Dorastus and Fawnia, or, The life and adventures of a German princess
Dorastus and Fawnia:
Life and Adventures
PRINTED BY J. and M. ROBERTSON,
[No. 18.] Saltmarket,
Before the Christian religion had blessed the European world, in the well known kingdom of Bohemia, now subject to the German emperor, there reigned a King whose name was Pandosta, fortunate in war, and bountiful to his subjects in peace, which made him feared abroad, and beloved at home. He had a Princess, whose name was Bellaria, great by her birth, but greater by her virtue, living with the King her husband, in that love and amity, that made them both happy in each other; and fortune, as a pledge on both their mutual loves, sent them a son who was the darling of his parents, and the joy of their subjects; who, to testify their inward joy, made public rejoicings and triumphs throughout the kingdom.
Scarce were the public triumphs for the birth of the Prince made an end of, but a fresh occasion of joy offered itself, for Egistus, the Sicilian king, who had been brought up with Pandosta in his youth, that he might renew their former friendship, came with a splendid retinue, befitting the dignity of his person, to give him a royal visit, and was entertained by Pandosta suitably to the honour he did him thereby. And acquainting Bellaria, his queen, with the great love he had for Egistus, and of the honour that he did him by his visit; he desired her also to shew him all the respect and kindness that was due to so great a king and so particular a friend. Bellaria, who was the very pink of courtesy (being also willing to oblige her husband) entertained Egistus, with so endearing a familiarity, that Egistus, who saw the queen of such a virtuous and courteous a disposition, had a most particular esteem for her, and took great delight in her company, whilst she, when her husband could not be present, by reason of some affairs of State, would walk with him in the garden, where
she would entertain him with pleasant and diverting discourse, to his great satisfaction; but this great, familiarity between them, had very fatal effects for it is not enough to be always innocent in our actions, but we must likewise take care that they be free from suspicion. The want of such circumspection was a very great oversight in Bellaria and Egistus; for, though there was neither evil act nor evil thought between them, yet Pandosta, considering that his wife was most beautiful, and his friend Egistus a very brave and comely personage, began to imagine that their being familiar and intimate with each other could no more be confined within the limits of virtue, than flax and fire, when joined together, could be kept from burning. For, he knew that Egistus was a man, and, therefore, subject to love, and his wife was a woman, and therefore, might be overcome; so that revolving these things in his mind, he began to be jealous, that imagining his bed was defiled, and his person dishonoured, he was restless till he had sent them to rest in their graves. For, after the devil of jealousy had once possessed him, he misconstrued all they said or did, even their most innocent and inoffensive words and actions. The queen, having no other design, in the civility and respect she shewed to Egistus, but to honour him whom her husband so loved, and for whom he himself had such a respect. And, when she saw her husband's countenance was so altered to her, that she had nothing but frowns, and sour looks, instead of that pleasant smiling aspect with which he was used to entertain her heretofore, she examined all her actions with the strictest scrutiny imaginable, and could not see wherein she had given him any just occasion for this alteration; and, therefore, intended to take a time to demand of him what it was that had rendered him more morose and out of humour than he used to be. But Pandosta, taking it for granted, that his friend Egistus had played some foul play was resolved to dissemble the grudge he bore him, that he might the better revenge the supposed injury he had received; and, therefore, opening his mind to his cup-bearer, he told him the jealousy he had conceived of Egistus: and that he was resolved to revenge it by poisoning him; and, that it might be done without any suspicion of treachery, he would refer the execution of it to his hand, and that he would liberally reward him for it. Franion, for so was the cup-bearer named, being unwilling to be an actor in such a bloody tragedy, did what he could to persuade the king from such a fatal resolution, alledging several weighty reasons for that end; but he might as well have spoken to the wind, for there was no altering of Pandosta from his purpose. Telling Franion plainly, that seeing he had already made him acquainted with his mind, he had but one of these two things to chase, that is to say, either to do what he commanded him, or be made a sacrifice himself for his disobedience, Franion promised (or at least seemed so to do) to dispatch Egistus out of the world, as soon as a fitting opportunity offered itself.
