of Emesa Helidorus.

The Greek romances of Heliodorus, Longus, and Achilles Tatius : comprising the Ethiopics : or, Adventures of Theagenes and Chariclea ; The pastoral amours of Daphnis and Chloe; and The loves of Clitopho and Leucippe online

. (page 42 of 50)
Online Libraryof Emesa HelidorusThe Greek romances of Heliodorus, Longus, and Achilles Tatius : comprising the Ethiopics : or, Adventures of Theagenes and Chariclea ; The pastoral amours of Daphnis and Chloe; and The loves of Clitopho and Leucippe → online text (page 42 of 50)
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taining a picture of the bird, in order that he may judge
whether it be genuine. The phoenix, aware of this, opens
the receptacle, and exhibiting the body, makes intercession
for its interment ;* after which it is received by the sons of
the priest and buried ; thus, as I have already observed, this
bird is an ^Ethiopian during his lifetime, but makes his
grave with the Egyptians."


UPON hearing of the preparations made by the buccaneers,
and of the march of the reinforcements being postponed,
Charmides resolved upon returning to his former quarters,
and there to await their arrival. A lodging was assigned
by him to Leucippe and me at a little distance. No
sooner had I entered it, than taking her in my arms, I
endeavoured to accomplish my wishes ; she would not con-
sent however, upon which I said to her: "Do you not
observe how many strange and unforeseen accidents befall
us ; first we are shipwrecked, then we come into the hands
of pirates, and next you are exposed to be sacrificed, and to
undergo a cruel death. Fortune has just now lulled the
storm, let us, therefore, take advantage of the opportunity,
before any yet severer calamity overtakes us."

" It is not lawful for me to 'consent now," was her reply;
" for while I was bewailing myself at the prospect of being
sacrificed, the goddess Diana appeared to me in a dream
and said : ' Weep not, maiden, thou shalt not die ; I will
protect thee, and thou must remain a virgin until I conduct
thee to thine husband, who shall be Clitopho, and no one
else.' "

Upon hearing this circumstance, I was very much annoyed
at the delay, but yet rejoiced at the prospect of future
happiness opened to me ; and her mention of the dream

* cat cart 7rira040f <ro0i0Ti/ff.



reminded me of something similar which had happened to
myself. I thought that during the preceding night I saw
the temple of Venus, and could discern the statue of the
goddess within; upon approaching it with the design of
offering up my prayers, the doors were suddenly closed,
and while standing there in a state of disappointment, a
female strongly resembling the statue of the goddess ap-
peared to me and said : " It is not permitted thee to enter
the temple now ; but if thou wilt wait for a short period, I
will not only open to thee its doors, but will constitute thee
my priest." I related this dream toLeucippe, and although
my attempts upon her chastity were not repeated, I could
net get over my feelings of vexation.

An occurrence which just then took place gave Charmides
an opportunity of seeing Leucippe and conceiving a passion
for her. Some person had captured a very curious river
animal, called by the Egyptians the Nile-horse, and in
truth he resembles that animal in his belly and legs, except
that he has cloven hoofs ;* his size is equal to that of the
largest ox : he has a short tail, which as well as his body, is
devoid of hair; his head is large and round, with cheeks
like those of a horse ; his nostrils are widely expanded and
breathe out sparks, as it were, of fiery vapours ;f he has an
immense under-jaw, which opens to nearly the length of his
head, and it is garnished with canine teeth like those of a
horse in shape and position, but three times as large. We
were invited to see this creature, and looked at it with
great interest ; but the eyes of the commander were
rivetted upon Leucippe, of whom he immediately became

In or-der to detain us there the longer, and by this means
to feast his own eyes, he entered upon a lengthy description
of the animal, its nature and habits, and the manner in

* Herod, ii. 71, commits the same error, using the expression
Si xi^ov, whereas the foot of the animal is divided into toes like that
of the elephant. In a note Mr. Blakesley remarks, that in some of the
temples of Epypt, the animal is found depicted with cloven hoofs and
huge projecting tusks, as described by Herodotus and Tatius.

