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name was Ghismond, was with her maids in the garden; and being perceived by no one, nor yet willing to take her from her di. version, finding also the windows shut, and the curtains drawn to the feet of the bed, he threw himself down in a great chair, which stood in a corner of the room, leaning his head upon the bed, and drawing the curtain before him, as if he concealed himself on purpose, when he chanced to fall asleep. In the mean time, Ghismond having made an appointment with her lover, left the maids in the garden, and came into her chamber, which she secured, not thinking of any person being there, and went to meet Guiscard, who was in the cave waiting for her, and brought him into her chamber; when her father awoke, and was a witness to all that passed between them. This was the utmost affliction to him, and he was about to cry out; but, upon second thoughts, he resolved to keep it private, if possible, that he might be able to do more securely, and with less disgrace, what he had resolved upon. The lovers stayed together their usual time, without perceiving any thing of Tancred, who, after they were departed, got out of the window into the garden, old as he was, and went, without being seen by any one, very sorrowful to his chamber. The next night, according to his orders, Guiscard was seized by two men as he was coming out of the cave, and carried by them, in his leathern doublet, to Tancred, who, as soon as he saw him, said, with tears in his eyes
“ Guiscard, you have ill requited my kindness towards you, by this outrage and shame which you have brought upon me, and of which this very day I have been an eye-witness.” When he made no other answer but this: “Sir, love hath greater power than either you or I.” Tancred then ordered a guard to be set over him. And the next day he went to his daughter's apartment as usual, she knowing nothing of what had happened, and shutting the door, that they might be private together, he said to her, weeping," Daughter, I had such an opinion of your modesty and virtue, that I could never have believed, had I not seen it with my own eyes, that you would have violated either, even so much as in thought. My reflecting on this will make the small pittance of life that is left very grievous to me. As you were determined to act in that manner, would to heaven you had made choice of a person more suitable to your own quality ; but for this Guiscard, he is one of the very meanest persons about my court. This gives me such concern, that I scarcely know what to do. As for him, he was secured by my order last night, and his fate is determined. But, with regard to yourself, I am influenced by two different motives ; on one side, the tenderest regard that a father can have for a child ; and on the other, the justest vengeance for
L the great folly you have committed. One pleads strongly in your bebalt'; and the other would excitę me to do an act contrary to
my nature. But before I come to my resolution, I would hear what you have to say for yourself.” And when he said this, he hung down his head, and wept like a child. She hearing this from her father, and perceiving that their amour was not only discovered, but her lover in prison, was under the greatest concern imaginable, and was going to break out into loud and grievous lamentations, as is the way of women in distress ; but getting the better of this weakness, and putting on a settled countenance, as supposing Guiscard was dead, and being resolved firmly in her own mind not to outlive him, she spoke therefore with all the composure in the world to this purpose : “ Sir, to deny what I have done, or to entreat any favour of
you, is no part of my design at present ; for as the one can avail me nothing, so I intend the other shall be of little service. I will take no advantage of your love and tenderness towards me; but shall first, by an open confession, endeavour to vindicate myself, and then do what the greatness of my soul prompts me to. 'Tis most true that I have loved, and do still love, Guiscard ; and while I live, which will not be long, shall continue to love him : and if such a thing as love be after death, even that shall not dissolve it. To this I was induced by no frailty, so much as his superior virtue, and the little care you took to marry me again. I preferred him before all the world; and as to the meanness of his station, to which you so much object, that is more the fault of fortune, who often raises the most unworthy to an high estate, neglecting those of greater merit. We are all formed of the same materials, and by the same hand. The first difference amongst mankind was made by virtue; they who were virtuous were deemed noble, and the rest were all accounted otherwise. Though this law therefore may have been obscured by contrary custom, yet is it discarded neither by nature, nor good manners. If you then alone regard the worth and virtue of your courtiers, and consider that of Guiscard, you will find him the only noble person, and the others a set of poltroons. With regard to his worth and valour, I appeal to yourself. Who ever commended man more for every thing that was praise-worthy, than you have commended him and deserverlly in my judge ment; but if I was deceived, it was by following your opinion. If you say then, that I have had an affair with a person base and ignoble, i deny it; if with a poor one, it is to your shame, to let such merit go unrewarded. Now concerning your last doubt, namely, how you are to deal with me; use your pleasure. If you are disposed to commit an act of cruelty, I shall say nothing to prevent such a resolution. But this I must apprise you of, that unless
you do the same to me, which you either have done, or mean to do to Guiscard, my own hands shall do it for you. Reserve your tears then for women; and if you mean to act with se
with this message ;
verity, cut us off both together, if it appears to you
have deserved it.” The prince knew full well the greatness of her soul; but yet he could by no means persuade himself, that she would have resolution enough to do what her words seemed to threaten. Leaving her then, with a design of being favourable to her, and intending to wean her affection from her lover by taking him off, he gave orders to the two men, who guarded him, to strangle him privately in the night, and to take his heart out of his body, and bring it to him. Accordingly they executed his commands, and the next day he called for a golden cup, and putting the heart into it, he had it conveyed by a trusty servant to his daughter,
