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dreams, never aspired to. All the treasures of the earth are at thy disposal, since their guardians are but as my stewards.
At the sound of my adjuration, the lynx-eyed Aziel brings thee, swift as thy thoughts transpire in words, the close concealed gold of the miser.--At thy command, Aniquel and Marbuel, the spirits of the earth, execute thy half-formed purpose ; they unclose to thee the sealed secrets of nature; they give thee their fossil treasures; render every language as thy mother tongue; and lay all the healing influence of the vegetable world at thy command. Obedient to evocation, Aziabel, the spirit of the waters, drags the great deep to enrich thee ;—pearls and corals he strews under thy feet, and brings thee every marine production of the unfathomable ocean. If thy ambitious pride pant for the applause of the world—the warrior's fame-speak but thy will to Machiel, and nature and chance shall conspire to realize thy wishes. Would'st thou that thy memory be a library of all tongues and sciences? Baruel shall make thee the organ of wisdom, and sages shall enrich their minds with the lees of thy intellect. These six spirits bring thee fortune and glory ready coined; the seventh, Mardiel, conveys to thee the bullion of every happiness, and leaves thee the exalted labour of stamping it thyself! Art thou overwhelmed, my son, by the flood of fortune that are at thy disposal, that thou standest speechless and rigid as one without life ?”
Wealth, wisdom, fame," murmured Francesco, “ are my vassals; the elements my freeholds; vast nature but my storehouse ;-say, do I dream? What could move thee, my father, to such lavish communication ?" “ The welfare of my child,” replied Barliardo,
« is more secure in thy keeping--than gold in chests of iron. I purchase his happiness with all I possess I am a gainer by the bargain. But now repose thyself-go_if not to sleep, to meditate in the still solitude of darkness.”
Retired to the solitude of his chamber, Francesco in vain endeavoured to win a momentary respite from the crowd of visions that beset him. He fancied himself crushed under the weight of Pietro's treasures. His disordered brain evoked a hundred rapacious phantoms around him, who all strove to seize his imaginary wealth. The man, who, catching at a supposed variegated fillet, finds a serpent in his grasp; the alchymist, who, after a life's labour, finds his transmuted gold base metal, starts not with such wild surprise at the chilling discovery, as did the terrified Francesco, when he became acquainted with the worthlessness of his acquisition. “ And have I," murmured he, with a convulsive shudder, “ have I sold my living treasure, my beloved Enemonde, for worthless gold, and visionary phantoms of ambition and vanity ? Have I bartered thy gentle accents, for the chill chink of zechins. Have I exchanged the pearls and rubies of thy cheeks for the yellow gleam of gold, and exchanged thy fervid fondness for the favour of a peevish miser ? Wretched dupe ! and what recompense have I received for this inestimable sacrifice ? Have I security that I shall ever receive it? Why does Pietro give me but expectation, and reserve possession for his nephew ? Means he to cheat me with an empty delusion? Am I neglectful of my own, to watch over Benedetto's happiness ; and find deception and disappointment the sole reward of my solicitude ? What certainty have I that spirits own allegiance to necromancy? Why did he never call them to his presence, or make his nephew monarch of the invisible world? Why did he not, if he had the power, appoint one of these superior beings to be the guardian angel of his favourite? And, grant his promises valid ; say, the lords of the elements are his vassals, and I the heir of his dominion in its full extent, what were a throne to me that I could not share with Enemonde ? Is there no ransom which can release me from the bondage of an oath? What aperitive like gold, and then would not the whole world be my treasury? Oh! what dæmon infatuated me, when I bound my soul with this accursed oath? What could tempt me to turn a fiery Phlegethon between myself and Elysium ? Never to marry during the life of Benedetto! And is the boy immortal or invulnerable ? No, Pietro, I tell thee, no. My arm should reach his heart, though it were clothed in a triple coat of mail ; I strike but at his life, thou hast aimed at my happiness! And must I, indeed, choose between Enemonde and eternal salvation ? Gracious heaven, thou cannot impose on feeble man such heart-rending alternatives ! Surely an erected temple, an endowed monastery, will atone for crime, and Pietro's coffers contain the materials of ten St. Peter's! Heaven will not shut its golden gates for ever against my atoning spirit.