Tho' Franion, to prevent the fury of the king against his own life, had promised to take away that of Egistus, yet, he was not fully resolved on the matter, but that taking of advice on his pillow, he more sedately considered of it, and found that this was only the effect of the king's unreasonable jealousy, without any good grounds for it, being very well satisfied, that if Egistus, which he did not believe, could be guilty of so foul a thought, yet, Bellaria, whom he knew to be an extraordinary woman for goodness and virtue, would never consent to it; and, therefore, instead of poisoning Egistus, he resolved to make him, acquainted with the danger he was in, which he did accordingly. Egistus at first was hardly persuaded to believe that Pandosta could be guilty of so barbarous a treatment, to a friend, that so dearly loved him, and that came on purpose to visit him in love. But, considering what a cruel passion jealousy is, where it is once entertained, and how unreasonable also, and Franion, solemnly protesting the truth of what he told him, Egistus began to be persuaded of the truth thereof, and to consider also, that in love and kingdoms, neither faith nor laws do meet with that regard which they ought to have. And, that Pandosta, besides the glutting of his revenge upon the account of his jealousy, might also think by his death, to go and invade the kingdom of Sicily, and, in the confusion that kingdom would be in by his death, he might make a conquest, thereof, and unite it to his own. So that he received from Franion this kind information, with a gratitude suitable to the importance of it; promising, that if he would let him have his assurance in facilitating his escape, as soon as he arrived at Syracuse, which was the chief city of his kingdom, he would make him an ample amends for the hazard he would run in serving him. Then, promising he would do his utmost to serve him, and also, telling him that he had some skill in navigation, and, his being acquainted with all the ports and havens of the kingdom, and the danger of the seas, he hoped, would be of very great service to him. And, indeed, he was as good as his word herein; for, secretly joining in council with the admiral of Egistus' navy, he so ordered the matter, that they were all rigged and set a-float without any notice being taken of it by the Bohemians; and Franion acquainted Pandosta, that he had worked himself into such a familiarity with the household of Egistus, that he did not fear to accomplish what he had promised him in three or four days, and, in that time the poison he had been preparing would be fully ready. Pandosta, overjoyed that his revenge was so near being accomplished, had not the least suspicion of Franion; who by that means, had the greater liberty to carry on his design, and so greatly effected it, that, without any opposition, they all got on board; Egistus making all the haste he could, and carrying so to Pandosta as if he had no suspicion of him. Being all got ont to sea, and
the wind favouring them, Egistus, glad that he had escaped such imminent danger, joyfully sailed to Sicily, where, being arrived, he advanced Franion to honour and preferment.
Egistus and his retinue were scarcely out of sight before word of their departure was brought to the king, at which the whole city was in an uproar because they went away by night without taking their leaves; of which, though the king presently guessed the reason, yet his rage was inexpressible, or, instead of revenging himself upon Egistus, as he had designed, he now saw himself defeated, assuring himself that Franion had discovered all he knew, and their going so privately away, did confirm him in his jealously, he making that an argument of Egistus’ guilt, which was only the effect of his fear, and prudent care to get out of the clutches of him who had premeditated his death without any just cause. But, though Egistus was out of his reach, yet he was glad that Bellaria was not with him but still was within his power, and, therefore, he immediately commands her to be carried to prison until his farther pleasure was known. Bellaria, knowing nothing of all this, was under the greatest surprise imaginable, to hear that she was charged with conspiring with Egustas against her husband and of their having committed lewdness together. But, as she was a stranger to guilt, so was she to fear, and therefore, went willingly along with the guard to prison, complaining, not-withstanding, of the hardness of her fortune, that her innocence could be no defence to her.
