« ElőzőTovább »
bim to pay (1) particular attention to what Voltaire was about to read. The author came, and read his poem with great emphasis, in hopes of obtaining the king's warm approbation. But, to his great astonishment, the monarch seemed perfectly indifferent all the time he was reading. When the poem was finished , Voltaire asked his majesty's opinion of it, and received for answer that of late the king observed M. de Voltaire fathered (2) the works of others, and gave them out as his own; that this was the case in the present instance, and therefore he could not but (3) feel greatly displeased at the deception (4) put upon him. The Frenchman was astonished, complained how grievously he was abused (5), and declared himself incapable of such baseness. » said the king,
we will put the matter to the proof. On this he called the gentleman forward, and desired him to repeat the verses of which M. de Voltaire pretended to be the author. The Englishman, after a little pause, with great composure (6) went through (7) the whole poem, without missing a single word.
said the king , are you not obliged to confess that my accusation is just?”
Heavens! exclaimed the poet,“ what have I done
(1) Les Anglais disent pay attention, et jamais make attention, faire attention.
(2) To-father, adopter, s'attribuer.
to deserve this wrong? Here must be (1) sorcery employed, to rob me of my reputation, and to drive (2) me to despair.” The king laughed heartily, on seeing the poet in such a rage; and having sufficiently sported (3) with his passion (4), he told Voltaire of the artifice which had been employed; and liberally (8) rewarded the Englishman for the amusement he had given.
THE JEWS AT YORK.
When Richard I. ascended the throne, the Jews, to conciliate the royal protection, brought their tributes. Many had hastened from remote parts of England, and appearing at Westminster, the court and the people ima. gined that they had leagued to bewitch (6) his majesty.
An edict was issued to forbid (7) their presence at the coronation; but several whose curiosity was greater than their prudence, conceived that they might pass unobserved among the crowd, and venlured to insinuate themselves into the abbey. Probably their voice, and their visage alike betrayed them, for they were soon discovered, and attacked. They fled (8) in great consternation, while many were dragged out with little remains
(1) Here must be, il faut qu'il y ait.
THE JEWS AT YORK.
129 of life. A rumour spread rapidly through the city, that, in honour of the festival, the Jews were to be massacred. The populace, at once eager (1) for royally and riot, pillaged and burnt their houses and murdered the unfortunate inhabitants. Benedict, a Jew of York, to save bis life, received baptism; and returning to that city with his friend Jocenus, the most opulent of the Jews, died of his wounds.
Jocenus and his servants narrated the tragic circumstances to their neighbours; but where they hoped to move sympathy, they only excited rage. The people at York soon gathered (2) to imitate the people at London; and their first assault was on the house of the late Benedict, which, having some strength and magnitude, contained his family and friends, who soon found their graves (3) in its ruins. The alarmed Jews hastened to Jocenus, who conducted them to the governor of York castle, and prevailed on him to afford them an asylum for their persons and effects. In the mean-while, their habitations were levelled (4), and all who were found soon massacred; except a few who, anxious (5) only for their safety (6), received baptism. The castle had sufficient strength for their defence; but a suspicion arising that the governor, who often went out (7), intended
(1) Eager, ardent, empressé.
to betray them, they one day refused him entrance. He complained to the sheriff (1) of the county; and the chiefs of the violent party, who were deeply indebted to (2) the Jews, uniting with him, orders 'were issued to attack the castle. The cruel multitude, joined with the soldiery (3), showed such a desire of slaughtering (4) those they intended to despoil (5), that the sheriff, repenting of the order he had given, revoked it, but in vain; fanaticism and robbery once let loose (6), will satiate their appetency for blood and plunder. They solicited the aid of the superior citizens, who humanely refused it; and instead of assisting them, they addressed the clergy (the barbarous clergy of those days), and were by them animated and conducted to the attack. The Jews, after having resisted as long as they were able, and perceiving they must soon be in the power of their enemies, called a council to consider what remained to be done in the extremity of danger. Among them, their elder Rabbin is always highly respected. It is customary with this people to invite a foreigner renowned for the depth (7) of his learning and the sanctity of his manners, to fill this important situation. At this time the Haham or elder
(1) Sheriff, préfet. (2) Were deeply indebted to, etc., devaient beaucoupaux, etc. (3) Soldiery, militaire , soldatesque.
(4) To slaughter, égorger. Les Anglais appellent slaughterhouses leurs abattoirs.
(5) To despoil, dépouiller.
THE JEWS AT YORK.
Rabbin was a foreigner who had been sent them to instruct them in their laws, and was a person of no ordinary qualifications.
When the Jewish council was assembled, the Haham rose, and addressed them in this manner :
66 Men of Israel! the God of our ancestors is omniscient, and there is no one who can say : Why doest (1) thou this? This day he commands us to die for his law; for that law which we have cherished from the first hour it was given, which we have preserved pure, throughout our captivity in all nations; and for which, for (2) the many consolations it has given us, and the eternal hope it communicates, can we do less than die? Posterity shall behold (3) this book of truth, sealed (4) with our blood; and our death, which, while it displays our sincerity, shall impart confidence to the wanderer (5) of Israel. Death is before our eyes; and we have only to choose an honourable and easy one. If we fall into the hands of our enemies, from which you know we cannot escape, our death will be ignominious and cruel ; for these Christians, who picture the spirit of God
(1) Doest ou dost , seconde personne du singulier du présent de l'indicatif du verbe to do, faire. Les lais , quoiqu'ils ne se lutoient pas entre eux , emploient la seconde personne du siogulier quand ils s'adressent à Dieu.
(2) For, pour, par rapport à, pour prouver notre reconnaissance.
(3) To behold, contempler. (4) Sealed ,
scellé. (5) Wanderer, homme errant.