Famous history of the two unfortunate lovers, Hero & Leander (1840-1850)

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Famous history of the two unfortunate lovers, Hero & Leander (c. 1840–1850)
3200567Famous history of the two unfortunate lovers, Hero & Leanderc. 1840-1850















How Leander, returning in triumph from his eastern victories, fell in love with the beauteous Hero and she with him; and of the strange vision of the Goddess Venus, appearing to Hero, and what she represented.

When Greece flourished in riches and renown, becoming by virtue and valorous achievements, tho glory of the whole world, having subdued to itself not only the Persian empire, but almost all India, and indeed tho most part of Asia, then it was that the famed Leander, after many warlike exploits, and bringing into subjection divers countries, as general of the Grecian forces, coming back with his victorious army, adorned with laurels and trumpets, had his praises sung every where, whilst the crowding spectators flowed from all parts to behold him as he passed in a triumphal chariot; and among tho rest of the Asian beauties, the fairest of her sex, and even the very mirror of beauty, Hero, daughter of a prince who had a stately castle called Sestus, situate upon the banks of the Hellespont, or narrow sea, of about two miles over, which parts Europe from Asia; she that day was adorned in the richest attire that gold, silks, and jewels, could set out to the highest illustration, glittering like the morning star, or a goddess in a radient cloud. She was in a chariot drawn by four white horses, in silver trappings, and shadowing plumes of feathers of various colours, attended by a train of servants dressed in the richest garments that could be got, and with her, as her companions, were divers beautiful virgins, so that she appeared like Diana surrounded with her nymphs, yet outshining them as far as the sun does the glittering stars. This object soon made Leander fix his eyes upon it with admiration, and though he devoted himself to the god of war, and gave laws to nations, yet now the god of love put in to gain a victory over him, who before had been esteemed unconquerable, the queen of love seemed to guide his thoughts, and take up his cogitations; he wished ho might lay his laurels and trophies at this fair lady’s feet, and found an inward fire kindled, that made him love this fair stranger before he knew what she was, or what quality, yet could guess by all that appeared, she was no less than noble. When his triumphant chariot had passed her, he could not but turn his eyes back to behold her; and, like the love sick son to his fair Lancothe, was loth to go out of her sight; he thought once or twice to order his attendants to enquire who she was, but then other thoughts countermanded them, when he considered that his famo and glory would be eclipsed, if, just returned from the wars of Mars, he should be suspected to incline to the soft tents of Venus; so that without any inquiry, coming to the sea-side, he embarked his army on board the ships which lay ready to transport him into Greece, when setting sail with a fair wind, whilst Neptune and his Tritons danced before him, he at length reached the joyful shores, filled with the people from all parts who came to welcome him with music, songs, &c., and thronged after him to his palace of Abidos, where his father and mother with open arms received him, and all the states of Greece came to congratulate his success, proclaiming aloud his victories, and held ten day’s festival in their capital cities, in honour of his brave exploits and achievements over so many nations.

Leander, during the general rejoicing, was very thoughtful in disposing his army, and settling his affairs, which being done, he thought to betake himself to repose after the tedious toil of war, but beauteous Hero opposed it; he thought she was always in his sight, for sleeping or waking his fancy and all her dreams represented her unto him all lovely and charming, so that he could no longer stifle his flame, but signally showed by the alteration of his countenance, that something inwardly disturbed him; his parents and friends wondering at so sudden a change, and not knowing the cause, urged him to discover it, but he, being very prudent, put them off with fictions.

