraph who enrolls the day, will dip his pen in blood, in massacre, in wrong, in spoil, in desolation? But Pro­vidence permits these errors of mankind, and perhaps permits them in compassion to the dying! For man, in this estate, is on a pilgrimage from birth to death! [Page 195]must pass the ills of life to purge him from those defilements of sin original! sin of the spirit in its primeval state! As the ore is cast into the furnace and reduced to litharge, ere the refiner pours it forth in burnish'd gold! We, with mere mortal sense, view the events of life through mediums deceitful! We call the horrors of pestilence, and the havock of the war, as scourges that are wielded in the hand of some avenging angel— perhaps we err—perhaps they are the mode of clemency profuse, [Page 196]a clemency which calls in thou­sands of men from out their mise­ry; giving short date to their ca­lamities, and leading them into a realm of joy.—Good Lord, thy will be done!’

EARLY as the dawn, the royal ar­my takes the field, and heralds pass, to call the foe to battle. The rebels, waiting for a tardy reinforcement, loiter in their entrenchments; till braved by the left wing, who seize the outward works, and shower their arrows on the foe; impatient [Page 197]in their restraint, receiving unreta­liated wounds, they leap the trench. Lord Melvil, with the confederate chiefs, perceive their rashness, and compelled with their main army to sustain them, the battle becomes general. Astianax, with Grinvil, fought side by side. Astianax's ar­mour turned aside the javelin and arrow; and the proved falchion made no impression on his coat of mail! Grinvil did wonders! His charge was rapid as the lightning, and thought itself could not outstrip his guard! At length, his javelin was [Page 198]shiver'd in the assault, and, to his trusty sword, he yielded all his va­lour! Long he fought, and van­quish'd every oppressing foe! But fate had wrote his doom; and he receiv'd an arrow through the plaits of his cuirass, a slant way shot, which pierced him underneath the arm, and rendered his sword no longer serviceable: He was compelled to retreat; and, meeting Astianax, who slaughtered like a pestilence, and cut his passage through the ranks where­ever he assaulted; he, seeing his friend was wounded, forebore the [Page 199]havock, and retired to guard him to some safer spot, where the sur­geons might withdraw the barb, and dress the wound. His friendly office once accomplished, Astianax flew back to join the battle. Pro­vidence ordained, that he should fill the most momentuous instant! The King, from his rash ardour, rushing too far, became encircled by a troop of choicest foes; sustained only by a few, who, overpowered, were fall­ing round him, had already thought himself a prisoner; when, to the victorious phalanx, Astianax push'd [Page 200]on his steed: He fretted on the bit, and snuff'd the air impatiently, as conscious of the glory he should win. The crucifix upon Astianax's bosom blazed like a passing comet, and be­dim'd the gazers eye! Destruction rode on every side, and gave him passage. The royal arm, the rebel hand had that instant rested; that instant to Astianax's falchion fell the sacrilegious hand, and scorn'd the miserable wretch who had abused its valour! Courage revived within the rallying guard! In the right wing, the cry of victory resounded! [Page 201]The centre pushes on, and joins the King. The rebels, from despair, now fought with madness!

ASTIANAX was foremost in the field for deeds of valour! One com­petitor alone fought for the King, and almost equal'd the hero in his claim for glory! Mounted on a dappled roan, a gallant steed, that toss'd his silver main aloft in air, a young man braved the greatest ter­rors of the war! The red teints on his horse's glossy skin, seem'd like a shower of blood! A crimson plume [Page 202]covered his helmet, and crimson ribbons bound his armour: Amidst the carnage of his sword, he was known only by the name of the Bloody Knight! Where'er the foes rush'd on, and gained upon the roy­al troops, there he attacked! and, when the fury of the despairing re­bels made the battle the most san­guine, then, amidst the ranks, he forced his way, and, meeting with Lord Melvil, braved him to engage; unhors'd him, and, amidst his a­mazed vassals, severed his head from off his body; and bore it by the [Page 203]hair aloft to view! The spectacle dismayed the rebel troops;—they fled!—Whilst he approach'd the King, and made the offering which ensured the peace! The rout was general!

