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vious to this, placed his affection on Hypatia, a lady of exquisite beanty. The day of their mtended 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 making 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 himfelf equally happy in friendship and in love. But this was an interview fatal to the future peace of both; for Septimius no fooner saw her, but he was fmitten with an involuntary passion; and though he used every effort to suppress desires at once fo imprudent and so 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 illnefs, Alcander watched him with all the anxiety of fondness, and brought his mistress to join in those amiable offices of friendship. The fagacity of the physicians, by these means, foon discovered that the cause of their patient's disorder was love; and Alcander being apprised of their discovery, at length extorted a confession from the reluctant dying lover.
It would but delay the narrative to describe the confiat between love and friendship in the breast of Alcander on this occafion; 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. In fhort, forgetful of his own felicity, 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 fortune wrought as unex pected a change in the constitution of the now happ Septimius. In a few days he was perfectly recovered and set out with his fair partner for Rome. Here, b an exertion of those talents which he was fo eminent]
poffeffed of, Septimius, in a few years, arrived at the highest dignities 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 also commenced against him by the relations of Hypatia, for having bafely given up his bride, as was suggested, for money. His innocence of the crime laid to his 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 lo large a fum at the time appointed, his poffeffions were confiscated, he himself was stripped of the habit of freedom, exposed as a slave in the marketplace, and sold to the highest bidder.
A merchant of Thrace becoming his purchaser, Alcander, with some other companions in distress, was carried into that region of desolation and fterility. His stated employment was to follow the herds of an im. perious master, and his success in hunting was all that was allowed him to supply his precarious subsistence. Every morning waked him to a renewal of famine 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 lodging in caverns by day, to shorten a long story, he at last arrived in Rome. The same day on which Alcander arrived, Septimius fat 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 eyes of the judge, and expecting to be taken notice of; but he was so much altered by a long succession 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 night coming on, he now found himself under the 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 citizens would harbour fo 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 fleep; 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 about 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 farther inquiry, an alarm was spread; the cave was examined ; and Alcander was apprehended, and accused of robbery and murder. The circumstances against him were strong, and the wretchedness of his appearance confirmed' suspicion. Misfortune and he were now so long acquainted, that he at last became regardless of life. He detested a world where he had found only ingratitude, falsehood, and cruelty; he was determined to make no defence; and, thus lowering with resolution, he was dragged, bound with cords, before the tribunal of Septimius. As the proofs were positive against him, and he offered nothing in his own vindication, the judge was proceeding to doom him to a most cruel and ignominious death, when the attention of the multitude was soon divided 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. Al
cander's innocence therefore appeared; but the fullen rashness of his conduct remained a wonder to the fur
rounding multitude; but their astonishment was still • farther encreased when they saw the judge start from
his tribunal to embrace the supposed criminal : Septimius recollected his friend and former benefactor, and hung upon his neck with tears of pity and of joy. Need the sequel be related ? Alcander was acquitted ; shared the friendship and honours of the principal citizens of Rome; lived afterwards in happiness and ease; and left it to be engraven on his tomb, That no circumAtances are so desperate which Providence may not relieve.
The Acquisition of a Virtuous Disposition a
necessary Part of Education.
, which either your circumstances have suggested, or your friends have proposed, you will not hefitate to acknowledge, that in order to pursue them with advantage, fome previous discipline is requisite. Be aflured, that whatever is to be your profession, no education is more necessary to your success than the acquirement of virtuous dispositions and habits. This is the universal preparation for every character, and every station of life. Bad as the world is, respect is always paid to virtue. In the usual course of human affairs it will be found, that a plain understanding, joined with acknowledged worth, contributes more to prosperity than the brightest parts without probity or honour. Whether science, or business, or public life, be your aim, virtue still enters for a principal share into all those great departments of society. It is connected with eminence, in every liberal art; with reputation, in every branch of fair and useful business; with distinction, in every public station. The vigour which it gives the mind, and the weight which it adds to character ; the generous sentiments which it breathes, the undaunted spirit which it inspires, the ardour of diligence which it quickens, the freedom which it procures from pernicious and dishonourable avocations, are the foundations of all that is high in fame, or great in success, among men. Whatever ornamental or engaging endowments you may possess, virtue is a necessary requisite, in order to their shining with proper lustre
lustre. Feeble are the attractions of the fairest form, if it be suspected that nothing within corresponds to the pleasing appearance without