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men of learning, which avaricious governors had monopolised.
In this city, aod about this period, Alcander and Septimius were fellow-students together; the one, the most subtle reasoner of all the Lyceum ; the other, the most eloquent speaker in the academic grove. Mutual admiration soon begot a friendship. Their fortunes were nearly equal, and they were natives of the two most celebrated cities in the world; for Alcander was of Athens, Septimius came from Rome.
In this state of harmony they lived for some time together, when Alcander, after passing the first part of his youth in the indolence of philosophy, thought at length of entering into the busy world; and as a step previous to this, placed his affections on Hypatia, a lady of exquisite beauty. The day of their intecded nuptials was fixed; the previous ceremonies were performed; and nothing now remained but her being conducted in triumph to the apartment of the intended bridegroom.
Alcander's exultation in his own happiness, or being unable to enjoy any satisfaction without ma. king his friend Septimius a partner, prevailed upon him to introduce Hypatia to his fellow-student ; which he did, with all the gaiety of a man who found kimself equally happy in friendship and love. But this was an interview fatal to tbe future peace
of both, for Septimius no sooner saw her but he was smitten with an involuntary passion; and, though he used every effort to suppress desires at once so imprudent and unjust, the emotions of his mind in a short time. became so strong, that they brought on a fever, which the physicians judged incurable.
During this illness Alcander watched him with all the anxiety of fonduess, and brought his mistress to join in those amiable offices of friendship. The sagacity of the physicians, by these means, soon discovered that the cause of their patient's disorder was love ; and Alcander, being apprised of their dis. covery, at length extorted a confession from the reluctant dying lover.
It would but delay the narrative to describe the conflict between love and friendship in the breast of Alcander on this occasion; it is enough to say, that the Athenians were at that time arrived at such refinement in morals, that every virtue was carried to excess : ju short, forgetful of his own fe. licity, he gave up his intended bride, in all her charms, to the young Roman. They were married privately by his connivance, and this unlooked for change of rtune wrought as unexpected a change in the constitution of the now happy Septimius. In a few days he was perfectly recovered, and set out with his fair partner for Rome. Here, by an exertion of those talents which he was so eminently possessed of, Septimius, in a few years, arrived at the highest digvities of the state, and was constituted the city judge, or prætor.
In the mean time Alcander not only felt the pain of being separated from his friend and his mistress, but a prosecution was commenced against him by the relations of Hypatia, for having basely given up his bride, as was suggested, for money. His innocence of the crime laid to bis charge, and even his eloquence in his own defence, were not able to withstand the influence of a powerful party. He was cast, and condemned to pay an enormous fine. However, being unable to raise so large a sum at the time appointed, his possessions were confiscated, he himself was stripped of the habit of freedom, exposed as a slave in the market-place, and sold to the highest bidder.
A merchant of Thrace becoming his purchaser, Alcander, with some other companions of distress, was carried into that region of desolation and sterility. His stated employment was to follow the herds of an imperious master, and his success in hunting was all that was allowed him to supply his precarious subsistence. Every morning awaked him
to a renewal of famide or toil, and every change of season served but to aggravate his unsheltered distress. After some years of bondage, however, an opportunity of escaping offered; he embraced it with 'ardour ; so that travelling by night, and lodg. ing iu caverns by day, to shorten a long story, he at last arrived in Rome. The same day on which Alcander arrived, Septimius sat administering justice in the forum, whither our wanderer came, expecting to be instantly known, and publicly acknowledged, by his former friend. Here he stood the whole day amongst the crowd, watching the eges of the judge, and expecting to be taken notice of; but he was so much altered by a long succes. sion of hardships, that he continued unnoticed amongst the rest; and, in the evening, when he was going up to the prætor's chair, he was brutally repulsed by the attending lictors. The attention of the poor is generally driven from one ungrateful object to another; for pight coming on, he now found himself under a necessity of seeking a place to lie in, and yet knew not where to apply. All emaciated, and in rags, as he was, none of the ci. tizens would harbour so much wretchedness; and sleeping in the streets might be attended with interruption or danger; in short, he was obliged to take up his lodging in one of the tombs without the city, the usual retreat of guilt, poverty, and despair. In this mansion of horror, laying his head upon an inverted urn, he forgot his miseries for a while in sleep, and found on his flinty couch more ease than beds of down can supply to the guilty.
As he continued here, about midnight two robbers came to make this their retreat; but happening to disagree ahout the division of their plunder, one of them stabbed the other to the heart, and left him weltering in blood at the entrance. In these circumstances he was found next morning dead at the mouth of the vault. This naturally inducing a far. ther inquiry, an alarm was spread; the cave was examined ; and Alcauder being found, was imme: diately apprehended, and accused of robbery and murder. The circumstances against him were strovg, and the wretchedness of his appearance confirmed suspicion. Misfortune and he were now so long acquainted, that he at last became regard. less of life. He detested a world where he had found only ingratitude, falsehood, and cruelty ; he was determined to make no defence; and, thus louring with resolution, he was 'dragged, bound with cords, before the tribunal of Septimius. As the proofs were positive against him, and he offered no. thing in his own vindication, the judge was pro. ceeding to doom him to a most cruel and ignomini. ous death, when the attention of the multitude was soon diverted by another object. The robber, who had been really guilty, was apprehended selling his plunder, and, struck with a panic, had confessed his crime. He was brought bound to the same tribunal, and acquitted every other person of any partnership in his guilt. Alcander's innocence therefore appeared; but the sullen rashness of his conduct remained a wonder to the surrounding multitude; but their astonishment was still farther increased when they saw their judge start from his tribunal to embrace the supposed criminal. Septimius recol. lected his friend and former benefactor, and hung upon his neck with tears of pity and joy. Need the sequel be related ?-Aleander was acquitted, shared the friendship and honours of the principal citizens of Rome, lived afterwards in happiness and ease, and left it to be engraved on his tomb, that no circumstances are so desperate which Providence may not relieve.
WHEN I reflect on the unambitious retirement
in which I passed the early part of my life in the country, I cannot avoid feeling some pain in thinking that those happy days are never to return. In that retreat all nature seemed capable of affording pleasure ; I then made no refinements on happiness, but could be pleased with the most awkward efforts of rustic mirth, thought cross purposes the highest stretch of human wit, and questions and commands the most rational way of spending the eveving. Happy could so charming an illusion continue ! I find that age and knowledge only contribute to sour our dispositions. My present en. joyments may be more refined, but they are infi. nitely less pleasing. The pleasure the best actor gives, can no way compare to that I have received from a country wag who imitated a quaker's ser
The music of the finest singer is dissonance to what I felt when our old dairy.maid sung me in. to tears with Johnny Armstrong's Last Good Night, or the Cruelty of Barbara Allen.'
Writers of every age have endeavoured to show that pleasu e is in us, and not in the objects offered for our amusement If the soul be happily disposed, every thing becomes capable of affording en. tertainment, and distress will almost want a name. Every occurrence passes in review like the figures of a procession : some may be awkward, others ill dressed; but none but a fool is for this enraged with the master of the ceremonies.
I remember to have once seen a slave in a fortifi. cation in Flanders, who appeared no way touched with his situation. He was maimed, deformed, and chained ; obliged to toil from the appearance of day till night-fall, and condemned to this for life ; yet,