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4. The Athenians, persuaded that they had no pardon to expect from Demetrius, determined to die sword in hand, and passed a decree, which condemned to death those who shonld first propose to surrender to that prince; but they did not recollect that there was but little corn in the city, and that they would, in a short time, be in want of bread.
5. Want soon convinced them of their errour; and after having suffered hunger for a long time, the most reasonable among them said, It would be better that Demetrius should kill us at once, than for us to die by the lingering death of famine. Perhaps he will have pity on our wives and children.' They then opened to him the gates of the city.
6. Demetrius having taken possession of the city, ordered that all the married men should assemble in a spacious place appointed for the purpose, and that the soldiery, sword in hand, should surround them. Cries and lamentations were then heard from every quarter of the city ; women embracing their busbands, children their parents, and all taking an eternal farewell of each other.
7. When the married men were all thus collected, Demetrius, for whom an elevated situation was provided, reproached them for their ingratitude in the most feeling manner, insomuch that he himself could not help shedding tears. Demetrius for some time remained silert, while the Athenians expected, that the next words he uttered would be to order his soldiers to massacre them all.
8. It is hardly possible to say what must have been their surprise, when they heard that good pringe say, 'I wish to convince you how ungenerously you have treated me : for it was not to an enemy you have refused assistance, but to a prince who loved you, who still loves you, and who wishes to revenge himself only by granting your pardon, and by being still your friend. Return to your own homes : while you have been here, my soldiers have been filling your houses with provisions."
Alcander and Septimius. 1. ALCANDER and Septimius were two Athenian students, whose taste for the arts and sciences became the foundation of their future friendship, and they were scarcely ever seen apart. Although Alcander's breast was animated by that tender sentiment, a still more lively one found entrance, and the fair Hypa. tia became the object of his love: he declared his passion, and was accepted.
2. Septimius happened to have left the city when his friend Arst saw the blooming fair one, and did not return until the day fixed upon for his marriage. The moment that introduced him to the view of such perfection, was fatal to his peace; and the struggle between love and friendship became too violent for his resolution. A sudden and dangerous fever attacked him ; and the unsuspicious Alcander introduced the object of his affection, to assist him in the unwearied care of his friend.
3. The moment the physicians beheld Hypatia enter, they were no longer at a loss to account for their patient's illness ; and calling Alcander aside, they informed him of the nature of it, and also expressed their fears that Septimius' recovery.was impossible! Tortured between the dread of losing the friend of his heart, and agonized at the idea of relinquishing the object of his affection, his anguish for some time deprived him of ut. terance; but recovering that fortitude which had ever marked his conduct, he flew to the bedside of his apparently dying friend, and promised to renounce his claim to Hypatia, if she consented to a union with Septimius.
4. Whether Hypatia had not been strongly attached to the amiable Alcander, or whether compassion urged her to accept the hand of bis friend, is uncertain ; but they were united ; quitted Athens, and went directly to Septimius' house at Rome. Hypatia's friends imagining Alcander had relinquished his betrothed bride for the sake of a rick reward, commenced an action against him for a breach of promise ; and the judges, biassed by the representations of his enemies, ordered that he should pay a fine amounting to more than his whole property.
5. The wretched Alcander was now reduced to the most melancholy situation ; his friend absent, the object of his love lost, and his own character stigmatized with baseness ! Being absolutely unable to pay the demand, his person became the property of his oppressors, and he was carried into the marketplace and sold as a common slave. A Thracian merchant became his purchaser, and for several years he endured a life of bondage." At length liberty presented itself to his view, and the opportunity of his flight was not to be rejected. Alcander ardently embraced it, and arrived at Rome in the dusk of the evening.
6. Friendless, hopeless, and forlorn, the generous Alcander had no place of shelter, and necessity compelled him to seek a lodging in a gloomy cavern. Two robbers, who had been long suspected to frequent that spot, arrived there soon after midnight, and disputing about their booty, fortunately did not per:
ceive him. One of them, at length, was so exasperated against his companion, that, drawing a dagger from his side, he plunged it into his heart, and left him weltering in his blood at the mouth of the cave.
7. Alcander's miseries had been so accumulated, and his distresses so undeserved, that his mind, at last, was worn down by his afflictions, and he became indifferent to every thing around him. In this situation he was discovered, and dragged to a court of justice, as the murderer .of the man whose body had been found in the cave. Weary of existence, he did not deny the charge ; and the sentence was about to be pronounced against him, when the murderer, smitten with a pang of conscience, entered the court, and owned the fact !