t Compare Job's description of Leviathan. " Out of his mouth
go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out. Out of his nostrils
goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron. His breath kindletu
coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth." xli. 19 21.


which it is captured; that it is so voracious as to eat
up a whole field of corn, and is taken by employing the
following stratagem. Having found out his usual haunt,
the hunters dig a deep pit, which they cover with reeds and
earth, underneath is placed a wooden chest with open doors
which reach to the top of the pit. The animal in passing
over the spot at once falls into the chest as into a cave,
when the hunters, who have been on the watch, immediately
close the doors, and in this manner secure their prey. It
would be in vain to attempt capturing him by force ; for not
only is he very powerful, but has a hide so hard and thick*
as to render him proof against any wounds ; he may be
called the Egyptian elephant, and in strength comes next
to the elephant of India.

" Have you ever seen an elephant ?" inquired Menelaus.
"I have,"' replied Charmides, "and have conversed with
persons well acquainted with the peculiarity attending its

I here remarked that the animal was known to me only
having seen a picture of it. " Well, then," continued he,
" I will give you an account of it ; for we have abundance
of leisure, the time of gestation with the female is ten
years,t so that when she brings forth her calf he is already
old. To this cause we may, in my opinion, attribute his
great bulk, his unrivalled strength, and his longevity; for
he is said to live longer than Hesiod's crow. J His jaw may
be said to resemble the head of an ox, for it appears to have

* " The hide is upwards of an inch and a half in thickness ; it is
chiefly used for whips ; the well-known * cow hides' are made of this
material." Wood's Nat. Hist.

f Pliny says : " Decem annis gestare in utero vulgus existimat."
H. N. viii. 10.

The same strange notion is referred to by Plautus, Stich. A. 1, s. iil
" Audivi ssepe hoc vulgo dicier,
Solere elephantum gravidam perpetuos decem
Esse annos."

$ Hesiod extends the crow's life to 270 years. The passage referred
to has been preserved by Plutarch :

" Servatura diu parem
Cornicis vetulae temporibus Lycem." Hor. iv. Od. xiii. 24.


two horns ; these, however, are the curved tusks of the
animal, between them projects his trunk, resembling a
trumpet in appearance and size, which is very convenient
for taking up his accustomed food or any other edible ; any-
thing of this description he seizes with it, and bending it
inwards, conveys it to his mouth ; but if unsuited for his
palate, he turns round his trunk, and extending it upwards
delivers the article to the Ethiopian master, who sits upon
him as a rider does on a horse, and whom he caresses and
also fears, obeying his voice, and submitting to be beaten
with an iron axe. I remember once seeing a strange sight,
a Greek inserted his head into the mouth of the animal,
which with expanded jaws continued to breathe upon him.
As you may imagine, I was not a little struck with the
boldness of the man and the good-nature of the elephant.
The man told me that he had given the beast a fee for
breathing upon him, that his breath was almost equal to
Indian spices, and was a sovereign specific against the head-
ache. It appears that the elephant is aware of his medical
skill, and will not open his mouth for nothing, but like a
self-conceited physician, asks for his fee beforehand ; upon
receiving it he becomes all complaisance, expands his jaws,
and keeps his mouth open as long as the patient pleases,
knowing that he has received a consideration for his breath."
" How comes so ill-favoured an animal to have so fragrant
a breath?" I asked. " From the nature of the food upon
which he feeds," said Charmides. " The country of the
Indians is near the sun ; they first behold the rising of that
deity, they feel his hottest rays, and from his influence their
skin acquires its hue.* Now there is in Greece a dark-
coloured flower, which among the Indians is not a flower
but a leaf, like those which are seen on any tree ; in that
land it conceals its fragrance, and is therefore in little esti-
mation; either it does not care for celebrity among its
countrymen, or else it grudges them its sweetness ; but if
only it leave that country and be transplanted, it opens its
secret treasure-house, instead of a leaf becomes a flower,
and clothes itself with perfume. The Indians call this the

