Page images

dog, likewise, which I specially value, I entrust to your care ; and, on pain of instant death, let there be no deficiency in attendance upon my daughter. You shall supply the soldiers with all that they require ; but observe that the dog is securely chained, and fed sparingly, so that his ferocity may abate." The seneschal approved of all the emperor's injunctions, and promised faithfully to comply with them; instead of which he acted in direct opposition. The dog was fed with the most unsuitable food, and not guarded as he ought to have been. He diminished the comforts, and even denied the necessaries of life to the lady. He robbed the soldiers of their pay, who being needy and unemployed, roamed over the country in great distress. As for the poor girl, forsaken and destitute, she passed from her chamber into the court-yard of the hall which she occupied, and seating herself upon the pavement, gave free course to her sorrows.

Now the dog, whose savage nature improper aliment had augmented, burst, by a sudden and violent movement from the bonds that enchained him, and tore

her limb from limb. When this afflicting circumstance was known in the kingdom, it excited universal regret. Messengers were immediately despatched to the emperor, who hastened his return with all possible expedition. The seneschal was summoned before him, and asked categorically why the lady was unprovided for, the soldiers unpaid, and the dog improperly fed, contrary to his express command. But the man was unable to answer, and offered not the least excuse. The torturers, therefore, were called in; he was bound hand and foot, and thrown into a red-hot furnace. The emperor's decree gave satisfaction to the whole empire. (25)


My beloved, the emperor is our Lord Jesus Christ; the fair daughter is the human soul; the five soldiers are the five senses, and the dog is carnal affections, which disturb and slay the spirit. The triple chain is love to God—the fear of offending him, and shame

when we have done so. The seneschal is any man to whom the care of the senses,' and the guardianship of the soul is committed.




In the kingdom of a certain empress there lived a soldier who was happily espoused to a noble, chaste, and beautiful wife. It happened that he was called upon to take a long journey, and previous to his departure he said to the lady" I leave you no guard but your own discretion ; I believe it to be wholly sufficient.” He then embarked with his attendants. Pleased with the confidence reposed in her, she continued at her own mansion, in the daily practice of every virtue. A short period had elapsed, when the urgent entreaties of a neighbour prevailed with her to appear at a festival; where, amongst other guests, was a youth, upon whom the excellence and beauty of the lady made a deep impression. He became violently enamoured of her, and despatched various emissaries to declare his passion, and win her to approve his suit. But the virtuous lady received his advances with the utmost scorn, and vehemently reproached him for his dishonesty. This untoward repulse greatly disconcerted the youth, and his health daily declined. It chanced, that on one occasion he went sorrowfully towards the church ; and, upon the way, an old woman accosted him, who by pretended sanctity had long obtained an undue share of reverence and regard. She demanded the cause of the youth's apparent uneasiness. “ It will nothing profit thee to know," said he. “ But," replied the old woman," it may be much to your advantage: discover the wound, and it is not impossible but a remedy may be procured. With the aid of Heaven'it may easily be effected-shew it me." Thus


urged, the youth made known to her his love for the lady. “Is that all ?” said the beldam-" return to your home, I will find a medicine that shall presently relieve you." Confiding in her assurances, he went his way, and the other commenced her devices.

It seems she possessed a little dog, which she had accustomed to fast for two successive days; on the third, she made bread of the flour of mustard, and placed it before the pining animal. As soon as it had tasted the bread, the pungent bitterness caused the water to spring into its eyes, and the whole of that day tears flowed copiously from them. The old woman, accompanied by her dog, posted to the house of the lady whom the young man loved; and the opinion entertained of her sanctity secured her an honourable and gracious reception. As they sat together, the lady noticed the weeping dog, and was curious to ascertain the cause. The crone told her not to inquire, for that it involved a calamity too dreadful to communicate. Such a remark, naturally enough, excited still more the curiosity of the fair questioner, and she

« PreviousContinue »