But Pandosta, who had abandoned himself to the utmost rage, caused a proclamation to be made and published through the realm, that the queen and Egistus, by the help of Franion, who had fled with him, had not only committed adultery, but had also conspired to take away the king’s life. Though those who were, acquainted with the exemplary virtue of the queen would give no credit to the proclamation, yet, the sudden and secret departure of Egistus and Franion, gave some umbrage thereto among the common people who only judge by outward appearances Bellaria, being informed of the proclamation, and knowing her innocency, sent to the king to request that she might be brought to trial, that she might there justify her innocence, or suffer for her crimes if she was found guilty! but her husband, overcome with rage and jealousy, refused to grant either. But this was not the queen’s only unhappiness, for being with child, she expected in a short time to lie in. The king having notice given him of that circumstance by the keeper of the prison, it rather encreased his suspicion, insomuch that he swore in ⟨a⟩ great rage, 'That she, and the bastard brat she had should die, though the Gods themselves said no.' Believing the child was begot by Egistus, ⟨and⟩ not that himself was the father or it.
Bellaria was, some time after brought to bed ⟨of⟩ a fair and beautiful daughter, the news ⟨whereof⟩ being carried to Pandosta, he, instead of ⟨rejoicing⟩ thereat, determined, that both the child ⟨and⟩ the mother should be burnt. To prevent ⟨him⟩ from which his nobles laid before him the ⟨apparent⟩ innocency of the infant princess, and the ⟨unblemished⟩ character of her royal mother, who ⟨had⟩ always obeyed him with that respect, and ⟨loved⟩ him with that tenderness, that left her without ⟨the⟩ least shadow of a crime. And that even tho' ⟨she⟩ had been guilty (of which there appeared not ⟨the⟩ least proof) yet, to be banished from his bed, was a sufficient punishment, seeing it was more ⟨like⟩ the Gods, to be pitiful and forgive, than to ⟨punish⟩ offenders with extreme rigour, especially ⟨those⟩ of reason, whatever were in these ⟨allegations⟩. All the answer that Pandosta returned was, ⟨that⟩ Bellaria, being an adulteress, the child was a ⟨bastard⟩ and he would not permit so infamous a ⟨brat⟩ to call him father. Yet, he so far yielded to ⟨the⟩ importunity of his nobles, as not to lay ⟨violent⟩ hands on the child, though, at the same time, ⟨he⟩ designed to expose it to a more cruel death, and ⟨therefore⟩, ordering a little cock-boat to be made, ⟨he⟩ caused the infant to be put therein, and ⟨committed⟩ to the mercy of the sea. We cannot ⟨express⟩ the grief and lamentation of Bellaria, for the ⟨cruel⟩ sentence passed on her innocent babe, and ⟨that⟩ by its own father. But neither prayers nor ⟨tears⟩ could prevail: the little infant was committed ⟨to⟩ the mercy of the merciless waters. Bellaria was ⟨brought⟩ upon her trial; and Pandosta, not satisfied with the poor, yet cruel revenge he had taken against an infant, resolved next to glut himself with, the death of Bellaria. But this could not be done; without a trial and, therefore, assembling his nobles and counsellors, he caused her to be brought into open court, charging her with having committed adultery with Egistus, and conspiring with Franion to poison the king her husband; but, being afraid that their wickedness was found out, Egistus and Franion fled by night, and made their escape.