THE King sent forth an herald through his army, commanding the two valiant strangers to attend him in his tent. The Bloody Knight o­beyed the summons; but Astianax had left the field, to visit his friend: Grinvil was still alive, but languish'd in his wound, which then portend­ed [Page 204]inevitable death. He received Astianax, and heard his description of the battle, with a smile. Amidst the circumstances of the fight, the Bloody Knight engaged Astianax's wonder and applause: He dwelt upon his valour with a partial plea­sure: "But," cries he, ‘what most astonishes, is the device he wore upon his shield; he bare a lion ar­gent on a bloody field, supported on a rising golden sun; the coat of the Du' Montes.’—Grinvil in­terrupts: ‘Could this be a son of thine, my friend!’ ‘Oh! flatter­ing [Page 205]thought,’ replies Astianax, ‘but empty and delusive! Had he been my son, he would have quartered Alfred's arms; that strange device, a savage tearing up a pine. But now, my friend, (says Astianax), let me conduct you to the neighbouring town, where you may rest commodious­ly, and have the ablest surgeons in the army to attend your wound. From thence, I will immediately repair to execute the will of Paul Du' Monte; and, when the pi­ous office is accomplished, I will [Page 206]approach the King, and seek, as a reward, the restitution of my lands.’

BEFORE Astianax departed from his friend, Grinvil, apprehensive of the approach of death, thus ad­dress'd him: ‘Oh! Astianax, my friend, my kinsman; if thou feel­est affection for me, remember my dear Livia, my sister. The fates decree a period to thy sorrows: The happy days approach, in which thy toils and sufferings will end. Then think of me. To thy [Page 207]care, I give the beauteous maid. She will inherit all my possessions; and, with that sufficiency, will display the bright, the illustrious excellencies of her soul. For she hath virtues which surpass most of her sex. Then Astianax:’— He paused.—

‘What would my friend require of me?’ cries Astianax.—

‘If thou hast a son, O let her asylum be thy regard.’

[Page 208]AFTER these words, the friends both remained silent. Astianax re­lieved the anxious moment of deep thought, and, clasping his friend's hand, assured him of his protection of the fair Livia: ‘Whatever be my fate,’ adds he, ‘she shall be as a daughter to me.’

GRINVIL returned his friendship with tears, and, on his hand, im­printed kisses. Alas! the last im­printed kisses of his life! These faithful friends embraced, and bid adieu!

[Page 209]ASTIANAX hasted to the village where the sacred ashes of his ances­tor were rested. The King, after publishing a general pardon to the rebels who came in and swore alle­giance, dispersed his army, and re­moved his court to York.

LORD Morton, who was a favour­ite with the King, was of a soul bene­volent, as exalted with science. He rejoiced in rewarding virtue, where­soever he discovered it. The valour of the Bloody Knight had fired his mind with admiration and esteem. [Page 210]He sent to invite him to his tent, and, with a courteousness peculiar to his character, engaged the he­roic youth, with his attendants, to his castle; from whence, after a few days repose, he promised to conduct him to court; there to receive the royal bounty promised by his Ma­jesty after the victory.

LORD Morton was desirous of knowing the quality of this stran­ger, in order that he might council him, what was the fittest request to offer to the throne; as his Majesty [Page 211]had left him to his option, in what manner he should honour him.— Thus he related the circumstances of his life:

