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As the princess was pronouncing the last confirming vow, a troop of armed men entered and seized her and Florenza. Pharonnida was placed in a litter, and in this manner was conveyed, with the greatest speed, and in the most profound silence, to her father's capital. The author of this outrage the princess had found out to be Almanzor, who, now apparelled as a hermit, conducted her through the city to the king's palace. The chief, by his reverend appearance, gained an unquestioned entrance to the king; and having persuaded him that he had converted the wild bandits to obedience, he began, in language whose emollient smoothness gained easy credence, to frame a petition in favour of a distressed damsel, whom he had brought with him, and in whom the king discovered his loved and long-sought daughter. Almanzor thinking this a favourable opportunity, discovered himself, and not only obtained pardon, but rose to higher favour and honors than before his rebellion.
During these transactions Argalia had proceeded to the confines of ./Etolia, and offered his services to Zarrobrin, who was then at war with the Epirots. By the usurper (to whom his name was a sufficient welcome) he was received with respect, and entrusted with the command of a choice troop of horse. In a skirmish between two out-parties, Euriolus was taken prisoner by Argalia, who had long been the object of his search, and to whom he related what had happened to Pharonnida until she took refuge in the monastery.
Zarrobrin, with the assistance of his new commander, soon triumphed over the Epirots. Dissatisfaction at his government, however, still prevailed, and in order to suppress it, he determined to put the old king to death, and this too under the colour of justice. He was brought to a mock trial, which terminated in his being condemned to death: but as they were about to carry the sentence into execution, Argalia rushed upon the scaffold and rescued him; the foreign troops, under the command of Argalia, in the meanwhile seized and secured Zarrobrin and his friends. Argalia having explained to the people the cause of his apparent breach of their laws, the relation was supported by the friar who had been the companion of the king in his flight, and was confirmed by the production of the jewel. Zarrobrin was brought to trial, but the people, impatient of delay, tore him and the supposed son of the king to pieces, and exterminated all who were allied to him. The king relinquished the crown in favour of his son, and soon after died.
Euriolus, whom Argalia had sent to free Pharonnida from her religious captivity, on learning what had subsequently happened, proceeded to her father's capital; and on his return, Argalia determined to send ambassadors, to demand her in marriage. The ambassadors having been received with great disrespect by the Spartan monarch, quitted the court with indignation.
To gain the approbation of the King who breathed nothing but war against Argalia, Zoranza raised au army, and, in conjunction with the Spartan troops commanded by Almanzor, carried on the war with various success;—before however a final effort was made to crush Argalia, old Cleander resolved to unite his daughter to Zoranza. Amindor, who had all along opposed the violent measures taken against Argalia, concerted a plan for the escape of the Princess in disguise, accompanied by Euriolus and Florenza;—the plan was overheard by Amphibia, and revealed to Almanzor, who was already forming schemes to prevent the intended union.
It happened that at this time the King was visited by an old complaint, for the cure of which there was but one specific, and that known only to Pharonnida,to whom an aged friar, who had applied it until the time of his death, had communicated the secret of its composition—this cordial the Princess prepared as usual, and gave to Amphibia to take to her father. Almanzor having prevailed upon Amphibia to mix poison with the potion, pretended he was going to join the army, but secretly returned with a confidant to the cave, where Amindor had deposited the disguises for their intended flight. Almanzor and his attendant, having put on two of the male habiliments, concealed themselves near a walk frequented by Zoranza, who presently came with one of his train, to take his accustomed exercise; Almanzor rushed upon and assassinated the Prince, and severely wounded his attendant ; he then returned to the cave, put off, and replaced his disguise, and fled to the army.
On the morning of the expected nuptials, the lifeless body of Zoranza having been found, one of the noblemen more eager than the rest, hurried to the chamber of the King, to communicate the intelligence, and with horror beheld a corpse,
"Which form, whose heavenly art
Tunes motion into the faculties of life,
Had now forsook.''
The absence of the Princess being at the same time discovered, Almanzor was sent for to assist in the choice of a person, to fill the vacant throne. The physicians having investigated, and reported the King's death to have been caused by poison, and suspicion arising of its having been administered in the cordial; Almanzor hastened to the cave appointed for the first retreat of Pharonnida and her friends, surprized and brought them before the judicial authorities, to take their trial'for the double murder of the King and Zoranza. A curtain was withdrawn, displaying the two dead bodies, the sight of which was too much for Pharonnida—and she fainted. The habits in which the murderers of -Zoranza were disguised, being proved by the wounded Epirot lord to be the same as the male prisoners now wore, they were all sentenced to die, unless a champion should, within twenty days, appear on their behalf, and vanquish Almanzor in single combat.