Bellaria perceiving nothing would satisfy her husband but her death, she plucked up her spirits, and boldly told the king, she shewed for nothing but law and justice, for she neither needed nor desired his mercy, and, therefore, hoped she would not be condemned without seeing the face of her accusers; and being heard what she could lay in her own defence, the noblemen told the king, that what the queen had spoken was but reason, and therefore, entreated the king, that her accusers might be openly sworn and examined, and, if by the proof, she was found guilty, the king would be: justified in the punishment he inflicted. The king knowing well enough he could produce no evidence, told them it was his pleasure, they would take his affirmation as sufficient evidence. Bellaria told the king, that if his will must stand for a law it was in vain for the jury to give in their verdict, and therefore, kneeling down upon her knees, she desired the king, for the love he bore to his young son Garinter, whom she brought into the world, that he would grant her only this request, which was, that he would send six of his nobleman, which he most confided in, to Delphos, to inquire of Apollo, whether she was guilty of the crimes she was accused of, or not; and if, by the sentence of the oracle, she was condemned as guilty, she would be content to suffer the greatest punishment that could be inflicted on her. This request of the queen’s was so reasonable, the king agreed that ambassadors should be forthwith dispatched to Delphos, and ordered the queen back to prison. The Lords that he sent on this embassy, were such as he knew had no great kindness for the queen, and, consequently, would not impose on him in her behalf. Their equipages being got ready, they embarked for their voyage, and in three weeks time arrived at Delphos, where, offering to Apollo and his priests the accustomed gifts, and kneeling down before the altar, they craved an answer to their demands, to which Apollo, with an audible voice, replied, ‘Bohemians, what 'you find behind the altar, that take and depart, ‘for that contains your answer.' Upon which they looked behind the altar, and found a scroll of parchment rolled up, but what was written therein they could not tell, being forbidden to open it till they had arrived in Bohemia, and come into the king’s presence, as they would avoid the displeasure of Apollo. The Bohemian Lords, having received the scroll, put it up carefully, without presuming to look into it; and so taking their leave, in a short time arrived again in Bohemia, and went to the king’s palace, where there were great crowds of people waiting to hear the decision of this grand affair. The king was glad to see his ambassadors returned, and having inquired of them what news? They told him, that they had brought an answer from Apollo in a scroll of parchment, which they were commanded not to open, till they came into the presence of the king: The noblemen, thereupon, entreated the king that the queen might be present, to hear her condemnation or acquittal; which the king immediately ordered; and, the queen being brought, the king commanded, that one of the most noble Lords should read the scroll, which accordingly he did, the words it contained being there:
Suspicion is no proof, and jealousy
Is an unequal judge this cause to try:
Bellaria is a chaste and virtuous queen;
And in Egistus there no blame was seen;
What Franion did, was murder to prevent,
And save their lives who both were innocent,
|Pandosta's treach'rous, and his thoughts are vain,
And shall ere long, without an heir remain,
Unless the child that's lost be found again.
No sooner was the scroll read, but the people gave a mighty shout, to testify their joy for the queen's being cleared of these crimes she was so falsely accused of. This infallible decision of the oracle, which the king's own conscience knew to be a true one, so confounded him, that for a good while he could not hold up his head. But at last entreating the nobles to intercede for him to Bellaria, that she should no more remember the injuries she had suffered from him, that his future carriage should convince her how much he would endeavour to make amends, by not only being a loving husband to her, but also reconciling himself to Egistus and Franion; he, thereupon freely declared what had passed between Franion and himself, with respect to Egistus, testifying his grief and sorrow for it. But scarce had he made an end of speaking, when one like a distracted person enters, and acquaints the king and queen, that the young prince Garinter was dead, which was no sooner heard by Bellaria, but oppressed by two contrary passions, one of joy for being acquitted, and one of grief, for the death of her son, the immediately fell down and gave up the ghost. These dismal accidents so overcame the king, that he fell into a swoon, and lay three days together speechless: So that nothing was heard, either in court or city, but cries and lamentations. But when the king had recovered his speech again, the bitter cries and severe reflections he made upon himself, as being the cause of both their deaths: Ah! sacred Apollo, said he, I am the author of these mischief, Bellaria is chaste and Egistus is innocent: But why should the virtuous Bellaria, and the innocent Garinter die, when it is jealous Pandosta, nay, treacherous and cruel Pandosta, in committing an innocent babe to the merciless waves, that is the cause of these misfortunes; it is I alone, alas! that am the guilty person, and only deserve to suffer. And thereupon, was going to sacrifice himself to atone for his crimes, but the Peers hindered him, and persuaded him to be comforted, and preserve himself for the good of his kingdom. With these and many other persuasions, he began to be a little pacified, and give orders for the funeral of his queen and son, which was performed with that solemn mourning, that sufficiently expressed the greatest of his sorrow; calling the following epitaph to be fairly engraved on the queen’s tomb:
Within this tomb the chaste Bellaria lies,
Beauty’s chief mirror, virtue’s richest prize;
Falsely accused, but by Apollo’s doom,
So fully clear’d, that left mistrust no room,
Then whosoe'er thou art that lookeft here,
To weep her loss, let fall a brinish tear.