‘I AM of Normandy, the grand­son of Alfred, a man of ancient family. By my father's side, I am a lineal descendant of the Duke of Belfort, whose honours and domains were granted by the Norman William, for his valiant services. In a succeeding reign, Lord Alexander giving displeasure to the King, in not coinciding in [Page 212]some pernicious measures, was be­trayed by a servile minister, to gra­tify the royal resentment; was im­peached, and, with his head, lost the vast territories, and the title of his ancestors. Lord Alexander had a younger brother, who pos­sessed an ample fortune, and was owner of an estate and mansion, which, from his family name, was called Du' Monte. This estate descended to my father; but, from the malevolence and avarice of a crafty priest, the principal of the Benedictine monastery; and, [Page 213]from his own youthful impetuo­sity, he entertained a groundless jealousy against my mother; and, seeking revenge for his mistaken wrongs, he slew his kinsman Grin­vil; a man of spotless fame; and with my mother innocent of the alledged crime. Lord Melvil ha­ving the seigniory, seized the lands. My father fled, and died an obscure death. My mother, then pregnant with me, retired into a convent, where a relation was the Abbess. My father's estates were to be granted by Lord Melvil to [Page 214]the monastery of St Benedict, in consequence of a vow extorted from the terrors of his troubled conscience. The principal of the monastery had concerted the hor­rid plot; all the treachery flowed from him; and Lord Melvil's bigotry was to have rewarded the crime. As Providence directed, the grant remained unsealed, when a sudden death took off Lord Mel­vil. The disappointment drove the monk to madness: For many years a raving horror harrowed up his soul; and, in his malady, [Page 215]the most distracting desperation wore down his carcass to the grave. My mother, overwhelmed with her distresses, would have re­mained amongst the nuns, had not my approaching birth obliged her to retire into the arms of Alfred. Soon after her arrival in Norman­dy, I was born. I was named Leo Du' Monte. From my in­fancy, my constant residence has been with my grandfather; till the rumour of this insurrection induced me to take up arms, and seek for honour, under the British [Page 216]standard. My mother would at­tend me, determining, if I should fall in battle, that she would re­tire into a convent. Adverse winds separated the little fleet in which we sailed, with some few Norman troops. My mother, with her attendants, were drove back, whilst the bark in which I sailed, fortunately made land. The hand of Heaven sustained me in the bat­tle; and, from the royal bounty, with Lord Morton's influence, I doubt not but I shall regain the possessions of my father. But, be [Page 217]that as it proves, I think myself fortunate, that justice wielded my sword, and young Lord Melvil fell beneath my arm!’

LORD Morton found himself greatly interested in the young champion's history; and, during the relation, his regard for virtue moved his resolves. At length, they prepare to attend the court: Lord Morton introduced the valiant Leo, having related to the King in his closet, the hero's history. The es­sential services he had rendered the [Page 218]state, together with the intercessions of Lord Morton, for whose great power and good offices, he was not to depart the throne dissatisfied; in­duced the King, of his royal muni­ficence, to restore to Leo Du' Monte, the possessions of his ancestors, and the title of the Duke of Belfort.

WHILST these transactions were passing, Astianax having reach'd the church where the hallowed dust of Paul Du' Monte was deposited. On his knees, before the altar, he re­assumed his pious duty; and, in [Page 219]slow journeyings, bearing the urn, he bent his way over the heights, the nearest passage to the mansion of Du' Monte.

GRINVIL's wound, beyond the power of surgery, proved mortal; and he slept with his ancestors.

ASTIANAX, in his way, passing over mountains, deserts, and dreary wilds; one day, towards evening, found himself embarrassed by a ha­sty river, which shewed no tokens of its being passable, until the flood [Page 220]subsided, which had swelled the stream. He stood upon the banks for some time irresolute whether to pursue the current: The noise of water-falls struck his ear, he follow­ed the sound, and entered into a bay, formed by nature, of stupen­dous rocks. The night drew on. In this secure recess he determined to remain till morning: His ser­vants pitched their tents upon the hill. The novelty of the scene af­forded him delight; the high cliffs under which he sat, were porphyry; the apertures every where were [Page 221]grown with shrubs; and, on the brow, rude oaks extend their old mishapen arms over the bay, and form'd a lofty shade. The con­tinued rocks enclose a spacious am­phitheatre, in some parts, standing erect like massive pillars; in others, shaken and irregular, as rude as na­tive chaos; tremendously suspended o'er their base and threatning in­stantaneous wreck. Here and there the sable yews cling on the cliffs, and, o'er the precipice, the trunks of storm-torn trees hang woven round with ivy, whose fantastic branches [Page 222]play pendulant on every gale. In the centre of this rocky circle, stands, divided from the rest, a mighty pile, bearing the image of some fortress; on either side of which, a foaming torrent, the whole river's flood, falls down precipitate an hundred fa­thom. The sounding waters eddy in the deep and dismal gulph be­low, where, hem'd by many a rug­ged rock, the giddy streams lash, foam, and twist, and bustle on their voyage. The ear astonish'd, admits no other sound, but the uproar of the impetuous water God, who bel­lowed [Page 223]in the lake his hasty laws to the astonished streams. So Vulcan's voice resounded in the noisy forges of the Cyclops.

