« AnteriorContinuar »
history of the fair Livonian, who was not yet eighteen. He traced her through the vale of obscurity; through the vicissitudesa of her fortune; and found her truly great in them all. The meanness of her birth was no obstruction to his design. Thenuptials were solemnized in private; the prince declaring to his courtiers, that virtue was the surest ladder to a throne.
14. We now see Catharina, raised from the low, mud-walled cottage, to be Empress of the greatest kingdom upon earth. The poor, solitary wanderer, is now surrounded by thousands who find happiness in her smile. She, who formerly wanted a meal, is now capable of diffusing plenty upon whole nations. To her good fortune she owed a part of this pre-eminence, but to her virtues more. She ever after retained those great qualities which first placed her on a throne; and, while the extraordinary prince, her husband, labored for the reformation of his male subjects, she studied, in her turn, the improvement of her own sex. She altered their dresses; introduced mixed assemblies; instituted an order of female knighthood; promoted piety and virtue; and, at length, when she had greatly filled all the stations of empress, friend, wife, and mother, bravely died without regret,-regretted by all.
Execution of Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury. 1. QUEEN Mary determined to bring Cranmer, whom she had long detained in prison, to punishment; and in order more fully to satiated her vengeance, she resolved to punish him for heresy,e rather than for treason. He was cited by the Pope to stand his trial at Rome; and though he was known to be kept in close custody at Oxford, he was, upon his not appearing, condemned as contumacious. Bonner, bishop of London, and Thirleby, bishop of Ely, were sent to degrade him; and the former executed the melancholy ceremony, with all the joy and exultation which suited his savage nature.
2. The implacables spirit of the Queen, not satisfied with the future misery of Cranmer, which she believed inevitable, and with the execution of that dreadful sentence to which he was condemned, prompted her also to seek the ruin of a Vi-cis'-si-tudes, regular changes.
f Con-tu-ma'-cious, obstinate, perverse. , C Arch-bishop, a chief bishop.
g Im-pla'-ca-ble, not to be appeased. d Sa'-tiate, to fill, to satisfy.
e Her'-e-sy, errors in doctrine.
6 Courtiers, attendants on courts.
his honor, and the infamy of his name. Persons were employed to attack him, not in the way of disputation, against which he was sufficiently armed; but by flattery, insinuation, and address; by representing the dignities to which his character still entitled him, if he would merit them by a recantation; by giving him hopes of long enjoying those powerful friends, whom his beneficent disposition had attached to him during the course of his prosperity.
3. Overcome by the fond love of life; terrified by the prospect of those tortures which awaited him; he allowed, in an unguarded hour, the sentiment of nature to prevail over his resolution, and agreed to subscribe to the doctrines of the papala supremacy, and of the real presence. The court, equally perfidious and cruel, was determined that this recantation should avail him nothing; and sent orders that he should be required to acknowledge his errors in church, before the whole people; and that he should thence be immediately carried to execution.
4. Čranmer, whether he had received a secret intimation of their design, or had repented of his weakness, surprised the audience by a contrary declaration. He said that he was well apprised of the obedience which he owed to his sovereign and the laws; but that his duty extended no farther then to submit patiently to their commands, and to bear, without resistance, whatever hardships they should impose upon him; that a superior duty, the duty which he owed to his Maker, obliged him to speak truth on all occasions, and not to relinquish, by a base denial, the holy doctrine which the Supreme Being had revealed to mankind; that there was one miscarriage in his life, of which above all others he severely repented, the insincere declaration of faith to which he had the weakness to consent, and which the fear of death alone had extorted from him; that he took this opportunity of atoning for his error by a sincere and open recantation, and was willing to seal with his blood that doctrine, which he firmly believed to be communicated from heaven; and that, as his hand had erred by betraying his heart, it should first be punished by a severe and just doom, and should first pay the forfeit of its offenses.
5. He was then led to the stake, amidst the insults of his enemies, and having now summoned up all the force of his mind, he bore their scorn, as well as the torture of his punishment, with singular fortitude. He stretched out his hand, and, without betraying, either by his countenance or motions; a Pa'-pal, belonging to the Pope.
C Ex-tort'-ed, exacted oppressively. b Ap-pri-sed, informed, notified.
d Re-cant-a'tion, a retraction of opinion 3. I then looked around with anxious eagerness; and, first a Be-neft-i-cence, generosity, goodness. c Fluc-tu-a'tion, unsteadiness. 6 All-le-go-ry, a figurative manner of d A-lac'-ri-ty, cheerfulness, liveliness.
the least sign of weakness, or even of feeling, he held it in the flames tillit was entirely consumed. Histhoughts seemed wholly occupied with reflections on his former faults; and he called aloud several times, “this hand has offended.”
6. Satisfied with that atonement, he then discovered a serenity in his countenance; and when the fire attacked his body, he seemed to be quite insensible of his outward sufferings, and by the force of hope and resolution, to have collected his mind altogether within itself, and to repel the fury of the flames.--He was undoubtedly a man of merit, possessed of learning and capacity, and adorned with candor, sincerity, and beneficence, and all those virtues which were fitted to render him useful and amiable in society.-Hume.
