Fierce Cerberus shall clank his chain,
In chorus with chimasras dire: What other pomp, what other strain
Should he who dies of love, require ? Be hush'd, my song, complain no more
Of her whose pleasure gave thee birth ; But let the sorrows I deplore
Sleep with me in the silent earth."
This ditty of Chrysostom was approved by all the hearers : but he who read it observed, that it did not seem to agree with the report he had heard of Marcella's virtue and circumspection ; inasmuch as the author com- plained of jealousy, absence, and suspicion, which tended to the prejudice of her morals and reputation. To this objection Ambrosio, as one that was acquainted with the most secret sentiments of his friend, answered, " Signer, for your satisfaction in this point, it is necessary you should know, that the forlorn shepherd composed this song in the absence of Marcella, from whose presence he had gone into voluntary exile, in order to try if he could reap the usual fruits of absence, and forget the cause of his despair ; and as one in that situation is apt to be fretted by every circumstance, and invaded by every appre- hension, poor Chrysostom was harassed by groundless jealousy and imaginary fears, which tormented him as much as if they had been real ; for which reason, this circumstance ought not to invalidate the fame of Mar- cella's virtue, against which, exclusive of her cruelty, arrogance, and disdain, envy itself hath not been able to lay the least imputation."
" That may be very true," replied Vivaldo, who, being about to read another of the papers he had saved from the flames, was diverted from this purpose by a