As night advances forth from the chambers of the east, the moon as­cends, and silvers the light vapour. And now surmounting every shade, rufulgent rides the azure firma­ment. In her fair aspect, meekness seems to reign in regions of tran­quillity: So conscious virtue smiles within a soul serene: Her counte­nance, like fair content, diffuses [Page 224]peace; and her pale rays, as mode­ration shining clear, but cool. No ruffling winds range through the heavy air, but all above is stillness, all below is horrid tumult! Astia­nax here seated, in his mind revolves the various changes of his life, the darkness of futurity, the obscure meaning of the prophecy, the im­probability of his restoration to the honours of his family, at the time when the ashes of Paul Du' Monte should rest in the tomb of his an­cestors.

[Page 225]MEDITATION formed this scene for her abode; and, in this season, she delights to walk abroad under the pale beams of the midnight moon: She fills the recollection with a croud of subjects, and leads a train of young ideas forth, forming their progress from the charts of old ex­perience: Her last result is confi­dence in Heaven: For, when imagination's wandering visions have exhausted fancy, the unde­termined thought comes weary home, and lodges in the haunts of [Page 226]hope, refreshed by holy faith in Pro­vidence; whose paths mysterious lead to paths of peace.

SUCH ideas closed his waking thoughts—he slept—When there a­rose, to his astonished fancy, visions by supernatural creation, presented to his entranced spirit.

ON high sat Justice, in her garb seraphic, suspended on a pale grey cloud: The rays which blazed on her celestial form, glowed in the vapoury couch, and skirted it with [Page 227]silver. Deep in the hollow of the dreary rock sat Malice, like a wolf, enraged by hunger, haunching at the chains which bind her to her cell. With eyes which seem'd to weep the purest crystal, stood Treachery transformed to stone, and petrified with her own tears. Ava­rice stood opposite, a haggard form extending withered arms, and grasp­ing at the air. Beneath their feet, pale Envy shewed her sickly face, and drew along her squalid form, that lengthened out a crawling nauseous serpent. Deep in the hor­rid [Page 228]whirlpool roll'd in torture; Superstition, over whose head the cataract, incessantly poured down its filthy torrent, stained with the blood of martyrs and of massacres, and polluted with the sins of ages. Whilst bending o'er the brink, be­hold Hypocrisy pregnant with mon­sters, who, in their birth, torture and revile the agonizing demon in the lake. The ministers of Justice calling forth eternal night, she spreads her shadowy wing to hide the vision from the eye of Heaven, [Page 229]and, in oblivion's sable mantle, ga­thers them up.

THE morning wakes Astianax with her rosy finger: The sun sur­mounts the horizon: These visions were esteemed, in his interpretation, as the revelation of his concluded sorrows; as his former dream pre­saged the progress of his redemption from the dreary solitude of Mount Pengerard. As down the channel he pursues his way, from the cata­ract a shower of spray is driven round the bay; on which the sun's [Page 230]opposing rays, with lights divisibi­lity, spreads a painted bow upon the waters, which emulates the robe of Iris, when bearing tidings to the earth, of God's benevolence; she comes saluting the new born smiling spring with fertilizing showers. Through this lucid portico he passed, and soon arrived in a cultivated country, where open roads rendered his journey expeditious. His labours drew towards their conclusion. He reach'd the well known valley, where stood the mansion of Du' Monte! Alas! how changed! The [Page 231]Benedictine monastery was laid in ashes; and smoaking ruins alone de­note its situation! Being proved a nursery of the rebellion, by royal mandate laid in destruction, and its possessions confiscated! The woods, the groves, the old patrician oaks, which once had graced the man­sion of his father; and had enjoyed two centuries and more, of far ex­tended wealth and splendour, were no more! The fatal hand of Deso­lation had laid low the long stretch­ed avenue! and one confused ruin mark'd the spot where once the [Page 232]dwelling stood, save one wing a­lone, which had sustain'd the shock of time, and sav'd the gallery where once Astianax was miraculously sa­ved! With tears he viewed the waste! Amongst the ruins, he at­tempts his way! At his approach, the doors which had remained shut up for years, as if shook by tempests, spontaneously gave way! He gains the gallery! Shrouded and con­cealed by dust and ruins, the ar­mour of his ancestor trembled! Thence there seem'd to awake, a slumbering pelican, which sat sup­ported [Page 233]on the casque, and shook its snowy plumes; then stretching forth its fair white wings, as if pre­paring for her flight, on either side the vast extended plumage reach'd, displaying all her ample breast, where every silver feather shone, spotless and burnish'd as the Seraph's heavenly buckler, when he stands array'd in the glowing arms of light; with a mighty sound she took her way aloft, and, as she mounted to the realms of Heaven, a lucid train, such as the sun beams shoot from [Page 234]out the evening cloud, traced her passage to the skies.

