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their fated horses upon spears rivetted in stone. Doracles was taken prisoner. The queen, re-issuing from her tent, crowned with laurel, came riding down the eminence, and remained at the foot with her generals, while the prisoners were taken by. Her pale façe kept as royal a countenance of composed pity as she could manage, while the commoner rebels passed along, aching with their wounded arms fastened behind, and shaking back their bloody and blinding locks for want of a hand to part them. But the blood mounted to her cheeks, when the proud and handsome Doracles, whom she now saw for the first time, blushed deeply as he cast a glance at his female conqueror, and then stepped haughtily along, handling his gilded chains as if they were an indifferent ornament. “I have conquered him," thought she : “ it is a heavy blow to so proud a head; and as he looks not unamiable, it might be politic as well as courteous and kind in me to turn his submission into a more willing one. Alas! pity was helping admiration to a kinder set of offices, than the generous-hearted queen sus. pected. The captive went to his prison, a conqueror after all; for Daphles loved him.
The second night, after having exhibited in her manners a strange mixture of joy and seriousness, and signified to her counsellors her intention of setting the prisoner free, she released him with her own hands. Many a step did she hesitate as she went down the stairs; and when she came to the door, she shed a full, but soft, and as it seemed to her a wilful and refreshing flood of tears, humbling herself for her approaching task. When she had entered, she blushed deeply, and then turning as pale, stood for a minute silent and without motion. She then said, “Thy queen, Doracles, has come to shew thee how kindly she can treat a great and gallant subject, who did not know her;" and with these words, and almost before she was aware, the prisoner was released, and preparing to go. He appeared surprised, but not off his guard, nor in any temper to be over-grateful. “Name," said he,“ O queen, the conditions on which I depart, and they will be faithfully kept.” Daphles moved her lips, but they spoke not.
She waved her head and hand with a deadly smile, as if freeing him from all conditions; and he was turning to go, when she fell senseless on the floor. The haughty warrior raised her with more impatience than good will, He could guess at love in a woman; but he had but a mean opinion both of it and her sex; and the deadly struggle in the heart of Daphles did not help him to distinguish the romantic passion, which had induced her to put all her past and virgin notions of love into his person, from the commonest liking that might flatter his soldierly vanity.
The queen, on awaking from her swoon, found herself compelled, in very justice to the intensity of a true passion, to explain how pity had brought it upon her. " I might ask it," said she," Doracles, in return;" and here she resumed something of her queen-like dignity; “ but I feel that my modesty will be sufficiently saved by the name of your wife: and a substantial throne, with a return that shall nothing perplex or interfere with thee, I do now accordingly offer thee, not
as the condition of thy freedom, but as a diversion of men's eyes and thoughts from what they will think ill in me, if they find me rejected.” And in getting out that hard word, her voice faultered a little, and her eyes filled with tears.
Doracles, with the best grace his lately defeated spirit could assume, spoke in willing terms of accepting her offer. They left the prison; and his full pardon having been proclaimed, the courtiers, with feasts and entertainments, vied who should seem best to approve their mistress's choice ; for so they were quick to understand it. The late captive, who was really as graceful and accomplished as a proud spirit would let him be, received and returned all their attention in princely sort; and Daphles was beginning to hope that he might turn a glad eye upon her some day, when news was brought her that he had gone from court, nobody knew whither. The next intelligence was too certain. He had passed the frontiers, and was leaguing with her enemies for another struggle.