While Leander was at this pass, the fair Hero no less surprised at the sight of him represented to herself all that was great and worthy to be admired in mankind, in him, so that their flames and passions were equal: though either was ignorant of it, she was so taken up with the thoughts of him, that it deprived her of her natural rest, and was pleased with nothing more than to hear of the great actions he had done, the relation of which was music to her ears, and joy to her heart, and often she would ask Amorissa, her nurse, who had brought her up, in whom she alone confided, what she had heard of the famous Grecian captain since he had passed the sea? This woman being of a ready and quick understanding, found by the young lady’s often changing colour, and sometimes hearing a sigh escape when she spoke of Leander, that she had more than ordinary concern for him, resolving to dive more deeply into her thoughts, she urged her many times to know why she so earnestly enquired into the fame and welfare of his person above all others? But she answered either with silence, or that she did no more in that than every body did of so brave a man: but one night Amorissa being to watch in the chamber of the fair Hero, whose inward fire had, by burning too fierce, somewhat distempered her health, she heard her in her slumber cry out, Oh! how cruel is the god of love to an innocent virgin to give such a sorrowful wound without hope of cure? She had scarce said this, when she fancied in her dream, as she afterwards declared, she beheld Leander standing by her in a most lovely and charming shape, and the goddess Venus, as it were, presenting her with these words,

Behold, fair maid, what you desire,
His breast I’ve fill’d with equal fire,
Both shall enjoy what either craves,
Till love is quench’d in Neptune’s waves.

Having thus said, Leander seemed to embrace her and she him, very tenderly and with ardent affection, when a great sea of water seemed to flow into the place on a sudden, and parted them; at which she started, between sleep and wake cried at in a fright, O my Leander! my love, how or where have I lost you? and so awoke with rosy blushes on her cheeks, and tears in her eyes, and being told of this by Amorissa, she could no longer deny her love, whereupon she promised her best assistance, which she faithfully performed, as will hereafter appear.


How Leander passed the sea to prosecute his love with Hero, and by what means he delivered her and her father from death, and slew a great number of their enemies that had beset them in a wood, with other particulars.

Love having thus gained a double conquest, and both the lovers ignorant of each other’s passion, Leander grew impatient, forming in his mind many schemes how he might come to the speech of his fair Hero, whose image had made so deep an impression on his heart. At length he resolved to pass over into Asia as a private person, to wait there a while for a favourable opportunity of seeing his beloved. He could see her castle from the shore of Europe, and often walked thither for that purpose. Going one day as usual, and finding a small bark in a private harbour between two rocks, he, without the knowledge of any one, agreed with the master to transport him to the farther shore, which he did with a favourable gale, and landed him by the side of a forest, some distance from Sestus, the castle of his beloved Hero, and having dismissed the master of the bark with a reward suitable to his labour, he set him down to consider the best method to be taken without giving offence.

He had not been there long before ho heard dismal cries as of people in distress, and presently a man all bloody and wounded came running out of the forest, whereupon mounting his horse which he had brought with him, he came up to the miserable person, and demanding who had misused him? to whom, with a faint voice he replied, certain pirates lying in ambush in the forest, had set upon prince Armelious and his train, and had killed many of them, yet those that remained valiantly defended their prince, therefore, for goodness-sake, said he to Leander, if you are generous, hasten to their assistance ere it is too late.

Leander, who had always a noble soul, and took great delight to relieve the distressed, needed not to be incited to such an enterprise, set spurs to his horse, being directed to the place by the continued cries, and found the prince, most of whoso men were slain, valiantly defending himself, his back being to a tree, against nine or ten of the villains: he easily perceived who the oppressors were, and flying in amongst them like a tempest, beat all down before him, cutting off the heads of some, and the arms of others as they were about to strike, making their swords drop useless from their hands; this put new courage into Armelious and his wounded men, who yet survived their fellows, so that lustily laying about them, all but three of these pirates were slain, who, being likewise wounded, escaped among the trees; Armelious had scarce time to thank the generous Leander, when hearing the cries of his daughter, whom others of this rout were carrying away prisoner, he besought him on his knees to bend his course to her assistance. Leander now all covered with the blood of his enemies, turned his horse to the path, followed the cry, and soon overtook them; but oh! how astonished was he, when he saw, and knew the lady, though in tears and disordered, to be the beauteous Hero, lie lifted up his hands to heaven for directing him to this forest, at a time when the fairest of creatures was in danger, and being excited by love and revenge, fell upon them like a thunderbolt breaking from a cloud, dying afresh his sword, not dried from the former blood, at which the trembling lady died away to see such fatal strokes, which at every blow brought death to one or other of them, so that despairing to carry off their precious prize, when defended by one whom they supposed to be much more than man, those that could, fled, and those that could not, left their lives behind them.