ASTIANAX, gazing upon the vi­sion, breathed this short ejaculation: ‘Blessed spirit of the mighty Nor­ban, have the labours of Astianax gained thy approbation? Have these accomplished toils procured thee peace? Is the hour at hand, which shall restore thee to the regions of felicity?’

ASTIANAX summoned the eccle­siastics of the several adjoining [Page 235]houses, to attend him to the church of Saint Paul, their to rest the ashes of his ancestor! The villagers, a mighty concourse, throng around in silent reverence! Through the se­parating ranks of priests, Astianax approach'd the vault, in his arms bearing the urn; behind him, an attendant carried the arms of Nor­ban! The heavy gates which closed the cell, moved stiff! The harsh sounds wind along the wide extend­ed arches! The repository of the ancient family of Du' Montes, was revealed to the spectators; where, [Page 236]for successive centuries, heroes and sages slept! The solemn scene struck every eye with reverence and holy awe! Around stood ranged the cells where the deceased lay deposited, each closed with marble, on which the name and character of every one inter'd, stood graven! Above were placed the effigies and arms; by time and damp, cloathed with a sable veil, in mournful order, pointing out the long successions of the spoil of death. The last, stands Perian­der!

[Page 237]WITH down cast eyes Astianax pass'd on, and, in its proper cell, deposited the remains of Paul Du' Monte, and hung aloft the arms of Norban: Then, bending to the earth, he cries aloud:

‘YE sacred manes of my father, ye spirits of my ancestors, hal­lowed be ye in Heaven! If ye regard the affairs of your posteri­ty, accept this filial duty; and, in your prayers to the Omnipo­tent, for us and our successors, in­tercede! Pray that we, perceiving [Page 238]what is acceptable, may-deviate no more! Pray that we may, in all our days, have present with our hearts, each excellence, and every virtue of our parents; and for our emulation their examples! Let our memory of them be full of gratitude, and full of love! Lively in our recollection, may their tenderness and care for ever live, and be our days one univer­sal scene of filial affection! And thou most mighty God, whose bounties are equal'd only by thine omnipotence, on whose finger sits [Page 239]the stary zodiac as a ring; and by whose mighty arm creation is suspended! Thee to adore, is man's incessant duty, thou great parent of the universe! As our souls are warmed with gratitude and love to our terrestrial parents, thence let our thoughts ascend to thee, replete with holy reverence: Conscious of thine exalted good­ness, thy long sufferings, and in­numerable mercies, extended un­to all mankind: And, whilst we, reviewing all thy divine munifi­cence to man, and measuring our [Page 240]own unworthiness, by thy inesti­mable bounties, may we adore thee a gracious Being, with purest piety and contrite hearts! And, when thou wouldst that we should pray, correct the blindness of our wishes with propriety, and let our petitions become acceptable; and may our supplications, divest­ed of all arrogance, be answered with thy paternal love. Extend unto us, Lord, the gift of grace; sustain us in the hour of mortal woe; and, when this expiring frame shall sink to rest on the ma­ternal [Page 241]lap of earth; grant that, through the propitiation of thy son, we may become partakers in the enjoyment of that ineffable beati­tude, which awaits those whom thou approvest.’