The Voyage of Life-an Allegory. I. “ Life,” says Seneca, “is a voyage, in the progress of which we are perpetually changing our scenes. We first leave childhood behind us, then youth, then the years of ripened manhood, then the better, or more pleasing part of old age.” The perusal of this passage having excited in me a train of reflections on the state of man,—the incessant fluctuation of his wishes, the gradual change of his disposition to all external objects, and the thoughtlessness with which he floats along the stream of time, -I şunk into a slumber amidst my meditations, and, on a sudden, found my ears filled with the tumult of labor, the shouts of alacrity, the shrieks of alarm, the whistle of winds, and the dash of waters.
2. My astonishment for a time suppressed my curiosity; but soon recovering myself so far as to inquire whither we were going, and what was the cause of such clamor and confusion, I was told that we were launching out into the ocean of life; that we had already passed the straits of infancy, in which multitudes had perished,-some by the weakness and fragility of their vessels, and more by the folly, perverseness, or negligence of those who undertook to steer them,--and that we were now on the main sea, abandoned to the winds and billows, without any other means of security than the care of the pilot, whom it was always in our power to choose, anong great numbers that offered their direction and assistance.
turning my eyes behind me, saw a stream flowing through flowery islands, which every one that sailed along seemed to behold with pleasure; but no sooner touched them, than the current, which though not noisy nor turbulent was yet irresistible, a bore him away. Beyond these islands all was. darkness; nor could any of the passengers describe the shore at which he first embarked.
4. Before me, and on each side, was an expanse of waters violently agitated, and covered with so thick a mist, that the most perspicacious beye could see but little way. It appeared to be full of rocks and whirlpools; for many sunk unexpectedly while they were courting the gale with full sails, and insulting those whom they had left behind. So numerous, indeed, were the dangers, and so thick the darkness, that no caution could confer security. Yet there were many, who by false intelligence betrayed their followers into whirlpools, or by violence pushed those whom they found in their way against the rocks.
5. The current was invariable and insurmountable: but though it was impossible to sail against it, or to return to the place that was once passed, yet it was not so violent as to allow no opportunities for dexterity or courage; since, though none could retreat back from danger, yet they might often avoid it by oblique • direction.
6. It was, however, not very common to steer with much care or prudence; for, by some universal infatuation,' every man appeared to think himself safe, though he saw his consorts every moment sinking around him; and no sooner had the waves closed over them, than their fate and their misconduct were forgotten; the voyage was pursued with the same jocund e confidence; every man congratulated himself upon the soundness of his vessel, and believed himself able to stem the whirlpool in which his friend was swallowed, or glide over the rocks on which he was dashed; nor was it often observed that the sight of a wreck made any man change his
If he turned aside for a moment, he soon forgot the rudder, f and left himself again to the disposal of chance.
7. This negligence did not proceed from indifference, or from weariness of their present condition ; for not one of those who thus rushed upon destruction, failed, when he was sinking, to call loudly upon his associates for that help which could not now be given him; and many spent their last moments in cautioning others against the folly, by which they a Ir-re-sist' i-ble not to be resisted.
e Joc'-und, merry, gay. b Per-spi-ca'-cious, quick sighted.
f Rud'-der, the instrument by which a c Oh-lique', deviating from a right line. ship is steered. d In-fat-u-a'tion, deprivation of reason.
were intercepted a in the midst of their course. Their benevolence was sometimes praised, but their admonitions were unregarded.
8. The vessels in which we were embarked, being confessedly unequal to the turbulence of the stream of life, were visibly impaired in the course of the voyage; so that every passenger was certain, that how long soever he might, by favorable accidents, or by incessant vigilance, be preserved, he must sink at last.
9. This necessity of perishing might have been expected to sadden the gay, and to intimidate • the daring; at least to keep the melancholy and timorous in perpetual torment, and hinder them from any enjoyment of the varieties and gratifications which nature offered them as the solace of their labors; yet, in effect, none seemed less to expect destruction than those to whom it was most dreadful; they all had the art of concealing their danger from themselves; and those who knew their inability to bear the sight of terrors that embarrassed their way, took care never to look forward ; but found some amusement of the present moment, and generally entertained themselves by playing with Hope, who was the constant associate of the Voyage of Life.
10. Yet all that Hope ventured to promise, even to those whom she favored most, was, not that they should escape, but that they should sink last; and with this promise every one was satisfied, though he laughed at the rest for seeming to believe it. Hope, indeed, apparently mocked the credulity d of her companions; for, in proportion as their vessels grew leaky, she redoubled her assurances of safety; and none were more busy in making provisions for a long voyage, than they whom all but themselves saw likely to perish soon by irreparable decay.
11. In the midst of the current of Life, was the gulf of Intemperance, a dreadful whirlpool, interspersed with rocks, of which the pointed crags were concealed under water, and the tops covered with herbage, on which Ease spread couches of repose, and with shades, where Pleasure warbled the song of invitation. Within sight of these rocks, all who sailed on the ocean of Life must necessarily pass.
12. Reason, indeed, was always at hand, to steer the passengers through a narrow outlet, by which they might escape; but very few could, by her entreaties or remonstrances, be induced to put the rudder into her hand, without stipulating that she should approach so near the rocks of Pleasure, that a In-ter-cep'-ted, stopt in its passage.
e In-ter-spers'-ed, scattered among. 6 Ad-mo-ni"-tions, gentle reproofs. f Re-mon-stran-ces, strong representac In-tim-i-date, to frighten. d Cre-du-li-ty, easiness of belief.