By this time Armelious and his company were come to lend what assistance they could, and seeing fair Hero rescued, they would have fallen at the feet of their deliverer, but he generously withheld them from doing it, alledging that he had done nothing but what all good and just men ought to hazard in such cases, to rescue the oppressed, and punish the oppressor; by this time the alarm being taken, a great crowd of people came flocking from the neighbouring parts, with such weapons as came to their hands, and hearing what wonders this stranger had done, and that it was to his valour alone they owed the safety of their prince and his fair daughter, they saluted him with shouts of joy, but his thoughts were so perplexed for Hero, that he little regarded their applauses, for she, by the fright, and seeing so much blood shed, was fallen into a swoon, but reviving at length, she was put into a chariot that stood by the forest side, and conveyed to the castle of Sestus; Leander being in this encounter unknown to her, by reason his face was all covered with the blood of his enemies; Armelious entreated him to go with him to the castle, to which he seemingly consented, but it growing dark, he took an opportunity to withdraw himself till he might better consider how to manage his love affairs; and so went that night to a neighbouring village, where he refreshed himself, and presenting the master of the house with some jewels, desired him not to let any one know he was there, if enquiry was made, which he promised and performed.


How Leander won a rich diamond in a tournament, which he presents to Hero, with a letter in it manifesting his love; and overthrew a great many men that lay in ambush to take his life.

Hero being pretty well come to herself, made a strict enquiry after her deliverer, and when she was told he had secretly withdrawn himself, her eyes could not refrain from tears, that she had not a convenient opportunity to thank him for her deliverance; yet more, she could not but wonder who this gallant stranger should be, and sent to divers places to enquire after him: sometimes she thought it could be none but the famed Leander, but those thoughts were again dashed with the considerations of his being passed over into Europe, and taking up there with the welcome of triumphs. After many great rejoicings for this happy deliverance, a solemn tilt and tournament was ordered, wherein the conqueror was to have a golden coronet set with diamonds, and other precious jewels. The glorious spot of marshal prowess was proclaimed by the heralds, which soon reached Leander’s ear; whereupon, not to be behind hand, he left his lodging, and rode to Persepolis, a famous city near at hand, and there bought a change of armour, having on his shield a flaming heart, on which the sun darted some rays through a cloud, with this inscription, She for whom I suffer is ignorant of my love.

Leander thus accoutred, took an opportunity to come to the tilt just as the trumpets were sounding to action, and found divers champions in readiness, well mounted, who upon the signal, ran two and two together, and broke their lances with divers success, many being laid in the dust; but above all, the prince Persepolis, who was enamoured of the fair Hero, and to whom her father designed her to wed, unhorsed all that came near him; and though he was a man of an ill temper, and little beloved of any, glorying in his achievements, in a braving manner came and demanded the prize as his due, unless any other knight would dare to attempt any thing further against him. Leander, who had all this time stood still, that he might be crowned with the greater victory, induced by those he had foiled, putting spurs to his horse, entered the list, and demanded combat against him; they no sooner encountered but the prince was overthrown, together with his horse, as if he had been thunderstruck, which disgrace some of his followers attempting to retrieve, ran the same risk, so that in the end none daring to appear against him, the prize was declared his; which he had no sooner received, but he laid it at the feet of his most lovely Hero, telling her, That above all the world, she alone was worthy of so fair a diadem. She most modestly refused, and said it was the prize of his valour. But he entreated her in so particular a manner, that at length she accepted it, declaring she would keep it for his sake. Many admiring this, some with wonder, and others not without jealousy; prince Armelious was well pleased with it, as imagining this stranger could be no other than his gallant deliverer; and the jests being ended, he caused a lord near him to go and invite him into the hall, where a sumptuous entertainment was provided; but Leander, who had his face all the while covered, and not yet willing to discover himself, returned the prince his humble thanks in the most obliging expressions imaginable, but desired to be excused, saying, he had taken his repast already, and obliged himself by promise to return as soon as the sport was ended.