THEN, raising himself from off the earth, he cries: ‘Heaven's will be done.’ Straight was heard celestial melody which fill'd the air; the voices of a multitude of chaun­ters singing to the harp, and pro­nouncing: ‘Praised be thy name, O Lord, for all thy mercies shewn to man on earth, of whom thou [Page 242]takest such abundant care, and un­to angels designs to equal them.’

AMIDST the hallelujah, and the chorus, Astianax lifted up his face, and, to the strain, accompanied his voice. Forth from the urn a livid lambent flame arose, which shot its quivering point aloft, and fill'd the vault with fragrance. On the breast of Astianax, the onyx spread a blaze of light, such as surrounded the heavenly form of Gabriel, when sped to earth on errands of divine import, to patriarchs of old.

[Page 243]OVER the urn two cherubs, with their lucid pinions, hovered; and, catching the ascending flame, wafted it to Heaven: Whilst all a­bove, the choir of aereal voices, with the sounds of many trumpets, sung his requiem.

AT the opening of the vault, there appeared a youth of noble port, in rich apparel, with a croud of gay attendants. Silent, and in astonish­ment, he stood, with projected fi­gure and extended hands, now ga­zing on Astianax, then on the urn, [Page 244]devouring every sentence! The vul­gar, all behind, trembling at these miraculous events, stood mute in reverence! The youth never yet presumed to express his wish of knowing the cause of what he saw; neither could he bear to look intent upon Astianax, who seem'd of a celestial form—a minister of light!

As Astianax, with the ecclesiastics, departed the vault, he observed a person entering the church, attended by a mighty croud of men, in whose countenances sat festivity and joy. [Page 245]The aereal melody, as if suspended on the breeze, gradually departed, and the distant and decreasing sounds, slowly died upon the ear.

ON nearer approach, Lord Albon, who led the jocund band, recollected Astianax to be the knight who had accompanied him to the war; and Astianax immediately knew his no­ble host. They approach to salute each other: The rays of the onyx confounded Lord Albon; they were too radiant for his eye to gaze on! He stopt—He thought he saw the [Page 246]spirit of his friend, deck'd in ange­lic lustre! But Astianax relieved his confusion; and cries out: ‘My noble Lord, this meeting affords me in­finite delight. My pilgrimage is ended: My vow is fulfiled: Be­hold, I have borne the ashes of the Hermit, Paul Du' Monte, to this their resting place! And, my Lord, the will of Providence sends forth unhop'd for circumstances to aid the completion of the prophecy. Hence, departing, I shall approach the throne, and crave from royal bounty, the restoration of my lost [Page 247]possessions: To aid which pur­pose, I beg your Lordship's inte­rest and intercession.’

THEY salute the stranger youth; the stranger youth returns the bow; and was about to inquire in whose presence it was he stood; but thus Lord Albon interrupts:—

‘AND you, my valiant knight, (says he, to Astianax), from whose puissant sword such havock fell; such noble deeds of arms! You came, as sent by Heaven, on this [Page 248]illustrious day, at once, to finish all your pious labours; and grace my nuptials! For this day I shall espouse a captive, taken after the battle, of whom I grew enamour­ed. I took her from a band of ruffians, who guarded her, and a train of impious ecclesiastics, by whom she was accompanied; bearing the shrine and relicks of St Benedict, in supplications for their Sovereign's overthrow! She would conceal her real character; and says, that in the perils of the day, as she advanced towards the [Page 249]field of battle, to secure herself from a band of plundering rebels, she sought refuge with the monks! From the humour of the female mind, which human wisdom ne­ver could decypher, no other place must witness to our vows but this! To female will, con­tention is ridiculous, as blows bent on the wind! Hither I con­duct her, to experience better fortune, and partake of all my honours! See, as I speak, she comes!’

[Page 250]AT that instant, a troop of ladies entered; as they advanced, Astianax thought he recollected her, who, hand in hand, came with the person dressed in bridal robes! A young maid of excellent beauty! As near­er they approach, he perceived she was the fair Livia, the sister of his departed friend! The dying petition of Grinvil renewed upon his memo­ry! He recollected, that unsearch­able are the secret paths thro' which Providence brings on the decrees of Heaven; and he already apprehend­ed, [Page 251]it was the will of fates, that he should make this maid his wife!