But it is high time to look after that precious depositum, that cruel Pandosta committed to the merciless waves, who, having been tossed in her little boat, for two days together, upon the tempestuous ocean, was driven on the shore of Sicily, and taken up by a poor shepherd, as he passed by
to seek some sheep that he was looking after, he thought that the pretty infant’s cry had been the bleating of the starved sheep that he was looking after; he espied the boat, and saw a little child ready to die with hunger, wrapped up in a crimson-velvet mantle, embroidered round with gold, with a neck-lace about its neck, which appeared as if it had been made of stars. This neck-lace, composed of divers forts of oriental gems, was that which Pandosta gave to Bellaria when first he courted her. The shepherd seeing her turn her head about, as if to seek the pap and cry afresh, he thought that it was some distressed infant, he took it in his arms, and spreading the mantle over it, out dropt a purse of gold: and, carrying the infant to his wife, she imagined it to be his bastard, till he shewed her the pearl neck-lace and purse of gold, which convinced her to the contrary, and, thereupon, she told her husband, that heaven had seen their want, and lent them these things to relieve their poverty, and they having no child, they were fully resolved to make this child their heir. The shepherd went to keep his flock, and his wife to look after her little nursery, but was so wise as to wrap it in a plain woolen blanket, keeping it neat and clean.
When Fawnia had attained to the age of seven years, the shepherd bought the lease of an adjoining farm, and a flock of sheep of his own, and, when Fawnia was ten years old, he sent her to keep them. They letting her know nothing, but that Porrus was her father, and his wife her mother, and she paid a dutiful regard to them. Porrus, rising by slow degrees, became a man of wealth and credit in the country, and purchased a considerable deal of land, which caused several farmer’s sons to make their addresses to Fawnia, whose beauty began to distinguish her from all the rest of the country; and, indeed, she appeared rather to be some heavenly nymph, than the daughter of a shepherd; and, when she arrived at the age of sixteen, she was not the least elevated by all the praises that were given her, but always demeaned herself as became a country maid, and the daughter of a poor shepherd.
It was about this time in which Fawnia was arrived to the bloom and perfection of beauty, that Dorastus, a prince about twenty years old, had been one day a hawking; and, on the same day, there was a meeting of all the shepherds daughters of Sicily, whether Fawnia was bidden, and she attired herself in best robes, where they spent the day in such diversions as were in use among shepherds. As Fawnia went home, she desired one of her companions to go along with her to see if her flocks were folded up. It was upon this day that the prince Dorastus, in his return home, encountered these two shepherdesses, upon which he made a sudden stop, for he could not imagine that Fawnia could be any other than the goddess Diana, as he thus sat gazing on her, he became a victim of love, and he knew not what to make of it, but thought it was best to avoid the Syren that enchanted him, and so setting spurs to his horse bid the fair shepherdesses adieu, but for all the haste he made, he left his heart behind him; for her beauty so affected him, that he had neither eyes to see, nor ears to hear, nor heart to love ought but Fawnia.
Nor did Fawnia enjoy her freedom since she had seen Dorastus, as she did before, for the idea of his princely mein, and his well-featured face were still before her: she took leave of her companion, and went home, feigned herself not well, and so got straight to bed, where she dreamed of prince Dorastus, and in such restless slumbers passed away the night. Next morning, getting very early up, she went to keep her sheep, hoping that business would put off from her thought, a passion which she durst not call love, considering her low condition.