8. Astonishment seized every mind, but particularly that of the judge who was going to condemn him, who, examining the countenance of a man capable of such singular conduct, discovered the features of his beloved friend Alcander! Rising from the seat of justice, and flying to the bar of guilt, he caught his suffering Alcander in his arms, and after shedding over him tears of joy and compassion, presented him to the senators, as a man whose disinterested conduct had been the means of preserving bis own existence.
Joseph and his Brethren. 1. Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age ; and he gave him a coat of many colours. But when his brethren saw their father's partiality to him, they hated him, and would not speak peaceably unto him. And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brethren.
2. Behold, he said, we were binding sheaves in the field; and lo! my sheaf arose and stood upright; and your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. And his brethren said unto him, shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him the more for his dreams, and for his words.
3. It happened that his brethren went to feed their father's flock at Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren ; but when they saw him afar off, they conspired against him to slay him; and they said one to another, we will tell our father that some eyil beast has devoured him.
4. But Reuben wished to deliver him out of their hands ; and he said, let us not kill him, but cast him into this pit that is
in the wilderness. And they followed his counsel, and cast him into a pit, which then contained no water.
5. A company of Ishmaelites from Gilead passed by at this time with their camels, bearing spicery, balm and myrrh, which they were carrying into EgyptAnd Judah said unto his brethren, let us sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hands be upon him, for he is our brother and our flesh. And Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of silver.
6. And his brethren killed a kid, and dipped his coat in the blood thereof. And they brought it unto their father, and said, this have we found. And Jacob knew it; and believing that Joseph was devoured by an evil beast, he rent his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and refused all comfort; saying, I will go down into the grave to my son, mourning.
7. Thus wept his father for him. But Joseph was carried into Egypt, and sold to Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh's guard. And the Lord was with him, and prospered him ; and he found favour in the sight of his master. But by the wickedness of Potiphar's wife, he was cast into the prison where the king's prisoners were bound.
8. Here also the Lord continued to show him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And all the prisoners were committed to his care, amongst whom were two of Pharaoh s officers, the chief of the butlers, and the chief of the bakers.
9. And Joseph interpreted the dreams of the king's servants ; and his interpretation being true, the chief butler recommended him to Pharaoh, who had dreamed a dream, which Joseph Thus showed unto him : Behold there shall come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt. And there shall come after them seven years of famine ; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt, and the famine shall consume the land.
10. And the king said unto Joseph, forasmuch as God hath shown you all this, thou shalt be over my house; and accord ing to thy word shall all my people be ruled. And Joseph gathered up all the food of the seven years, and laid it up in storehouses. Then the seven years of dearth began to come, as Joseph had foretold.
11. But in all the land of Egypt there was bread ; and people from all countries came unto Joseph to buy corn, because the famine was sore in all the lands. Now, amongst those who came, were the ten sons of Jacob, from the land of Canaan.
12. And Joseph saw his brethren, and knew them, but made
himself strange to them, and spake roughly to them, saying, Ye are spies. And they said, thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan ; and behold, the younge est is this day with our father, and one is not.
13. But Joseph said unto them, Ye shall not go hence, ex, cept your youngest brother come hither. Let one of your brethren be bound in prison, and go ye to carry corn for the famine of your houses, and bring your youngest brother unto me.
14. And their consciences reproaced them ; and they said one to another, we are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear. Therefore is this distress come upon us.
15. And they knew not that Joseph understood them, for he spake unto them by an interpreter. And he turned himselt about from them, and wept; and returned to them again, and communed with them; and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes. And they returned unto Jacob their father, in the land of Canaan, and told him all that had befällen them.. 16. And Jacob, their father, said unto them, me have
be reaved of my children. Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away also. But my son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead, and he is left alone. It mischief befal him in the way in which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.
17. But the famine continued sore in the land ; and when they had eaten up the corn, which they had brought out of Egypt, Jacob said unto them, Go again and buy us food, and if it must be so, now take also your brother Benjamin, and arise and go unto the man. And they brought presents unto Joseph, and bowed themselves before him to the earth.
18. And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well ? is he alive ? And he lifted up his eyes, and saw Benjamin his brother; and he was moved with brotherly love, and compassion ; and he sought where to weep, and he entered his chamber and wept there. And he washed his face, and went out and refrained himself.
19. Then he commanded the steward of his house, saying, Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put my cup, the silver cup, into the sack of Benjamin the youngest. And the steward did according to the word that Joseph had spoken. As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their horses.
20. But Joseph commanded his steward to follow them, and to search their sacks, and to bring them back. And when Ju