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Could I look forward to a distant day
Keswick, 21 Feb. 1829.
ALL FOR LOVE,
A SINNER WELL SAVED.
The story of the following Poem is taken from a Life of St. Basil, ascribed to his contemporary St. Amphilochius, Bishop of Iconium ; a Latin version of which, made by Cardinal Ursus in the ninth century, is inserted by Rosweyde, among the Lives of the Fathers, in his compilation Historiæ Eremiticæ. The original had not then been printed, but Rosweyde obtained a copy of it from the Royal Library at Paris. He intimates no suspicion concerning the authenticity of the life, or the truth of this particular legend ; observing only, that hæc narratio apud solum invenitur Amphilochium. It is, indeed, the flower of the work, and as such had been culled by some earlier translator than Ursus.
The very learned Dominican, P. François Combefis, published the original with a version of his own, and endeavoured to establish its authenticity in opposition to Baronius, who supposed the life to have been written by some other Amphilochius, not by the Bishop of Iconium. Had Combefis pos sessed powers of mind equal to his erudition, he might even then have been in some degree prejudiced upon this subject, for, according to Baillet, il avoit un attachement particulier pour S. Basile. His version is inserted in the Acta Sanctorum (Jun. t. ii. pp. 937—957.) But the Bollandist Baert brands the life there as apocryphal ; and in his annotations treats
Combefis more rudely, it may be suspected, than he would have done, had he not belonged to a rival and hostile order.
Should the reader be desirous of comparing the Poem with the Legend, he may find the story, as transcribed from Rosweyde, among the Notes.
A Youth hath enter'd the Sorcerer's door,
But he dares not lift his eye,
And his heart beats audibly.
“Look up, young man !” the Sorcerer said,
Lay open thy wishes to me!
I can tell it thee.
“ Thy name is Eleëmon; Proterius's freedman thou art; And on Cyra, thy Master's daughter,
Thou hast madly fix'd thy heart.
“But fearing (as thou well mayest fear!)
The high-born Maid to woo,
And sacrifice might do.
“Thou hast prayed unto all Saints in Heaven,
And to Mary their vaunted Queen;
From them, or from her, I ween!
“ And thou, I know, the Ancient Gods,
In hope forlorn hast tried,
The maiden for thy bride.
“On Jove and Phæbus thou hast callid,
And on Astarte's name ;
Retains a faded fame.
Thy voice to Baal hath been raised ;
To Nile's old Deities;
“ Their Images are deaf !
Their Oracles are dumb !
To Abibas art come.
“Ay, because neither Saints nor Gods
Thy pleasure will fulfil,
To ask if Satan will !