But prince Dorastus was far more impatient in his passion of love, for, neither company nor music could allay it: and this was affliction to him, that she, who was the object of his love, was now so despicable in respect of him, that he could crave no council in it, least it should be made known unto his father. But after he had been a while irresolute, he secretly withdrew himself from court, and resolved to see if he could find out Fawnia. When he had tried a great while in vain, his wandering eyes discovered Fawnia sitting alone on the descent of an adjoining hill, making a garland of such homely flowers as the Sicilian fields afforded her; and seeing her, unseen came nearer to her, to take a strict survey of her perfections, which he found such as, in her country garb, stained all the beauties of his father's court. Whilst thus he gazed on her peerless beauty, fair Fawnia chanced to cast her eye aside, and so espied Dorastus which gave her cheeks such a vermilion dye, that made her seem more beautiful; and rising up immediately she made such a model courtesy to the prince, as made him wonder how a country maid could learn that courtesy and genteel behaviour, and giving her a princely bow, he, with a smiling countenance, drew nearer, and bespoke her thus, 'Fair shepherdess, a shepherd's life, must sure be very sweet, that such a one as you delights in it; then tell me fair one, what is it that is in a shepherd's life, that can yield you so much pleasure?'
To this fair Fawnia, with a blushing face, returned this answer: 'A shepherd's calling, Sir, is truly innocent, and the results of that is sweet content: here no ambition creeps into our breasts, nor no dishonest thoughts into our hearts; we reckon our clothes fine enough, if warm, and food sufficient, that suffices nature: our only care is to keep our flocks from wolves, and pass away our hours with country songs; we take as much delight to talk of Pan and rural pranks, as lovers do, to speak of Venus and her wanton joys; our only toil is the shifting of our folds, and looking to our flocks the greatest pleasures; our greatest wealth is not to covet any, and our chief honour is to follow virtue.'
Dorastus was so taken with Fawnia's ingenious answer, that he was more confirmed in his affection, wishing her birth were answerable to her parts and beauty, for she was a match for the greatest prince that swayed a sceptre. But longing to hear more of her discourse, he thus replies to what she had said.
Dorastus. I see fair maid, you are pleased with rural labours, because you are ignorant of courtly pleasures.
Fawnia. Sure, Sir, such ignorance becomes us best, for courtly pleasures suit not our condition; mean though our pleasures are, yet they are innocent, and such become a shepherd's calling best.
Dorastus. I do believe, fair shepherdess, your aims are no higher than a country life, because you are in love with some kind shepherd.
Fawnia. No, Sir, Shepherd's cannot love, they are so simple, neither can maids, because they are too younng.
Dorastus. Nay, Fawnia, thou art old enough to love: and what if should love thee? thou knowest I can command, nay more, constrain thee too.
Fawnia. You may constrain me indeed, but not to love, for love constrained is force; I know the meanness of my birth to well, that even a farmer's son is too high for me; and yet I have that regard to sacred virtue, that I'll die, before I'll yield to a king that shall attempt to violate my honour.
Dorstus. Then, shepherdess, you cannot love Dorastus!
Fawnia. Yes, when Dorastus can become a shepherd.
Just at that word the prince's men came thither, who, finding that he had gone out alone, came to wait on him, who, tho' he thanked them not for their unwelcome diligence, yet he went back with them, and left Fawnia and his heart behind him.Dorastus, who could think of nothing but Fawnnia, could not forget her last words, 'That she would love Dorastus when he became a shepherd.' And, by the help of one of his favourite servants, he got himself a shepherd's coat and crook, which he caused to be laid in a thick grove adjoining to the palace; to which place going with only his servant, he there disrobed himself of his princely apparel, and put on his shepherd's attire, and taking his sheep-crook in his hand, he went to seek out his fair shepherdess, whom he was not long in finding. When he first drew nigh to the place where she kept her sheep, she did not know him, but took him for a real shepherd, whom at first sight she liked so well, that she thought this shepherd would be the only man to cure her of the love of Dorastus, because he was much above her, and this she might both love and obtain; but as he drew nearer, she soon found, that this shepherd was no other than Dorastus himself, and, thereupon, rose up and made a very courtly courtesy, which the prince, stepping to her, and taking her in his arms, returned with a kiss, and desired her not to wonder at his disguise, since he took it only that she might make good her word, and love him now as he was become a shepherd; and then protesting the sincerity of his passion, and how virtuous his design was in it, alledging he had honoured her more for the perfections of her mind, than the Beauties of her body, though he never beheld a more sweet and lovely person. He so fully convinced the fair Fawnia of the truth of his protestations, that she acknowledged she loved him with an equal flame, put protested, at the same time, she would never do any thing contrary to the laws of virtue and honour, for a thousand kingdoms: and then, after mutual "Vows to be true to each other, they sealed their agreement with kisses and embraces, and then parted for the time.