* " Indi autem, quod calore vicini ignis, sanguis in atrum colorem
versus est, iiigri sunt facti." Hyginus.
See also Ovid, Met. ii 235.



black rose, and it is as common a food for the elephant as
among us grass is for oxen ; and from feeding upon it,
almost from its birth, the animal exhales the fragrance ot
his food, and his breath becomes a fount of sweets."*

When Charmides had ended his dissertation and we were
departed, he not long after for whoever burns with the fire
of love cannot endure delay sent for Menelaus, and taking
his hand, thus addressed him: " Your conduct to Clitopho
shows you to be a sincere friend, nor shall you have to com-
plain of want of friendship upon my part. I have a favour
to request which it is easy for you to grant, and by granting
it you will preserve my life. Know that I am desperately
smitten with Leucippe ; you must heal the wound ; she is
in your debt for having saved her.f Now I will give you
fifty gold pieces for the good service which I require, and
she herself shall receive as many as she pleases."

" Keep your gold," replied Menelaus, " for those who make
a traffic of their favours ; you have already received me into
your friendship, and it shall be my endeavour to promote
your wishes."

Immediately afterwards he came to me and related
the whole matter. After deliberating what course to adopt,
dissimulation appeared most feasible, since it would have
been dangerous to give him an absolute refusal, for fear of
his employing violence, and it was wholly out of our power
to escape, surrounded as we were by the buccaneers in one
direction, and by his troops on the other.

Eeturning to Charmides after a short interval, Menelaus
said : " Your object is accomplished. At first the maiden
gave a downright refusal, but at length, upon my redoubling
my entreaties and reminding her of her debt of gratitude
towards me, she consented ; stipulating, however, for a few
days' delay until we can reach Alexandria ; for this place

* According to the Commentators, it is the KapvoQvXXov, or clove-
tree, which produces this wonderful effect upon the elephant, making
his breath

" Like the sweet south,
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour." Twelfth Night

t 6<J>ti\trai (rot Trap' avrifc a>aypta.


being a mere village, everything becomes known, and there
are many eyes upon us."

" You fix a long postponement to your favour," said
Charmides. " Who can think of deferring his wishes in time
of war? "With an engagement before him, and so many
ways of death, how can the soldier tell whether his life will
be spared ? If you will prevail on Fortune to guarantee
my safety, I will wait. Consider that I am about to fight
these buccaneers, and all the while a war of a different kind
is raging in my soul ; a warrior armed with bow and arrow,
is committing havoc there; I feel myself vanquished ; I am
full of wounds ; prithee send for the leech with speed, for
the danger presses. I shall have to carry fire and sword
among the enemy, but love has already kindled his torch to
my destruction ; extinguish this fiame, I beseech, good
Menelaus; it will be a fair omen to join in love before
we join in battle ; let Venus, therefore, herald me on my
way to Mars."

" But you do not consider," rejoined Menelaus, " how
difficult it is to avoid discovery from her intended husband,
who is so enamoured of her." "Oh! as for Clitopho, we
can easily get him out of the way," said Charmides.

Seeing him so firmly bent upon his purpose, Menelaus
began to have fears for my safety, and suddenly bethought
himself of a fresh excuse. "If you must know her real
motive for this delay, it is that her monthly sickness is
upon her, consequently she must abstain from sexual inter-
course." "In that case," said the other, "I will wait three
or four days, which will be quite sufficient; but in the
meanwhile she can, at any rate, come and talk to me. I
can hear her voice, press her hand, and touch her person,
and kiss her lips. Her indisposition need be no impedi-
ment to this."

When Menelaus told this to me, I exclaimed, that I
would sooner die than have Leucippe bestow her lips upon
another. " A kiss," I said, " is the best part of love ; the
moment of actual enjoyment is soon over, and brings with
it satiety,* and is indeed worth nothing if we take away the

* " Who riseth from a feast,
With that keen appetite that he sits down ?"