From that day, gladness, though not kindness, went out of the face of Daphles. She wrote him a letter, without a word of reproach in it, enough to bring back the remotest heart that had the least spark of sympathy; but he only answered it in a spirit, which shewed that he regarded the deepest love but as a wonton trifle. That letter touched her kind wits. She had had a paper drawn up, leaving him her throne in case she should die; but some of her ministers, availing themselves of her enfeebled spirit, had summoned a meeting of the nobles, at which she was to preside in the dress she wore on the day of victory; the sight of which, it was thought, with the arguments which they meant to use, would prevail upon the assembly to urge her to a revocation of the bequest. Her women dressed her, while she was almost unconscious of what they were doing, for she had now began to fade quickly, body as well as mind. They put on her the white garments edged with silver waves, in remembrance of the stream of Inachus, the founder of the Argive monarchy; the spear was brought out, to be stuck by the side of the throne, instead of the sceptre; and their hands prepared to put the same laurel on her head, which bound it's healthy white temples, when she sat on horseback, and saw the prisoner go by. But at sight of it's twisted and withered green, she took it in her hand; and looking about her in her chair with an air of momentary recollection, began picking it, and letting the leaves fall upon the floor. She went on thus, leaf after leaf, looking vacantly downwards; and when she had stripped the circle half round, she leaned her cheek against the side of her sick chair; and shutting her eyes quietly, so died.
The envoys from Argos went to the court of Calydon, where Doracles then was; and bringing him the diadem upon a black cushion, informed him at once of the death of the queen, and her nomination of him to the throne. He shewed little more than a ceremonious gravity at the former news; but could ill contain his joy at the latter, and set off instantly to take possession. Among the other nobles who feasted him, was one who, having been the particular companion of the late
king, had' become like a second father to his unhappy daughter. The new prince observing the melancholy which he scarcely affected to repress, and seeing him look up occasionally at a picture which had a veil over it, asked him what the picture was that seemed to disturb him so, and why it was veiled. “ If it be the portrait of the late king," said Doracles, - pray think me worthy of doing honour to it, for he was a noble prince. Unveil it, pray. I insist upon it
. What? Am I not worthy to look upon my predecessors, Phorbas?”. And at these words, he frowned impatiently. Phorbas, with a trembling hand, but not for want of courage, withdrew the black covering; and the portrait of Daphles, in all her youth and beauty, flashed upon the eyes of Doracles. It was not a melancholy face. It was drawn before misfortune had touched it, and sparkled with a blooming beauty, in which animal spirits and good-nature contended for predominance. Doracles paused, and seemed struck. "The possessor of that face," said he, inquiringly, " could never have been so sorrowful, as I have heard?”. • Pardon me, Sir," answered Phorbas; “ I was as another father to her, and knew all." “It cannot be,” returned the prince. The old man begged his other guests to withdraw a while, and then told Doracles how many fond and despairing things the queen had said of him, both before her wits began to fail
, and after." Her wits to fail?” murmured the king: “I have known what it is to feel almost a mad impatience of the will; but I knew not that these - - gentle creatures, women, could so feel for such a trifle.. Phorbas brought out the laurel-crown, and told him how it was that the half of it became bare. The impatient blood of Doracles mounted, but not in anger, to his face; and breaking up the party, he requested that the picture might be removed to his own chamber, promising to return it.
A whole year however did he keep it; and as he had no foreign enemies to occupy his time, nor was disposed to enter into the common sports of peace, it was understood that he spent the greatest part of his time, when he was not in council, in the room where the picture hung. In truth, the image of the once smiling Daphles haunted him wherever he went; and to ease himself of the yearning of wishing her alive again and seeing her face, he was in the habit of being with it as much as possible. His self-will turned upon him, even in that gentle shape. Millions of times did he wish back the loving author of his fortunes, whom he had treated with so clownish an ingratitude; and millions of times did the sense of the impotence of his wish run up in red hurry to his cheeks, and help to pull them into a gaunt melancholy. But this is not a repaying sorrow to dwell upon. He was one day, after being in vain expected at council, found lying madly on the floor of the room, dead. He had torn the portrait from the wall. His dagger was in his heart; and his cheek lay upon that blooming and smiling face, which had it been living, would never have looked so at being revenged.
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No. XV.-WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 19th, 1820.
SPIRIT OF THE ANCIENT MYTHOLOGY. From having a different creed of our own, and always encountering the heathen mythology in a poetical and fabulous shape, we are apt to have a false idea of the religious feeling of the ancients.
We are in the habit of supposing, whatever we allow when we come to reason upon the point, that they regarded their fables in the same poetical light as ourselves; that they could not possibly put faith in Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto; in the sacrifice of innocent turtle doves, the libation of wine, and the notions about Tartarus and Ixion.
