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conjecture, each one according to the bent of his own disposition, what the thing would be that she should ask for. One said, “Now surely she will ask to have the disposal of the revenues of some wealthy province, to lay them out-as was the manner of Eastern princesses—in costly dresses and jewels becoming a lady of so great expectancies." Another thought that she would seek an extension of power, as women naturally love rule and dominion. But the most part were in hope that she was about to beg the hand of some neighbouring prince in marriage, who, by the wealth and contiguity of his dominions, might add strength and safety to the realm of Lycia. "But in none of these things was the expectation of these crafty and worldly-minded courtiers gratified; for Hidaspes, first making lowly obeisance to her father, and thanking him on bended knees for so great grace conferred upon her,-according to a plan preconcerted with Leucippus,--made suit as follows:
“Your loving care of me, O princely father! by which in my tenderest age you made up to me for the loss of a mother at those years when I was scarcely able to comprehend the misfortune, and your bounties to me ever since, have left me nothing to ask for myself, as wanting and desiring nothing. But, for the people whom you govern, I beg and desire a boon. It is known to all nations, that the men of Lycia are noted for a vain and fruitless superstition,—the more hateful as it bears a show of true religion, but is indeed nothing more than a self-pleasing and bold wantonness. Many ages before this, when every man had taken to himself a trade, as hating idleness far worse than death, some one that gave himself to sloth and wine, finding himself by his neighbours rebuked for his unprofitable life, framed to himself a god, whom he pretended to obey in his dishonesty; and, for a name, he called him Cupid. This god of merely man's creating—as the nature of man is ever credulous of any vice which takes part with his dissolute conditions- quickly found followers enough. They multiplied in every age, especially among your Lycians, who to this day remain adorers of this drowsy deity, who certainly was first invented in drink, as sloth and luxury are commonly the first movers in these idle love-passions. This winged boy- for so they fancy him-has his sacrifices, his loose images set up in the land, through all the villages; nay, your own sacred palace is not exempt from them, to the scandal of sound devotion, and dishonour of the true deities, which are only they who give good gifts to man,as Ceres, who gives us corn; the planter of the olive, Pallas; Neptune, who directs the track of ships over the great ocean, and binds distant lands together in friendly commerce ; the inventor of medicine and music, Apollo ; and the cloud-compel. ling Thunderer of Olympus : whereas the gifts of this idle deity--if indeed he have a being at all out of the brain of his frantic worshippers--usually prove destructive and pernicious. My suit, then, is, that this unseemly idol throughout the land be plucked down, and cast into the fire ; and that the adoring of the same may be prohibited on pain of death to any of your subjects henceforth found so offending.”'
Leontius, startled at this unexpected demand from the princess, with tears besought her to ask some wiser thing, and not to bring down upon herself and him the indignation of so great a god.
“There is no such god as you dream of,” said
then Leucippus, boldly, who had hitherto forborne to second the petition of the princess; “but a vain opinion of him has filled the land with love and wantonness. Every young man and maiden, that feel the least desire to one another, dare in no case to suppress it ; for they think it to be Cupid's motion, and that he is a god !”.
Thus pressed by the solicitations of both his children, and fearing the oath which he had taken, in an evil hour the misgiving father consented ; and a proclamation was sent throughout all the provinces for the putting-down of the idol, and the suppression of the established Cupid-worship.
Notable, you may be sure, was the stir made in all places among the priests, and among the artificers in gold, in silver, or in marble, who made a gainful trade, either in serving at the altar, or in the manufacture of the images no longer to be tolerated. The cry was clamorous as that at Ephesus when a kindred idol was in danger; for “great had been Cupid of the Lycians.” Nevertheless, the power of the duke, backed by the power of his more popular children, prevailed ; and the destruction of every vestige of the old religion was but as the work of one day throughout the country.
And now, as the pagan chronicles of Lycia inform us, the displeasure of Cupid went out,-the displeasure of a great god,-flying through all the dukedom, and sowing evils. But upon the first movers of the profanation his angry hand lay heaviest; and there was imposed upon them a strange misery, that all might know that Cupid's revenge was mighty. With his arrows hotter than plagues, or than his own anger, did he fiercely right himself; nor could the prayers of a few concealed worshippers, nor the smoke arising from an
altar here and there which had escaped the general overthrow, avert his wrath, or make him to cease from vengeance, until he had made of the onceflourishing country of Lycia a most wretched land. He sent no famines, he let loose no cruel wild beasts among them,-inflictions with one or other of which the rest of the Olympian deities are fabled to have visited the nations under their displeasure, --but took a nearer course of his own; and his invisible arrows went to the moral heart of Lycia, infecting and filling court and country with desires of unlawful marriages, unheard-of and monstrous affections, prodigious and misbecoming unions.
The symptoms were first visible in the changed bosom of Hidaspes. This exemplary maiden,whose cold modesty, almost to a failing, had dis. couraged the addresses of so many princely suitors that had sought her hand in marriage, --by the venom of this inward pestilence, came on a sudden to cast eyes of affection upon a mean and deformed creature, Zoilus by name, who was a dwarf, and lived about the palace, the common jest of the courtiers. In her besotted eyes he was grown a goodly gentleman; and to her maidens, when any of them reproached him with the defect of his shape in her hearing, she would reply, that “to them, indeed, he might appear defective, and unlike a man, as, indeed, no man was like unto him ; for in form and complexion he was beyond painting. He is like,” she said, “ to nothing that we have seen; yet he doth resemble Apollo, as I have fancied him, when, rising in the east, he bestirs himself, and shakes daylight from his hair.” And, overcome with a passion which was heavier than she could bear, she confessed herself a wretched creature, and implored forgiveness of God Cupid, whom she had provoked ; and, if possible, that he would grant it to her that she might enjoy her love. Nay, she would court this piece of deformity to his face; and when the wretch, supposing it to be done in mockery, has said that he could wish himself more ill-shaped than he was, so it would contribute to make her grace merry, she would reply, “Oh! think not that I jest; unless it be a jest not to esteem my life in comparison with thine ; to hang a thousand kisses in an hour upon those lips; unless it be a jest to vow that I am willing to become your wife, and to take obedience upon me." And by his “ own white hand,” taking it in hers,
so strong was the delusion,-she besought him to swear to marry her.
The term had not yet expired of the seven days within which the doting duke had sworn to fulfil her will, when, in pursuance of this frenzy, she presented herself before her father, leading in the dwarf by the hand, and, in the face of all the courtiers, solemnly demanding his hand in marriage. And, when the apeish creature made show of blushing at the unmerited honour, she, to comfort him, bade him not to be ashamed; for, “in her eyes, he was worth a kingdom.”
And now, too late, did the fond father repent him of his dotage. But when by no importunity he could prevail upon her to desist from her suit, for his oath's sake he must needs consent to the marriage. But the ceremony was no sooner, to the derision of all present, performed, than, with the just feelings of an outraged parent, he commanded the head of the presumptuous bridegroom to be stricken off, and committed the distracted princess close prisoner to her chamber, where after many deadly swoonings, with intermingled outcries