« 前へ次へ »
him with food, lest he should perish with hunger ; for such was the dreadful sentence passed upon him by Dionysius, the usurper. For three days he had on various pr texts prevented Euphrasia's visits to her imprisoned parent-still deluding her with promises of his freedom; meantime, by secret orders, Evander had been removed from his prison at midnight, conducted to a dungeon on the steep summit of an almost inaccessible rock, and there condemned to die for want of sustenance. Euphrasia learned from Melanthon (a faithful follower of her father's-though now in the usurper's service), his dreadful situation and when all the city was hu shed in repose, she sought the dreary dungeon, committing herself to the care of Heaven. Without assistance, and guided on her dubious way by the feeble light of her lamp, she scrambled up the frightful precipice; and faint, exhausted, at length reached its summit, where, throwing herself on her knees before the soldier, she besought him with the most pathetic earnestness, to assist in preserving her parent's life. Long he resisted her entreaties, for though he loved his dethroned kin , yet such were the horrors of Dionysius's punishments, that none dared disobey him. Euphrasia clung to his robe, grasped his hand with frantic energy, and implored him to have compassion on her sorrows, and admit her to the presence of the prisoner! “Refuse me not, Philotas (she exclaimed), Oh! can you behold a wretch thaš pleading at your feet, and spurn her from you? Can you resist a daughter's agony--who only asks permission to perish by her father's side ? Let me behold him once more ! Oh! let me clasp him in these arms, and if he must die, let his last sighs be heaved upon his daughter's breast ; his dying eyes be closed by a daughter's hand! Think, Philoias, oh ! think of thine own aged sire! Think, were he doomed like mine, to perish Wouldst thou not burst through
walls and rocks to save himn ? Wouldst thou not plead for inercy ? Wouldst thou not rend the air with piercing cries, and dash thyself upon the cold, cold, earth, in bitterness of anguish ? Say! Wouldse thou not ?” “Oh! no more (replied, Poilotas, dashing a tear away); go in, Euphrasia, yo and behold
Euphrasia canght his hand, pressed it with eager gratitude to her lips, and rushed into the cavern, where she was met by Arcas, the other soldier on duty, who though he readily confirmed the permission of Philotas for her visit, yet positively refused her entreaties to convey him any food, as their lives would be forfeited ; and she was compelled to give up the cordials she had brought. From cell, to cell, they passed ; and reached at length a gloomy cave; where, chained to a rock, she beheld her aged sire stretched on the floor. Overcome with horror at a sight so dreadful, she leaned against the wall for support! Arcas led her to a seat—"Repose thee, princess, till thy sailing strength return. lease thy father ; yotiž visit must be brief-before the dawn you must depart, or certain ruin will ensue--would, would I could do more.'
Arcas raised Evander from the ground, then removed his chain, and bowing to the princess, left the cell-but Euphrasia, stupitied with agony, was for some moments unable to move, till the well known voice of her father fell upon her ear. As Evander attempted to move, he staggered ; but she rushed and caught him in her arms; then led bin gently forward. Revived by the fresh air, he expressed his acknowlcdyments, though ignorant to whom he was indehted: for the hand of death was on him, his eyes were din, and his senses bewildered. She wiped the cold damp frorn bis forehead, and tenderly inquired "if he did not know her ?" when he raised his head for a moment, and faintly uttered “No
I will re
in truth I know you not ; are you a spirit come to conduct ine to the realms of bliss ?"
It was some time ere Euphrasia could recall his wandering senses to recollection ; and, when at length he understood it was his child, his joy overcame him, and he sunk, fainting, in her arms. Her shrieks of terror alarmed the sentinel, who came to réprove her imprudence; but she implored his assistance to conduct her father more into the air, where, stretched upon il couch, he again left them ! Euphra
sia hung over the venerablc old man in speechless agony: she wrapped her mantle round his shivering limbs; pressed him iu her arms—with the fond hope of communicating to him the vital warmth which ran through her own veins ; alas ! in rain, his quivering lips unclosed, he gasped, but his agonized daughter had not the power of bestowing even a drop of water to allay his thirst. At length a sublime 'idea suddenly darted through her burning brainand the maternal breast, which but a few days before yielded nounishment to her infant son, now preserved the lile of an expiring parent! With rapturous joy, she saw him revive ; Philotas, at a distance, beheld the pious act of filial love. di
a struck him to the soul, he called on his fellow sob.
Arcas,” he cried,
-By heaven, lie shall not die.* * *
Arcás, not less affected than himself, readily unite ed in his wish, and they. Resolved, at every hazard, to protect that life so miraculously preserved by the affection of a danghter. Fhilotas yielded his assistance, and ere the dawn the enraptured Euphrasia led her beloved father from these caves of death. Through the most secret avenues of the
city, they gained the temple unperceived. There Evander took shelter in the tomb of Eudocia, his wife, where Euphrasia from day to day, visited him in secret ; and under the pretence of offering tribute at the shrine of her mother, by sprinkling wine on her tomh, and burning sacred viands, she thus conveyed nourishment to Evander : soothing his spirits with the cheering hope of Timoleon's triumph over the usurper Dionysius : and his own restora. tion t, she throne.
Diony:ins the elder, surnanied the tyrant, had waded through seas of blood and carnage to the throne of Syracuse ; when seated there, he practised so much injustice, loaded the people with such oppression, and invented such various systems of cruelty, that his afflicted subjects groaned beneath a yoke of tyranny, almost beyond human endurance ; wherefore, Evander, roused by repeated solicitasions, came from Greece, made war upon the tyrant, subdued him, drove him from Sicily, reduced him to his original obscurity, and set the oppressed natives of Syracuse free from the despot's oppression ! Their gratitude now induced them to ofier him the throne. They chose him as the guardian of their rights; and amid shouts of universal acclamation, hailed their deliverer as their future monarch.
For many years, Evander reigned. Beloved lov his people, he ruled with such gentleness, his conduct was marked with so much justice, his generos. ily was so unbounded, and his goodness so universal, that he was cousidered as the father of his subjects. Arts and sciences flourished, and the wise men of every realm were invited to the court of Syracuse ; where virtuie, and happiness, held an undiminished sway. Evander for years bad scarcely known a sorrow; save in the death of his wife ! but even there, the dutiful affection of his lovely daughter, had softened the affliction of the husband, in the increasing attachment of the delighted father. Euphrasia was beloved hy Phocion-a noble youth of Sicily, to whom she gave her hand; whilst Evander beheld, with unuffected joy, the happiness of his daughter ; and grateful to the gods for the blessing he possessed, he fondly thought no danger could threaten his declining years.. Euphrasia now became a mother; and as Evander clasped the infant