Undoubtedly there were multitudes of free thinkers in the ancient world. Most of the Greek poets and philosophers appear to have differed with the literal notions of the many.* A system of refined theism is understood to have been taught to the initiated in the celebrated Mysteries. The doctrines of Epicurus were so prevalent in the most intellectual age of Rome, that Lucretius wrote a poem upon them, in which he treats their founder as a divinity; and Virgil, in a wellknown passage of the Georgics; “ Felix qui potuit,” &c. exalts either Epicurus or Lucretius as a blessed being, who put hell and terror under his feet. A sickly temperament appears to have made him wish, rather than be able, to carry his own scepticism so far: yet he insinuates his disbelief in Tartarus in the sixth book of his epic poem, where Æneas and the Sybil, after the description of the lower world, go out through the ivory gate, which was the passage of false visions.t Cæsar, according to a speech of his in Sallust, derided the same notions in open Senate; and Cicero, in other parts of his writings, as well as in a public pleading, speaks of them as fables and impertinence, ineptiis ac fabulis."
* It is remarkable that Æschylus and Euripides, the two dramatists whose faith in the national religion was most doubted, are said to have met with strange and violent deaths.-The latter was torn to pieces by dogs, and the former killel by a tortoise which an eagle let fall upon his bald head in mistuke for a stone. These exits from the scene look very like the retributive death-beds which the bigots of all religions are so fond of ascribing to one another.
F Did Dante forget this, when he took Virgil for his guide through the Inferno? But however this plain-dealing may look on the part of the men of letters, there is reason to believe that even in those times, the people in general were strong upon points of faith. The extension of ihe Greek philosophy may have insensibly rendered them familiar with latitudes of interpretation on the part of others. They would not think it impious in Cicero and Cato to have notions of the Supreme Being more consistent with the elevation of their minds. But for themselves, they adhered, from habit, to the literal creed of their ancestors, as the Greek populace had done before them. The jealous enemies of Socrates contrived to have him put to death on a charge of irreverence for the gods. A frolic of the libertine Alcibiades, which to say the least of it, was in very bad taste,—the defacing the statutes of Mercury,
-was followed with important consequences. The history of Socrates had the effect, in after times, at least in the ancient world, of saving philosophical speculators from the vindictive egotism of opinion. But even in the days of Augustus, Ovid wrote a popular work full of mythological fables; and Virgil himself, whose creed perhaps only rejected what was unkindly, gave the hero of his intended popular epic, the particular appellation of Pious. That Augustus should pique himself on the same attribute, proves little; for he was a cold blooded man of the world, and could play the hypocrite for the worst and most despotic purposes. Did he now and then lecture his poetical friends upon this point, respecting their own appearances with the world? There is a curious ode of Horace (Book 1. Od. 34.) in which he says that he finds himself compelled to give up his sceptical notions, and to attend more to public worship, because it had thundered one day when the sky was cloudless. The critics are divided in their opinion of his object in this ode. Some think him in earnest, others in jest. It is the only thing of the sort in his works; and is, at all events, of an equivocal character that would serve his purpose on either side of the question.
The opiņions of the ancients upon religion may be divided into three general classes. The great multitude believed any thing; the very few disbelieved every thing; the philosophers and poets entertained a refined natural religion, which while it pronounced upon nothing, rejected what was evidently unworthy of the spirit of the creation, and regarded the popular deities as personifications of its various workings. All these classes had their extravagances, in proportion to their ignorance, or viciousness, or metaphysical perplexity. The multitude, whose notions were founded on ignorance, habit, and fear, admitted many absurd and some cruel imaginations. The mere man of the world measured every thing by his own vain and petty standard, and thought the whole goods of the universe a scramble for the cunning and hypocritical. The over-refining followers of Plato, endeavouring to pierce into the nature of things by the mere effort of the will, arrived at conclusions visible to none but their own yearning and impatient eyes; and lost themselves in the ethereal dogmatisms of Plotinus and Porphyry.
The greatest pleasure arising to a modern imagination from the