But the Prince, being more and more charmed with Fawnia, had resolved to have none but her, began now to think how he would get out of the kingdom for he well knew, his father would never suffer the match. And, therefore, getting his jewels and treasure together, he, by the help of Capino, his trusty servant, who had been with him from his childhood, had got a ship ready for their passage. Fawnia being as willing as he, to get out of the reach of Egistus.
And, indeed, it was time for them to make this provision; for, as simple as the shepherds seem, yet they took notice that the Prince came often to Fawnia in disguise; and some of them were so kind, as to give notice of it to old Porrus, and telling, they believed the Prince might persuade her to yield to his embraces, Porrus was put into such a damp, that he presently went to his wife, and told her all the matter, and, after consulting together, they resolved, that Porrus should take the jewels and necklace, that they found with Fawnnia and carry them to the King, to save themselves from blame, and to acquaint the King in what manner they found Fawnia. It was at this time that Capino had got the ship and all things ready, and the wind serving, Capino gave notice to the Prince to go on board; who went where Fawnia, had made up her bundle, and appointed to meet him, and so they rode to the sea side, where the mariners took them on board; Capino was following himself, and happened in his way to meet Porrus, who was then going to the King, and Capino knowing it, was resolved to divert him from the purpose, and so told him, if he would go along with him, he would help him to the speech of the King, who was gone that morning, to air himself by the sea-side; Porrus being easy of belief went with him, where when he came, Capino caused the mariners to take him on board; Porrus, finding, himself unable to resist, prayed Capino to be good to him. The ship immediately weighed, and stood out for sea. Porrus was surprised when he saw the Prince and Fawnia on board, whom he hardly knew at first, being in rich attire. The poor man entreated hard to be on shore, but all in vain. King Egistus missing the Prince, great search was made for him, but he was not to be found. For, having a prosperous gale, they designed for Italy, but the wind turning, crossed their intentions, and, by a great tempest, blew them on the shore of Bohemia; at which the Prince was much troubled, because of the difference between the two kingdoms, but such was the violence of the tempest, that they were glad to land any where. The port where they landed, belonged to the chief city of Bohemia ; the Prince was advised by Capino to change his name, and the mariners, being well paid, promised to be private; and so the took the name of Meleagus, and landed with Fawnia, at a little village, a mile distant from the city, where having taken lodgings, they were providing for their marriage. The fame of Fawnia's beauty came to the ears of Pandosta, who, as old as he was, had a mind to a young beauty, and so had a great desire to see Fawnia; and, hearing they kept matters very private, caused twelve of his guards to seize them for spies.
Dorastus and Fawnia being brought before the King, made their humble obeisance to him, who being amazed at the beauty of lovely Fawnia, stood looking upon her without speaking, till he had almost forgot himself, and at last recollecting himself, with a very stern countenance, he asked their names and country, and what business they had there; Dorastus told him that his name was Meleagus, a knight of Trapolonia, and that the gentlewoman he intended to marry, was born at Puda in Italy, from which he had just come; and her friends not consenting to the marriage, he was conveying her into Trapolonia, to have been married there, but by stress of weather was driven upon that coast.
