« AnteriorContinuar »
who is mentioned in it. After this short preface, take the account as follows :
Battus, the son of Menalcas the Sicilian, leaped for Bombyca the musician: got rid of his passion with the loss of his right leg and arm, which were broken in the fall.
Melissa, in love with Daphnis, very much bruised, but escaped with life.
Cynisca, the wife of Æschines, being in love with Lycus ; and Æschines her husband being in love with Eurilla ; (which had made this married couple very uneasy to one another for several years,) both the husband and the wife took the leap by consent: they both of them escaped, and have lived very happily together ever since.
Larissa, a virgin of Thessaly, deserted by Plexippus, after a courtship of three years : she stood upon the brow of the promontory for some time, and, after having thrown down a ring, a bracelet, and a luule picture with other presents which she had received from Plexippus, she threw herself into the sea, and was taken
alive. N. B. Larissa, before she leaped, made an offering of a silver Cupid in the temple of Apollo.
Simætha, in love with Daphnis the Myndian, perished in the fall.
Charixus, the brother of Sappho, in love with Rhodope the courtesan, having spent his whole estate upon her, was advised by his sister to leap in the beginning of his amour, but would not hearken to her until he was reduced to his last talent: being forsaken by. Rhodope, at length resolved to take the leap. Perished in it.
Æridæus, a beautiful youth of Epirus, in love with Praxinoë, the wife of Thespis, escaped without damage, saving only that two of his fore-teeth were struck out, and his nose a little flatted.
Cleora, a widow of Ephesus, being inconsolable for the death of her husband, was resolved to take this leap in order to get rid of her passion for his memory; but being arrived at the promontory, she there met with Dimmachus the Miletian, and, after a short conversation with him, 'laid aside the thoughts of her leap, and married him in the temple of Apollo.
N. B. Her widow's weeds are still seen hanging up in the western corner of the temple.
Olphis, the fisherman, having received a box on the ear from Thestylis the day before, and being determined to have no more to do with her, leaped, and escaped with life.
Atalanta, an old maid, whose cruelty had several years before driven two or three despairing lovers to this leap; being now in the fifty-fifth year of her age, and in love with an officer of Sparta, broke her neck in the fall.
Hipparchus, being passionately fond of his own wife, who was enamoured of Bathyllus, leaped, and died of his fall; upon which his wife married her gale lant.
Tettyx, the dancing-master, in love with Olympia, an Athenian matron, threw himself from the rock with great agility, but was crippled in the fall.
Diagoras, the usurer, in love with his cook-maid; he peeped several times over the precipice, but his heart misgiving him, he went back, and married her that evening.
Cineedus Cinædus, after having entered his own name in the Pythian records, being asked the name of the person whom he leaped for, and being ashamed to discover it, he was set aside, and not suffered to leap.
Eunica, a maid of Paphos, aged nineteen, in love with Eurybates. Hurt in the fall, but recovered.
N. B. This was the second time of her leaping.
Hesperus, a young man of Tarentum, in love with his master's daughter. Drowned, the boats not coming in soon enough to his relief.
Sappho, the Lesbian, in love with Phaon, arrived at the temple of Apollo, habited like a bride in garments as white as snow. She wore a garland of myrtle on her head, and carried in her hand the little musical instrument of her own invention. After having sung a hymn to Apollo, she hung up her garland on one side of his altar, and her harp on the other. She then tucked up her vestments, like a Spartan virgin, and amidst thousands of spectators, who were anxious for her safety, and offered up vows for her deliverance, marched directly forwards to the utmost summit of the promontory; where, after having repeated a stanza of her own verses, which we could not hear, she threw herself off the rock with such an intrepidity, as was never before observed in any who had attempted that dangerous leap. Many who were present related that they saw her fall into the sea, from whence she never rose again; though there were others who affirmed that she never came to the bottom of her leap, but that she was changed into a swan as she fell, and that they saw her hovering in the air under that shape. But whether or no the whiteness and Ruttering of her garments might not deceive those who looked upon her, or whether
she might not really be metamorphosed into that musical and melancholy bird, is still a duubt among the Lesbians.
Alcæus, the famous Lyric poet, who had for some time been passionately in love with Sappho, arrived at the promontory of Leucate that very evening, in order to take the leap' upon her account; but hearing that Sappho had been there before him, and that her body conld be no where found, he very generously lamented her fall, and is said to have written his hundred and twenty-fifth ode upon that occasion.
It is very reasonable to believe that part of the pleasure which happy minds shall enjoy in a future state will arise from an enlarged contemplation of the divine wisdom in the government of the world, and a discovery of the secret and amazing steps of Providence, from the beginning to the end of time. Nothing seems to be an entertainment more adapted to the nature of man, if we consider that curiosity is one of the strongest and most lasting appetites implanted in us,
and that admiration is one of our most pleasing passions; and what a perpetual succession of enjoyments will be afforded 10 both these, in a scene so large and various as shall then be laid open to our view in the society of superior spirits, who perhaps will join with us in so delightful a prospect!
In our present condition, which is a middle state, our minds are, as it were, chequered with truth and falsehood; and as our faculties are narrow, and our views imperfect, it is impossible but our curiosity must mect with many repulses. The business of mankind in this life being rather to act than to know, their portion of knowledge is dealt to them accordingly.
From hence it is that the reason of the inquisitive has so long been exercised with difficulties, in accounting for the promiscuous distribution of good and evil to the virtuous and the wicked in this world. From hence come all those pathetic complaints of so many tragical events, which happen to the wise and the good; and of such surprising prosperity, which is often the lot of the guilty and the foolish; that reason is sometimes puzzled, and at a loss what to pronounce upon so mysterious a dispensation.
Plato expresses his abhorrence of some fables of the poets, which seem to reflect on the gods as the authors of injustice; and lays it down as a principle, that whatever is permitted to befall a just man, whether poverty, sickness, or any of those things which seem to be evils, shall either in life or death conduce to his good. My reader will observe how agreeable this maxim is to what we find delivered by a greater authority. Seneca has written a discourse purposely on this subject, in which he takes pains, after the doctrine of