Merchant of Venice.


kissing. A kiss need have no limit to its duration ; it never
cloys, it is always new.* Three things, excellent in their
nature, proceed from the mouth, the breath, the voice, and
last of all, the kiss, of which the lips are the instruments,
but the seat of pleasure is in the soul. Believe me, Mene-
laus, for my troubles compel me to reveal the secret,t
these are the only favours which I have received from
Leucippe ; she is a woman only as having been kissed by
me ; in all other respects she is still a virgin. I will not
put up with the loss of them ; I will not have my kisses
adulterously dallied with."J

" If such be the case," said Menelaus, " we must speedily
resolve upon some plan ; one who is in love (like Charmides)
as long as he has a hope of success will wait and feed on
expectation, but if driven to despair, his love changes into
hate and urges him to take vengeance upon the obstacle to
his desires ; and supposing he has the power to do this with
impunity, the very fact of being free from fear deepens his
resentment and urges him on to his revenge." In the midst
of our deliberation some one hastily entered, and informed
us that Leucippe while walking about had suddenly fallen
down, and lay there wildly rolling her eyes. "We hurried
to her, and finding her still lying on the ground, we asked
what ailed her ? No sooner di<J she see me, than starting
up and glaring fiercely from her blood-shot eyes, she struck
me with violence upon the face, and when Menelaus endea-
voured to support her, she proceeded to kick his shins.
Perceiving that she was labouring under frenzy, we seized
her by main force and endeavoured to overpower her, she
on her part resisted, and in her struggles was at no pains to
hide what women generally wish to keep concealed. So
great was the disturbance that at length the commander
himself came in, and witnessed what was going on. At first
he was suspicious of some fraud contrived against himself,

* QiXrjfia dt Kai aoptorov toriv, icai attoptarov, /cat KO.IVOV del.

f eZopyjaofiat rd /axTrr/pta, an allusion to the revealing of religious
mysteries. Liddell's Lex.

ov noixtvtrai fiov ra QiXrjfjLara.

t d& iiTTfv on iravvtt avTov nolx^vra rr]v QaXarrav."

Xen. Hell. I. vi. 15.


and looked sternly upon Menelaus ; but seeing the truth,
he became moved by feelings of compassion.

Meanwhile cords were brought and the unhappy maiden
was bound ; upon seeing her hands confined in this manner,
I besought Menelaus (all but a few having left the tent)
to set her arms at liberty ; her tender arms, I said, can-
not endure this harsh treatment ; leave me with her alone ;
my arms shall be her fetters, and she may exhaust her
frenzy upon me ; why, indeed, should I wish to live, since
Leucippe no longer knows me ? How can I behold her
lying thus bound, and though having the power, shew no
desire to release her ? Has Fortune delivered us from the
hands of buccaneers only that she may fall a prey to mad-
ness ? Unhappy that we are, when will our condition
change ? We escape dangers at home only to be overtaken
by the shipwreck ; saved from the fury of the sea and freed
from pirates, we were reserved for the present visitation
madness ! Even shouldst thou recover thy senses, dearest,
I fear lest the evil genius may have something worse in
store ! Who can be pronounced more unhappy than our-
selves, who have cause to dread even what bears the appear-
ance of good fortune ! Let Fortune, however, again make
us her sport, provided only I can see thee restored to health
and sense ! Menelaus and those present did all they could
to comfort me, saying that such maladies were not lasting,
and were very common in the hot season of youth ; at such
a time the young blood, heated by the vigour of the body,
runs boiling through the veins, and overflowing the brain
drowns the powers of reason ; the proper course, therefore,
would be to have medical advice.