Pandosta would not believe any thing of it, but reproached Dorastus with stealing Fawnia from her parents, which Dorastus denying with some heat, was committed to prison, and Fawnia ordered to be kept in the court, and allowed such civilities as became a stranger. Pandosta being greatly smitten with her, sent for her the next day to come to him, which she did accordingly. The king commending her beauty and parts, persuaded her to leave Meleagus, and place her affections on him, and promised to advance her to great dignity and honour: but she refused him with the greatest contempt and scorn; he having tried all ways to allure her, both by promises and threatening, day after day, at last: swore, he would compel her to love him, whether she would or not, but she resolutely replied, He might indeed take away her life, but should never deprive her of her honour and virtue.
But whilst Pandosta was thus courting Fawnia, Egistus understanding, by some Sicilian merchants in Bohemia, that his son was made a prisoner there, he sent an honourable embassage of divers of his noblemen, to entreat Pandosta to send home his son, and put Capino, Porrus, and his daughter Fawnia to death, by whom the Prince bad been deluded. Pandosta was well pleased with this embassy from king Egistus, remembering how he wronged him before, but was much surprised to find, that Meleagus, whom he had imprisoned, was the Prince Dorastus, whom he, ⟨therefore⟩, immediately released and embraced very ⟨kindly⟩, but, for all the love he bore to Fawnia, ⟨was⟩ now resolved that she should die. And, therefore, caused Capino, Fawnia, and Porrus to be ⟨brought⟩ before him. He upbraided Fawnia with ⟨pride⟩ and disdain, in refusing his love, and told ⟨her⟩, now he would be revenged on her. Who ⟨boldly⟩ answered, That since Dorastus was restored ⟨to⟩ his liberty, and father’s favour, death would be very easy to her. And then casting a glance upon Dorastus, who was ready to die with grief, she ⟨held⟩ down her head. Capino, being told, that he would have his eyes put out, and grind in a mill as long as he lived, seemed much dejected. But, Porrus being told that he must die, for presuming ⟨to⟩ marry his daughter to the son of a King, made this reply.
Seeing, O King, and ye noble ambassadors of Sicily, I am condemned to die without a cause, give me leave to disburden my conscience before my death, I will tell you as much as I know, and speak no more than is true; though I am accused of Fawnia’s pride, and she disdained as a beggar, I now tell you, I am none of her father, neither is she a beggar-child. I being a poor Shepherd, going to look after a strayed sheep, by the sea-side, saw a little boat driven upon the shore, in which I found an infant of about a week old, wrapped in a mantle of crimson velvet, having a chain of pearls and jewels about her neck: This infant I took pity upon, and bred up as my own daughter, and I named her Fawnia; what her parentage is I know not, but here are the things I found with her. Let me see them, let me see them, cried Pandosta, hastily; which he had no sooner shewn, but Pandosta, knowing the neck-lace, rose up immediately, ran to Fawnia, and embracing her in his arms, cried out, My daughter, my daughter! My dear Fawnia, I am thy father; and this is the neck-lace I gave thy mother.
These transporting words and actions of ⟨the⟩ King, filled them all with wonder, especially Dorastus and Fawnia; but the King, rehearsing before the ambassadors, the whole matter, and expressing a great deal of grief for what he had done, convinced them that this was the child he had sent a floating to the sea; at the same time relating them what the oracle of Apollo said "That he should die without an heir, unless the child that was lost should be found.'
But to tell the universal joy that ensued on this discovery, is a talk too great for my pen: You may be sure Fawnia was glad to find such a royal father, and Dorastus was equally joyful he had such a Princess in the person of Fawnia, whom now he doubted not of having for his wife; Porrus was made a Knight, for being the cause of ⟨all⟩ this joy and, soon after, Pandosta, with ⟨his⟩ daughter Fawnia, and his intended son-in-law, prince Dorastus, went over to Sicily to Egistus, to whom this discovery gave an equal joy where Dorastus and Fawnia were married with exceeding great triumph, and afterwards reigned many years happily, both over Bohemia and Sicily.
Thus we see, the Providence of GOD
Is great to them who never heard his word:
And should not we, who see and hear it still,
Depend with pleasure on his sacred will.
PRINTED BY J. AND M. ROBERTSON,
[No. 18] Saltmarket, 1807.
This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.