After a night passed in a fever of conflicting thoughts, amounting almost to desperation, Francesco arose at break of day, to seek in the cool air of the morning a balm for his fevered brow. He rushed into the street, and entered unconsciously the church of a neighbouring monastery The lofty organ struck up a solemn peal, and the sacred harp sent forth a response to its majestic intonation. The deep notes fell on his ear, and, in spite of the clamorous cares that besieged him, he stood still to listen. With a grandeur of declension, and ample magnificence of cadence, the loud instruments ceased, and mellifluous flutes in liquid tones resumed the lay with a plaintive melody. After a brief pause, the pathetic strains of a funeral hymn were heard through the soft cloud of instrumental sound, which the deep knell of the full bassoon broke upon, like the bell of death. The dirge sunk in gentle cadence, and lower and lower fell the melodious whisper, till echo no longer returned the sound ; a deep silence reigned ; when the shrill notes of the viol burst forth, like the shrieks of long-imprisoned agony, and a voice that seemed to seek Francesco, sang in accents of wild despair
Restore him to me, murderer!
Oh, Absalom, my child, my Absalom! Francesco's heart died within him, as if every word were addressed to himself; he turned pale, as though he had been convicted in open court of murder. Tears streamed from his eyes, and eased his bursting heart. He prostrated himself before the cross, and regaining his recollection, proceeded with apparent calmness to the residence of his kinsman.
Barliardo received him with every mark of affection, and observing deep traces of anxiety in his countenance, ascribed it to the effervescence of an enthusiastic mind, excited by the expectation of such ponderous attainments. The ensuing day, he promised him should be the first of preparation, for the much-desired ceremony; and the morning of that, as well as of the eight following days, must, he said, be ushered in with prayers and lustration. Francesco heard the old man to a pause, without making any reply, and then withdrew to his chamber, where nature entirely exhausted by incessant agitation of spirit, sank into transient and uninterrupted repose.
On the morning of the fifth day of preparation, it chanced that Benedetto, whom the occupation of the novice in necromancy left almost wholly to himself, was playing as usual in the library of his uncle. He had counted over the painted breviaries, examined the frontispieces of all the well-known books, and feeling tediousness creep over him, was hastening to the garden, when an unusual projection of a panel in the wainscot attracted his notice. From the instinctive impulse of curiosity he drew it from its place, and found behind it a door, which he had never before observed-he opened it, and passing onward, was conducted by a winding staircase to a spacious apartment. The wind which gained admission to the room, blew aside the veil that concealed the magical apparatus, and disclosed the strange spectacle to the wondering boy, who pleased with the novel scene, forgot his amazement in delight. With childish wantonness he threw aside the curtain, and feasted his eyes with the splendid assortment of forms and colours. Free from all apprehension, he advanced to the hideous shapes of the elementary kings, laughed to excess at the stern terror of their features, and aped, with his smiling countenance, their threatening looks; then having torn the golden sceptres from their hands to convert them into playthings, he became anxious to learn the meaning of this unusual sight. The magic volume lay open upon the altar, and the painted page fixed his attention. He beheld therein a black monstrous form, with horns and claws, surrounded with triangles, crosses, and cherubims' heads, intermingled with written characters, which, prompted by curiosity, he essayed to read.
Scarcely had he turned the leaf, 'ere a report was heard, that appeared to rend the beams of the house asunder. Benedetto looked around with anxiety and trepidation, and lo! before the window a thick mephitic fume arose from the ground, which gradually dilating on every side, shot forth balls of fire, and licked the walls with tongues of livid flame. A burning wind blew from the midst of it, and a sulphureous smoke spread over the room. Dismay struck her icy fangs into the heart of the affrighted boy: he fled from the book, and stumbled by accident over one of the monstrous forms, and conceiving himself in the fangs of a demon, lost all power of speech and motion. Scarcely had he crawled to the altar, in search of a place of refuge, when the window frame was flung with tremendous ruin into the chamber, and, at the same moment, from the thickest of the murky vapour, an infernal form burst into the centre of the room. If shape may be assimilated to what had no distinct form, a vast black, erect bear, had most resembled its figure: from the yawning cavern of its mouth, armed with sharp
tusks of enormous magnitude, hung a huge red triform tongue; its eyes glared like two angry comets, and its uplifted fangs burned with glowing fire. With impetuous fury it rushed upon the hapless boy, and in a voice of thunder exclaimed; “ What wantest thou? Thou hast called me, I am here.” Benedetto lay panic-struck and speechless behind the altar. Once again, with horrid howl, the monster reiterated, “ What wantest thou with me?” The soul of the terrified child seemed to have deserted its mansion. “Take thy reward for dragging me from the friendly gloom of hell to the abhorred beams of day,” yelled the fearful form ; and infixing his fangs in the tender neck of the sweet boy, strangled him on the spot. The burning talons hissed in the pure blood, the close compression stopped respiration, the rosy cheeks of the child assumed the purple hues of death, and the gates of sight closed on his eyes for ever. With unmitigated fury the monster rushed out of the window.
