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who accused her to the king of a design to poison him. Herod was now prepared to hear any thing in her prejudice, and immediately ordered her servant to be stretched upon the rack; who in the extremity of his tortures confessed, that his mistress's aversion to the King arose from something Sohemus had told her; but as for any design of poisoning, he utterly disowned having the least knowledge of it. This confession quickly proved fatal to Sohemus, who now lay under the same suspicions and sentence that Joseph had before him on the like occasion. Nor would Herod rest here; but accused her with great vehemence of a design upon his life, and by his authority with the judges had her publicly condemned and executed. Herod soon after her death grew melancholy and dejected, retiring from the public administration of affairs into a solitary forest, and there abandoning bimself to all the black considerations, which naturally arise from a passion made up of love, remorse, pity, and despair. He used to rave for his Mariamne, and to call upon her in his distracted fits; and in all probability would soon have followed her, had not his thoughts been seasonably called off from so sad an object by public storms, which at that time very nearly threatened him. L.
THEODOSIUS AND CONSTANTIA.
Illa, quis et me, inquit, et te perdidit, Orpheus? Jamque vale: feror ingenti circumdata nocte, Invalidusque tibi tendens, heu! non tua, palmas. VIRG.
Then thus the bride: what fury seiz'd on thee,
CONSTANTIA was a woman of extraordinary wit and beauty, but very unhappy in a father, who having arrived at great riches by his own industry, took delight in nothing but his money. Theodosius was the younger son of a decayed family, of great parts and learning, improved by a genteel and virtuous education. When he was in the twentieth year of his age he became acquainted with Constantia, who had not then passed her fifteenth. As he lived but a few miles distant from her father's house, he had frequent opportunities of seeing her; and by the advantages of a good person and a pleasing conversation, made such an impression in her heart as it was impossible for time to efface: he was himself no less smitten with Constantia. A long acquaintance made them still discover new beauties in each other, and by degrees raised in them that mutual passion which had an influence on their following lives. It unfortunately happened, that in the midst of this intercourse of love and friendship between Theodosius and Constantia, there broke out an irreparable quarrel between their parents, the one valuing himself too much upon his birth, and the other upon his possessions. The father of Constantia was so much incensed at the father of Theodosius, that he contracted an unreasonable aver
sion towards his son, insomuch that he forbad him his house, and charged his daughter upon her duty never to see him more. In the mean time, to break off all communication between the two lovers, who he knew entertained secret hopes of some favourable opportunity that should bring them together, he found out a young gentleman of a good fortune and an agreeable person, whom he pitched upon as a husband for his daughter. He soon concerted this affair so well, that he told Constantia it was his design to marry her to such a gentleman, and that her wedding should be celebrated on such a day. Constantia, who was overawed with the authority of her father, and unable to object any thing against so advantageous a match, received the proposal with a profound silence, which her father commended in her, as the most decent manner of a virgin's giving her consent to an overture of that kind. The noise of this intended marriage soon reached Theodosius, who, after a long tumult of passions which naturally rise in a lover's heart on such an occasion, writ the following letter to Constantis.
"The thought of my Constantia, which for some years has been my only happiness, is now become a greater torment to me than I am able to bear. Must I then live to see you another's? The streams, the fields, and meadows, where we have so often talked together, grow painful to me; life itself is become a burden. May you long be happy in the world, but forget that there was ever such a man in it as
This letter was conveyed to Constantia that very evening, who fainted at the reading of it; and the next morning she was much more alarmed by two or three messengers that came to her father's house one after another to inquire if they had heard any thing of Theodosius, who it seems had left his chamber about midnight, and could no where be found. The deep
melancholy which had hung upon his mind some time before, made them apprehend the worst that could befal him. Constantia, who knew that nothing but the report of her marriage could have driven him to such extremities, was not to be comforted: she now accused herself for having so tamely given an ear to the proposal of a husband, and looked upon the new lover as the murderer of Theodosius: in short, she resolved to suffer the utmost effects of her father's displeasure, rather than comply with a marriage which appeared to her so full of guilt and horror. The father seeing himself entirely rid of Theodosius, and likely to keep a considerable portion in his family, was not very much concerned at the obstinate refusal of his daughter; and did not find it very difficult to excuse himself upon that account to his intended sonin-law, who had all along regarded this alliance rather as a marriage of convenience than of love. Constantia had now no relief but in her devotions and exercises of religion, to which her afflictions had so entirely subjected her mind, that after some years had abated the violence of her sorrows, and settled her thoughts in a kind of tranquillity, she resolved to pass the remainder of her days in a convent. Her father was not dis. pleased with a resolution which would save money in his family, and accordingly complied with his daughter's intentions. Accordingly, in the twenty-fifth year of her age, while her beauty was yet in all its height and bloom, he carried her to a neighbouring city, in order to look out a sisterhood of nuns among whom to place his daughter. There was in this place a father of a convent who was very much renowned for his piety and exemplary life; and as it is usual in the Romish church for those who are under any great affliction, or trouble of mind, to apply themselves to the most eminent confessors for pardon and consolation, our beautiful votary took the opportunity of con fessing herself to this celebrated father.
We must now return to Theodosius, who, the very morning that the above-mentioned inquiries had been made after him, arrived at a religious house in the city where now Constantia resided; and desiring that secresy and concealment of the fathers of the convent, which is very usual upon any extraordinary occasion, he made himself one of the order, with a private vow never to inquire after Constantia, whom he looked upon as given away to his rival upon the day on which, according to common fame, their marriage was to have beeu solemnized. Having in his youth made a good progress in learning, that he might dedicate himself more entirely to religion, he entered into holy orders, and in a few years became renowned for his sanctity of life, and those pious sentiments which he inspired into all who conversed with him. It was this holy man to whom Constantia had determined to apply herself in confession, though neither she nor any other, besides the prior of the convent, knew any thing of his name or family. The gay, the amiable Theodosius had now taken upon him the name of Father Francis, and was so far concealed in a long beard, a shaven bead, and a religious habit, that it was impossible to discover the man of the world in the venerable conventual.
As he was one morning shut up in his confessional, Constantia, kneeling by hira, opened the state of her soul to him; and after having given him the history of a life full of innocence, she burst out in tears, and entered upon that part of her story in which he himself had so great a share. My behaviour, says she, has, I fear, been the death of a man who had no other fault but that of loving me too much. Heaven only knows how dear he was to me whilst he lived, and how bitter the remembrance of him has been to me since his death. She here paused, and lifted up her eyes, that streamed with tears, towards the father; who was so moved with the sense of her sorrows, that he could