This speech satisfied the prince, in that he ever held, that a man of honour was always punctual to his word: But the prince of Persepolis inwardly grieved at this stranger’s carrying away the glory of the day, and fearing he might prove a rival in his love, (he being passionately enamoured of the fair Hero) sent twelve of his followers after him to murder him, and then to bury him privately that it might not be known.

These men planted themselves in a wood he was to pass, and when he came opposite them, they all rushed out upon him with their drawn swords, and gave him a furious assault; but he who was never used to fear, drew his trusty sword that had never failed him, and laid about him so furiously, that in a very short time he sent eleven of them to keep company with the dead, while he that remained, fell on his knees and begged his life, which he generously gave him, upon his confessing who employed them; on hearing which, Leander could not but wonder how any nobleman could be guilty of such baseness; and then commanding him to rise, Go, wretched man, said he, and tell thy master, that treachery never prospers, and that I wear a sword which may one day let him see the difference between manhood and sueh inglorious aets as these.

The trembling man, glad his life was given him, having, by Leander’s orders, dragged his slain eompanions into the wood, with mueh thankfulness took his leave, and related the fatal miscarriage, and also what Leander had given him in charge, which put the prince of Persepolis into an extraordinary rage, so that he foamed and eursed his misfortunes; in whieh fret we leave him and return to Hero.


How when the fair Hero read Leander’s letter, she was transported with joy, and sent Amorissa her servant with a letter in search of him. How he killed a cruel beast which was going to devour Amorissa; with several other remarkable passages.

You have heard how Hero had reeeived the present of Leander, which she euriously surveying, perceived in the eurious needle that adorned the cap of it, a little roll of paper thrust in, which she eagerly, but not without blushing, took out and read it in these words:

‘Fairest of creatures, it is not without cause, that all that cast their eyes on you, become lovers and admirers of your noble perfeetions, pardon me then, if amongst the rest I have presumed to gaze on so bright an objeet, which has not only dazzled my eyes, but penetrated my heart, and inflamed me with a desire to serve you: my life and fortune, madam, I lay at your feet, and by my obedience, if permitted to be ranked among the number of your adorers, I hope to gain some little spark of your condescending goodness to love me, or give me at least your esteem, when you come to know who your faithful servant is, who must beg leave to subscribe himself your entirely devoted.’


When the princess read this letter, she was transported with joy, and called Amorissa to consult what was best to be done, and it was agreed between them that Amorissa should go in search of him with the following letter:

‘Sir, though you are a stranger with whom I never had any conversation, yet the fame of Leander’s virtues and renowned deeds, which have taken up the discourse of all the world, cannot, you may well imagine, but have reached the ears of Hero, and created in her an esteem worthy of so deserving a person; but how you could conceive so great a passion as you expressed in your letter, upon so slight a view, I cannot hastily believe, since the greatest queen on earth would be proud of Leander’s courtship, and set a diadem on his head for love; I think, if I mistake not, I owe my life, at least my liberty and honour, which is dearer to me than both, to your valour, and, therefore, in gratitude return you my thanks, and cannot but declare, that it is just when I am an enemy to myself that I will be so to Leander. The rest I leave to the bearer, in whom you may repose any confidence, and so take leave to subscribe myself yours in friendship and good wishes.’