THE procession now approaches to the altar, before them, virgins scat­tered flowers; and, in the train, soft voices sung the bridal song, at­tuned to the lute! The bride, with downcast eyes, appear'd abashed; and, shedding tears, endeavoured to conceal her disconcerted looks; nor raised one glance towards her Lord, who stood exulting in the happy moment! And, in whose breast the rapid tides of joy beat to his bound­ing [Page 252]heart!—The officiating priest advanced.

THE bride, with collected reso­lution, at length looks up. Her looks struck on Astianax, the lustre of whose amulet had reach'd her eye! She started! stretch'd her arms to catch assistance! shriek'd and fell! And, as she fell, from her fair hand there drop'd a dagger, which she had concealed, to prevent the odi­ous espousal! Odious, as contrary to inclination!

[Page 253]THE congregation were filled with astonishment! Lord Albon trembled! All but Astianax, and the young stranger, were struck with horror! They, as being actuated by one mind, at the same instant, rushed forward; and, stretching forth their arms, sustained her in her swoon! Kneeling, they raised her returning spirits, opened her quivering eyes! The young stranger, with Astianax's voice uniting, mix'd the varied ex­clamation of "O! save my mother!" "Oh! save my Jessalind! my wife!"

[Page 254]AT these words, her alarmed spi­rits brought back her agitated sen­ses! She looks on one, and then upon the other: The silence of an instant is interrupted by her voice, repeating: ‘My husband! and my son! My Astianax! and my Leo! Are we in the regions of death? or are we still on earth? Astonish­ment! yet an astonishment of heavenly import.’

LORD Albon thought himself abu­sed, and called to his attendants for his sword: "Here are tricks," cries [Page 255]he, ‘and subtleties, and holy frauds, which interpose between me and my purpose, and would deprive me of my bridal joys. This pi­ous knave, who, in his treachery, usurps a husband's title, shall be the first to feel my indignation! Here, my sword! Vassals, my sword!’ He grasp'd Astianax by the collar!

THE instant he laid his hands up­on him, a dreadful clap of thunder burst above their heads! The air was red with lightning! The church [Page 256]rock'd on its pillars: ‘Demons, I defy you,’ cries the enraged Lord: ‘All, all the tricks of this magician! all his sorceries!’

THE surprise and terror again threw Jessalind into great emotions. She fell upon the bosom of the young stranger, and wept! The youth stretched forth his hand, entreating Lord Albon to suspend his anger, until these wonderful circumstances were explained; assuring him, that the intended bride was his mother; and craving her to decypher the remaining mysteries.

[Page 257]THE explanation soon was given. Lord Albon's rage subsided: He was convinced this was more than artifice; and, correcting impassion­ed wishes with propriety of judge­ment, his excellencies of soul were renewed in all their benevolence and honour. He join'd the hands of Astianax and Jessalind!

THE youth kneeling, implanted kisses on the hands united: ‘Fa­ther,’ cries he, ‘bless me with your pardon; ignorant that you still lived, I have abused the boun­ty of the throne; I have usurp'd [Page 258]the name of Belfort! This ducal title, these estates, these honours, they appertain to you; and at your feet I here resign them! I will immediately present my pe­tition to the crown, for their re­moval.’

ASTIANAX raising him, clasp'd him to his enraptured bosom: "En­joy thy honours, worthy youth!" cries he, ‘Enjoy the rewards of thy valour, and thy virtue! The mansion of Du' Monte, and these demains, are all I ever wish'd for, or will possess.’

[Page 259]JESSALIND relieved her son from Astianax's embrace; and, on her neck, received his tears of tran­sport!

THE general confusion stood be­calm'd in general astonishment and joy!

LORD Albon thus addressed them: ‘Above the selfish sentiments of partiality for my own happiness, sincere joy fills all my soul for your restored felicity, and your rewarded merit. And you, Lord [Page 260]Belfort, full of valour, and warm with principles of honour; go on and scorn the little gains of self­enjoyment, when an emulation of the God, whose image it is you wear, prompts to the exercise of virtues, in the field of life. For in virtue only true nobility con­sists, and self approving conscience calls it happiness.’


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