It was mid-day before Pietro returned with Francesco, from his devotions. Accustomed to be met with caresses at the door by his affectionate child, the old man was surprised to see no signs of his unfortunate nephew. He inquired for him with anxious alarm, and was answered by an old servant, that he had, perhaps, fallen asleep in the library, in which he had been shut up for some hours. I was afraid to look for him, Signor, said the man, trembling, for all, I am sure, is not right in the house: it has been so shaken, and filled with such strange noises, that I thought one stone would not have been left on another. Dreams, phantasms, replied Pietro; but inwardly alarmed, he hastened with portentous apprehension to the chamber. As he opened the room, the sulphureous vapour almost overpowered him ; but rushing forward with precipitation, he found the secret pannel disclosed ; and then subdued by his terrors he staggered a few steps forwards and fell headlong down the stairs. Raised, however, above casualties which affected only himself, by his cares for his nephew, he cast a timid, yet eager glance over the room; and, but too well convinced of his misfortune, sank on the floor ; Francesco, was scarcely less afflicted by the sight.
Long lay their powers benumbed in deathlike insensibility ; slow was the return of life and perception to both. Dreading to raise his sight from the earth, Pietro stammered with a faint, feeble voice, “ Francesco, lift up thy eyes, and tell me what thou seest.”
Francesco looked round at this command, and replied, with hesitation, “I see a window beaten out of its frame; the hands of the four kings without sceptres ; the circles trodden down, and traces of burning claws on the tapestry.”
“ See'st thou nothing more?”
“I see oh that I had plucked out mine eyes 'ere they shewed me the tragic sight-I see Benedetto lying beside the altar, and in his ivory neck five deep wounds, whose lips seemed scorched with fire, and have poured five purple streams on his lily bosom. I see why does not the sun sicken at the piteous sight, and shroud his beams in nocturnal obscurity ?--the sweet boy's fingers twisted in the fretwork of the altar, and his teeth clenched with the agonies of death,”
Pietro had again relapsed into insensibility ; Francesco raised him from the floor, and conveyed him to a couch. The motion recalled his fleeting senses. “ See'st thou nothing more, Francesco ?” cried he, with a convulsive shudder; and then with rapid transition of passion exclaimed, “who brought me here? shall a homicide die on soft cushions? no, no, avenging hell! be the rack or wheel my death-bed, or lay me on the burning bull of Tartarus. Oh, where is the body of him I have murdered ?" He started from his couch, and hurried to the fatal chamber, wound his arm about a pillar to support himself, and surveyed the altar with a steady and wistful gaze. Having approached the magic volume, he cast his eye over the expanded page, and wrung with new agony, cried, “ yes, I am his murderer ! let men wreak their vengeance on my body, and demons employ all their infernal engines on my accursed soul. I am his murderer! How came my hapless boy here? I, I have dug the pit for him, and am his murderer. Why does not thy sweet face become a Gorgon to me? Why does not every drop of thy pure blood start up a devil to revenge thee? The demon whom he unconsciously summoned, appeared ; Dirachiel, the fiercest fiend that ever sprang from the loins of hell, or sucked the venomous dugs of his dragon mother. He found the unsuspecting infant out of the circles, and seized the proffered occasion to destroy him. Yet, 'twas I, accursed dotard, that decoyed the innocent babe into the fangs of the demon. O earth, entomb a miscreant that pollutes thy surface! Walls close upon me, and crush a monster whose presence makes you curse the fast foundations that forbid your flight !” Having thus spoken, and passion supplying him with strength, he beat down, and split to pieces the altar, trampled on the circles, broke the images, and tore in pieces the book of evocation. For a few moments he stood mute and motionless, and then collecting the fragments of the crosses, images, and altar, into a pile, he hurried out of the room ; but overpowered by the excess of feeling, sank motionless on the stairs, where he was found by Francesco, who bore him a second time to his chamber. Overstrained emotion raised a fever in Pietro's brain, his reason and memory yielded to the terrors of a delirious imagination. He raved of empires, which he had to distribute, of planets to reform, and suns to relume; of conferences at which he was to assist with angels; of the last unction which he must administer to a dying saint ; of testimony he must bear against two devils for the murder of an innocent. The violence of passion wrung a deadly damp from his body; he conceived himself already without life; the canopy which hung over him seemed a dim vault, his couch a bier; the coverlid appeared a pall, and even the slightest noise sounded to him like the last trumpet. He whispered to Francesco, as if afraid the wall should hear: “ I had once a nephew! a little wanton laughing boy; the crutch of my age and prop of my happiness. I lost him ; angels saw his sportive innocence, and took him to themselves for a playfellow. See, there he stands, near the Redeemer, in a shining raiment, and bears the effulgent casque of Omnipotence. Ha ! I lie, I lie! see the blood streaming from his mangled neck! Can the