And as she was riding by the side of a wood, she got information of such a person as she described having entered the said wood a few hours before. Amorissa immediately pursued the intelligence she got, till she came to the place where the fight had been, where seeing the grass and leaves dyed with blood, she started in a fright and would fain have returned, but her steed being headstrong, carried her away by force. She had not rode far before she heard a monster terribly roaring, who had scented the blood of the slain, and was making towards them to satiate his hungry maw; but upon hearing the noise of her horse’s feet, made after her at full cry, which unusual sound piercing the ears of Leander as he sat by the side of a rivulet, washing off the blood and dust from his face and armour, occasioned by the combat, whereat, clapping on his helmet, he came into the way with his drawn sword, and perceiving a woman flying and crying for help before a monstrous beast, he made haste to save her, but she through fear falling down in a swoon, missing her, tore and rent the horse in a miserable manner. Leander being come up, the monster made at him with all his might, and Leander with a home-thrust pierced his heart, that he fell down dead with a dismal cry. When he had done this, he came to Amorissa and saluted her, who now began to recover her senses; demanding what adventure had brought her such a dangerous way? at these words, opening her eyes, and fixing them upon him, she immediately knew him to be the person that had won the prize at Sestus, and the man she was in search after, whereupon she fell at his feet, and, with tears of joy in her eyes, said, Suro heaven is this day favourable to me, and to the fair Hero, in delivering me from death, and is, I hope, putting an end to a more tedious search.

Leander, when he heard the name of Hero, started, and a little after recovering himself again, took Amorissa in his arms, and tenderly embracing her, said, for heaven’s sake let me hear that heavenly sound again. I think, continued he, you named Hero; I did so, my lord, said she, and hope you are Leander; I am so, said he: whereupon she gave him the letter. Upon reading of which, he said, I am the happiest man on earth, but think you, said he, I may ever be so blessed as to see my Hero alone, and presume to tell her my love without offending.

Amorissa undertook this, but begged that affairs might be carried on as privately as possible, for that Altemnansor, prince of Persepolis, had declared himself a lover of the princess Hero, and by reason of the power he had in that country, and his influence over the father of her mistress, might much obstruct their loves, if not make it prove of fatal consequence. To all this Leander consented, and gave himself wholly up to be conducted by her management.


How Hero and Leander met, and the mutual agreement they made; and how Leander prepared to go to Sestus to gain her father's consent.

The joyful Leander now resolved to go to Sestus, and took Amorissa (whose horse the monster had killed) up behind him; by her directions they came to a curious garden, about half a mile from the palace, to which Hero used, in the cool of the evening to resort: of this garden she had the keys, and here they entered, where she left him till she went and fetched her mistress. When the fair Hero came near the arbour where Leander was, he ventured out, and with a low submission, falling at her feet, thus expressed himself. Pardon me, divine creature, if I thus presume to prostrate myself before you, in hopes that so much goodness can pardon a crime of so high a nature, and especially this, seeing it is authorised by love, whose commands must be obeyed, and whose flames are irresistable. O turn not away those dazzling suns of light that guide me to my happiness; but let those orient eyes shine upon me with beams of comfort that I may live by the brightness of their rays, and the smiles of my fair Hero. Ho would have proceeded, but Hero entreated him to rise, and Amorissa advising them to go into the arbour, as well to keep them from the heat, as from the prying eyes that might be upon them; the two lovers obeyed, being both overjoyed at so happy a meeting. In the arbour, whilst he gently squeezed her hand, which she permitted him to kiss, she told him she hoped he would not misconstrue her actions, in being so forward in granting him favours she had never granted to any one living: then it was agreed that he should make his public appearance next day at the castle of Sestus, but to be very cautious how he made love to her in public, or shewed the least sign of it, till she knew how her father stood inclined to favour him, for though she loved Leander entirely, yet she looked upon the consent of her parents as material.


Leander’s fatal dream, and the treachery of the prince of Persepolis to oppose his love. Hero’s father entertains him with joy, yet denies his consent, in favour of the prince of Persepolis.

The best and constant lovers having had the mutual satisfaction of an interview, and in their hearts inseparably linked by the chains of love, Hero and Amorissa retired, and Leander rosolved to take up his abodo, seeing tho sun was near set, in that lodge till the next morning; when, after many thoughts coming into his head, he fell asleep, and fancied he had fair Hero in his arms, dancing on SIC waves, and riding triumphant in Neptune’s chariot, as if commanding the seas, when Æolus, the god of the wind, conspired with all his force, to raise a mighty and prodigious storm, which overset his chariot; whereat, for fear of losing Hero, who seemed to roll with him on the watery surge, he started and awoke much troubled at such an unusual dream; but concluded it only the fancy of the night, and of his extraordinary love, he hushed those cares, and considered how to dispose of himself next day.