“ Your father sends this present to comfort you, with what was most dear to you ; even as he was comforted by you, in what was most dear to him.” She had departed from her father, not at all moved as to her resolution, and therefore had prepared the juices of some poisonous plants, which she had mixed with water to be at hand, if what she feared should come to pass. When the servant had delivered the present, and reported the message according to his order, she took the
without changing countenance, and seeing the heart therein, and knowing by the words that it must be Guiscard's, she looked stedfastly at the servant, and said : “My father has done very wisely ; such a heart as this requires no worse a sepulchre than that of gold.” And
this she lifted it to her mouth and kissed it, thus continuing; “ All my life long, even to this last period of it, have I found my father's love most abundant towards me ;
but now more than ever ; therefore return him, in my name, the last thanks that I shall ever be able to give him for such a present.” Looking then towards the cup, which she held fast in her hand, she said: “ Alas! the clearest end and centre of all my wishes ! Cursed be the cruelty of him, by whom these eyes now see you ; although my soul had long viewed and known you. You have finished your course; such a one, indeed, as fortune has thought fit to allot you ; you are arrived at the goal to which we all tend; you have left the miseries of this world far behind, and have obtained such a sepulchre from your very enemy, as your merit required. Nothing remained to make your obsequies complete, but the tears of her who was so dear to you whilst
you were living ; and which, that you should not now want, heaven put it into the mind of my relentless father to send you to me. And you shall have them, though I had purposed to die unmoved, and without shedding a tear; and when I have done, I will instantly join my soul to yours ; for in what other company can I go better and safer to those unknown regions? as I make no doubt your soul is hovering here, expecting mine.” When she had done speaking, she shed a flood of tears, kissing the heart a thousand times ; whilst the damsels who were about her knew neither what heart it was, nor what those her words imported; but being moved with pity, they joined with her, begging to know the cause of her grief, and endeavouring all they could to comfort her. After she had lamented as much as she thought proper, she raised up her head, and wiping her eyes, said, “ Thou beart, most dearly beloved ! all my duty is now performed towards thee; nothing more remains, but for my soul to accompany thine." Upon this she bade them reach the vessel of water, which she had prepared the day before, and pouring it into the cup with the heart, which she had sufficiently washed with her tears, she drank it all off without the least dread or apprehension ; and then threw herself upon the bed with the cup in her hand, composing her body as decently as she could, and pressing her lover's heart to her's, she lay without uttering a word more, expecting death. The maids, when they saw this, though they knew not what it was she had drunk, sent to acquaint Tancred; who fearing what had really happened, came into the room soon after she had laid herself down, and finding it was too late, began to lament most grievously. She then said to him, Sir, save those tears against worse fortune that may happen, for I want them not. Who but yourself would mourn for a thing of your own doing But if any part of that love now remains in you,
me, the last request I shall make is, that as you would not suffer us to be happy together whilst living, that our two bodies (wherever you have disposed of his) may be publicly interred together when dead.” Extreme grief would suffer him to make no reply; when, finding herself drawing near her end, she strained the heart strongly to her breast, saying, “ Receive us, heaven; I die !" Then closing her eyes, all sense forsook her, and she departed this miserable life. Such an end had the amours of Guiscard and Ghismond, as you have now heard ; whilst the prince, repenting of his cruelty when it was too late, had them buried in one grave, in the most public manner, to the general grief of all the people of Salerno.
THEODORE AND HONORIA.
Boccacio, who, according to Benvenuto da Imola, was a curious investigator of all delectable histories, is said to have taken this goblin tale from the Chronicle of Helinandus, a French monk, who flourished in the reign of Philip Augustus, * and composed a history of the world from its creation, as was the fashion of monkish historians. The Florentine novelist, however, altered the place of action, and disguised the names of the persons, whom he calls Nastagio and Traversari, the designations of two noble families in Ravenna. So good a subject for a ballad did not escape our English makers, by one of whom the novel of Boccacio was turned into the ballad stanza. t Dryden, however, converted that into a poem, which, in the hands of the old rhymer, was only a tale, and has given us a proof how exquisitely his powers were adapted for the management of the machinery, or supernatural agency of an epic poem, had his situation suffered him to undertake the task he so long meditated. Nothing can be more highly painted than the circumstances preliminary of the apparition ;-the deepening gloom, the falling wind, the commencement of an earthquake ; above all, the indescribable sensation of horror with which Theodore is affected, even ere he sees the actors in the supernatural tragedy. The appearance of the female, of the gaunt mastiffs by which she is pursued, and of the infernal huntsman, are all in the highest tone of poetry, and could only be imitated by the pencil of Salvator. There is also a masterly description of Theodore's struggles between his native courage, prompted by chivalrous education, and that terror which the presence of supernatural beings imposes upon the living. It is by the account of the impression, which such a sight makes upon the supposed spectator, more even than by a laboured de
Manni Della Illustrazione del Boccacio, p. 355. + There is a copy in the late Duke John of Roxburghe's library, under the title of “ Nastagio and Traversari.” VOL. XI.