Before the court rose, the Princess made a dignified, but fruitless appeal in favour of the Cyprian Prince, although she disdained to ask a subject's mercy for herself.—Almanzor thinking Argalia might appear as the champion of Pharonnida, contrived to heighten the colouring of her supposed crime, which soon reached Argalia, with "such doubtful circumstances as shook his noble soul." — Confirmed as these circumstances were, by the messengers he had sent to Corinth; his passion had
Notwithstanding the situation of his kingdom, and the opposition of his council, Argalia formed the resolution of
VOL. I. PART i. I
rescuing Pharonnida—and selecting some veteran troops, he forced a passage through the army, by which he wa« invested, and threw them into such confusion as promised an early raising of the siege. On his arrival at the Monastery where he had formerly been so kindly succoured, he retired with his friend the Friar, by whose dispassionate advice he was persuaded to visit the prisoners with him in the character of a confessor.
The Friar applied himself to Amindor, Argalia to Pharonnida, (at the sight of whom he is nigh forgetting his priestly office) and having" read the sad story of her life," was satisfied of her innocence. Throwing off his monastic robes with
"Near as much speed
As incorporeal substances, that need
But will for motion,"
he appeared in the lists—Almanzor was vanquished.— The innocence of the prisoners being established by the confession of the vanquished champion, Argalia, as the choice of the princess, was elected king of the Morea, and at the same time received the crown of Epirus.
We have, in the above abstract of the poem, attempted to give the reader some idea of the spirit and poetry of the original. All attempts of this kind must necessarily be in some measure imperfect. If, however, we have succeeded in exciting his interest in favour of this beautifully planned poem, we shall be abundantly rewarded. It may be proper, however, to notice a few of its most glaring defects, in addition to those already mentioned. The author lays the scene at one time in Greece, and at another in Sicily; and with a strange and whimsical forgetfulness describes the king's capital as being at one moment in the Morea, and in the next, without the least warning, we find it placed in the island; thus he transports us from one to the other, with the most ludicrous gravity and unconcern. The confusion occasioned by this ubiquity of his dramatis persons, may be easily conceived. Ariamnes is indifferently designated by that name, and by the name of Aminander, and we learn towards the conclusion of the poem, rather abruptly, and with some surprize, for the first time, that the king of the Morea is called Cleander. We shall content ourselves with these specimens, without pointing out other inaccuracies and instances of pedantry which are to be found in the work; but with all its defects we should be sorry to see it continue in unmerited neglect; for we think that, under the superintendance of a judicious editor, it might be reprinted with advantage, and would add one more to the many enjoyments of the lover of the most delightful of all arts.
Akt. IV. Danielis Heinsii Poemata. Ex Officina Joannis Janssonii. 1649. 24mo. pp. 666.
The age of modern Latin poetry, as of prose, is now past. There was a time when the languages of modern Europe were little more than the languages of conversation, and when their yet unformed and unrefined state rendered them but ill adapted to the enunciation of abstract truths, the embodying of the suggestions of imagination, or the preservation of historical facts. It was natural in such a state of things, that all which deserved the name of polite literature should be written in the only language, then understood, which was capable of transmitting it; the language of religion, the language of the last eminent literary nation, and the language, more or less, of those former inhabitants of the European countries, from whom the barbarian invaders received their civilization. In the course of ages, however, from a variety of causes, these noble dialects gradually developed their native powers, and finally became to their respective nations what the Greek and Latin had been to the people of antiquity—the medium of intercourse between cultivated minds, the vehicles of controversy, the records of past and present events, the propagators of opinion, and the moulds in which the visible forms of imagination were cast. In proportion as this great change unfolded itself, the use and importance of the Latin, as a written tongue, of course declined. It was not to be supposed, however, that this revolution could take place immediately or simultaneously. The use of the native dialects could only be established gradually; and some of them would remain in their uncultivated state longer than others. The epoch, moreover, of this revolution (an epoch more fruitful than any others in great events) was also that in which the talents of mankind, from causes on which it is needless to speculate, began to develope themselves more freely and favourably than during many preceding centuries; and among others, the faculty of poetry. That modern Latin poetry should partake, in a minor degree, of the genial influence which had descended upon all the branches of science and literature, was but natural. Italy accordingly leading the way, the nations of Europe swarmed with a generation of Latin poets, as numerous perhaps as those of the ages of Augustus and Trajan.