Morning being come, he laid his armour in a safe place, and took only his horse, and went to the castle of Sestus, where the bridge being down, and the gates opened, he entered, and took a secret lodging in a little house in the remotest place, where Amorissa often visited him, and divers letters passed betwixt him and Hero, who sometimes admitted him into her lodgings. At length Hero resolved, that if she could not gain her father’s consent, she would without farther delay marry Leander, and pass over into Greece with him; but just as these thoughts filled her breast, her father came to charge her to entertain Altemansor’s love, laying before her the advantage of such an alliance, the power and riches of that prince, &c., but she answered him with tears and entreaties, that she might not have a man she could not love; this put the old man in a great rage, protesting not only to disown her, but disinherit her for ever, if she disobeyed him. This news she sent Leander in a letter all blotted with tears, which made him for sometime like a man beside himself, but resolving to hazard all for his mistress, he concluded to appear like himself, and so in the most rich attire, which he sent for out of Greece, he appeared one of the most goodly persons that had ever been seen at the court; so that all admired who this stranger should be, till Hero’s father one day casting his eyes upon him as he passed by, ran to him with tears in his eyes, crying out, O my deliverer and good angel, have I found you again! How is it that you left us after you had saved us from a death that was so near us? Leander made modest excuses on this account, saying, It was no more than in honour he ought to have done. The old man was still more abundantly transported when he knew it was prince Leander, and took him to the palace, shewed him all the choice rarities, and made great feasting for several days, desiring him to demand whatever was in his power to oblige him with, and he would grant it immediately.

Leander thinking now was the time, said, sir, for all the favours you have done me, and the offers you have made me, I return you my most humble thanks; there is but one thing in the world I desire of you, and if I could but think you would grant it, I would freely demand it. Demand then, said he. It is, said Leander, with your leave, to serve the princess Hero. Armelious started and looked pale, protesting that had he not already promised her to Altemansor, there was no man under heaven he could more gladly bestow her on, than Leander, whose fame and worth had spread over all Asia and Europe; but having sworn to give her him before the high altar, he could not go back from his oath; or if he should, he being powerful in those parts, would take her by force, and lay his inheritance waste; but Leander told him that should never be while he wore a sword. But no entreaties could prevail with him for his consent; and Hero having promised to die rather than marry any but Leander, though she stood much upon her obedience, Leander could not tell what would be the consequence. So coming to Hero, told her the sad news, who gave him fresh assurances of her love and constancy; whereupon he told her the treachery of Altemansor, and that neither him nor her were safe on that shore, but if she would go with him into Greece, he would marry her royally there; but she still insisted upon her obedience, and told him that time would mollify her father’s heart.


How prince Altemansor hired one to poison Leander, but was prevented; how he afterwards attempted to murder Leander in his bed, but was himself killed upon the spot. With several more remarkable passages; concluding with the unhappy death of these two unfortunate lovers.

By this time the news of Leander’s coming to court being known to Altemansor, the person that had escaped having told him that it was the same that overthrew him at the tournament, and had destroyed his men in the wood, he was greatly enraged; and having secret notice he pretended love to his mistress, he hired one of Leander’s servants to poison him with a glass of wine, but as soon as he was putting it towards his lips, it flew in pieces, whereupon tho wretch seeing the treachery discovered, fell on his knees, begging pardon, and disclosed the whole matter; upon which, this and the former treachery was published to the disgrace and anger of Altemansor. Hero’s father was much displeased with this, and went sharply to reprove him, whieh made him rage the more, and vow revenge; yet knowing Leander to be a prinee of great eourage, and having suffieiently tried his strength, durst not challenge him to the combat, but thought if he could any ways destroy him, it would open his way to Hero’s love: wherefore one night he broke into his lodgings with about twenty men, which ereating some noise, Leander, who had not time to put on his elothes, got his sword, and defended himself so well, that he killed the prince and most of his followers, which so alarmed the castle, that all were up in arms, when Leander, fearing to be opposed, or that revenge would be taken for this proud prince, made his retreat good with the slaughter of his enemies, and getting to a window that jutted into the sea, leaped into the waves, swam to the shores of Greeee, and arrived safe at Abidos. He thought for these many treaeheries to have brought over a powerful army to spoil Persepolis, but the secreey of his love, and desire not more to offend Hero’s father, who was already outrageous for the death of Altemansor. he desisted from that resolution. He sent a trusty servant to hear how things were resented, who told him on his return, that his fair mistress was confined by her father in a little tower whieh jutted into the sea from the castle, and there mourned her eaptivity and his absenee.

Leander at this was altogether impatient, and resolved at any terms to free her; whereupon he got two of his trusty servants to row him over in a little boat, in the night timo, and being furnished with a ladder of ropes, came safe under the window; and calling with a loud voice, Amorissa, who waited on her mistress, soon heard him, and by his direction fastened the rope-ladder to the beam of the window, by which he entered. Hero, who was just awakened, trembled to see him there, by reason of her father having promised, if Leander should be taken, to deliver him up to Altemansor’s brother to be punished, who was as cruel and blood-thirsty as the other had been; so that after many kisses and embraces, Leander endeavoured to persuade Hero to make her escape with him to Abidos, but she refused it, so that in this private manner he often visited her; she setting in the dark of night a torchlight in the window, to guide him to the tower. At length her father resolved to marry her to Altemansor’s brother within three days, though she opposed it with her tears and prayers, to prevent a war, and to atone for his brother’s death. This fatal decree possessed Hero with mortal fears; so that she seeing no hope but either to destroy herself, or be forced into the arms of a man she hated, for Leander’s proffered aid, in case of war, would not be accepted by her father, she consented that the next night he should come with a small ship to fetch her and Amorissa with all her jewels and treasures into Greece. The overjoyed Leander went back to prepare a vessel, which he soon did, and caused it to be drawn in between two rocks, lest his purpose might be discovered to the other shore, till it was evening, when, being weary, and lying down to slumber, ho was suddenly awoke by a melodious song sung by two mermaids, who appeared dancing on the waves.


Awake Leander, see the skies
Do in the blackest tempest rise;
In Neptune’s watery kingdom
Two lovers shall entombed be;
Whose sad mishap the sea-gods all,
With us lament their funeral:
The cruel ghosts’ revenge to crave,
But fate decrees them to their grave.

We pity lovers that are crost,
And in their highest hopes so lost:
When nearest to their hopes they seem,
They find all but a golden dream ;
Then do cross winds bear away
Their hopes. Leander, prithee stay;
But thee too forward fate drives on,
By love the best of lovers are undone.

Leander hearing this, admired much at it, and found a little heaviness on his mind, however, ho resolved to keep his word. About sunset a mighty tempest arose, the sea swelled in terror, and all seemed a sudden midnight, when, going towards the vessel, he perceived it had broke its cable, and had driven out to sea with the men on board it; he hailed them as loud as he could, but they stood away before the wind, and could not get back. Then he ran about the shore to get another vessel, but could find none; so that seeing a light in Hero’s turret, by which he knew she expected him, he resolved to run any hazard rather than break his word, and so stripping himself to the shirt, and hiding his clothes in the rock, he leaped into the sea, in hopes to overtake the vessel, or find it at the place appointed, and so floated on the waves till he was half the sea over, when, as if all the elements had conspired his ruin, rain, thunder, lightning, and winds handed him from wave to wave, calling to heaven, and on his fair Hero’s name, till clashing among the rocks on the other side, lost his noble life; and Hero, who had impatiently expected him all that night, with greedy eyes looked out trembling in the morning, and there, by the too cruel fate of the rigid destinies, she beheld his body floating on the waves; at this she cried out in a lamentable manner, and calling upon his name, leaped out and perished in the waves, which, after they were dead, drove them on shore, folded arm in arm; which sad tragedy being known, they were pitied by all as great examples of love and constancy, and buried in one grave. Hero’s father soon after dying for grief, because of the cruelty he had used towards the lovers.


This work was published before January 1, 1929, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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