Menelaus went to the commander without delay, and
requested that the physician belonging to the troops
might be called in. Charmides readily complied, for a
lover delights in granting favours. After visiting her,
he said, we must make her sleep in order to subdue the
paroxysm of her disease ; for sleep is the medicine of
every sickness,* and afterwards we will have recourse to

* at $i\ov virvov OkXyrjrpov, iiriicovpov voaov,

" to TTOTVia \TfQr) TWV KdKUll', d> l <T00?}

icai rolai SvffTvxovatv tuicrdia 9to." Eur. Or.}


other means. Before leaving her, he gave us a portion of
some drug, about the size of a pea, which was to be dissolved
in oil and rubbed upon the top of her head, saying that he
would shortly bring a pill to act upon her bowels. We
followed his directions, and after her head had been rubbed
for a short time, she fell asleep, and slept till morning.
I sat by her bed side all night in tears, and when I saw the
cords which still confined her hands, 1 could not help
exclaiming, "Dearest Leucippe, bondage is still thy por-
tion; not even in sleep is liberty allowed thee! \Vhat
images, I wonder, are now passing before thy mind ? Does
sense attend upon thy sleep ? or do thy dreams also partake
of frenzy?" Upon waking she uttered some incoherent
words. Soon after the physician came and administered
the other medicine.

Just at this time pressing orders arrived from the Vice-
roy of Egypt urging the commander to lead his men
against the enemy. The troops were immediately mustered
with their officers, and appeared on the ground in marching
order, when, after giving them the watchword, he dismissed
them to their quarters for the night, and next morning led
them out to battle.

I will now describe the nature of the district against
which they marched. The Nile flows in an unbroken stream
from Egyptian Thebes as far as Memphis, when it throws
out a small branch. Where the wide part of the river ter-
minates, stands the village Cercasorum* ; there the country
becomes intersected by three streams ; two flowing respec-
tively to the right and left ; the other continuing its onward
course traverses the district called the Delta; none of these
streams flow uninterruptedly to the sea, but upon reaching
different cities separate into various branches, all of them
larger than any Grecian rivers ; its waters nevertheless are

" Sleep, that knits up the ravell'd sleeve of care,
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast."

* This reading is taken from the edit, by Jacobs, and is supported
by a passage in Herod, ii. 17,


not enfeebled and rendered useless by the many divisions in
their course ; they bear vessels upon their surface ; they
are used for drinking, and contribute to fertilize the land.
The mighty Nile is all in all to the Egyptians, both land
and river, and sea and lake, and a singular spectacle it is to
see in juxtaposition the ship and the mattock, the oar and
the plough, the rudder and the hook,* sailors' cabins and
labourers' huts, a resort for fishes and a resting-place for
oxen ; where but lately a ship sailed, is seen a cultivated
plain, and anon the cultivated plain becomes a watery space ;
for the Nile periodically comes and goes, and the Egyptians
count the days and anxiously await the inundation, while
the river on his part keeps to his appointed time, regulates
the rising of his waters, and never exposes himself to the
imputation of unpunctuality. Then comes the rivalry
between the land and water ; each exerts its power against
the other; the water strives to flood the land, and the land
does its endeavour to absorb the fertilizing water ; in the
end, conquest can be assigned to neither, but both may
claim the victory, for each is co-extensive with the other.
In the pasturage which is the resort of the buccaneers, a
quantity of water is at all times found, for even when the
Nile retires, the lakes formed by its inundation continue
filled with watery mud; over these the inhabitants can
either wade on foot or pass in boats, each of which will
contain one person ; any other kind would be imbedded in
the mud, but those which they employ are so lightf as to
require very little water, and should none be found they
take them on their backs, and proceed on foot until they
arrive at more. These lakes, which I have mentioned, are
dotted over with islets, some of them uninhabited, but
abounding in papyrus reeds, between the intervals of which
there is only room for a man to stand, while the space
above is overarched by the summits of the leaves ; it is in

* Instead of the common reading, rpoTratov, which yields no sense
Salmasius proposes /cpwTnov, a reaping hook.

f Lucan mentions boats made of the papyrus :

"sic cum tenet omnia Nilus

Conseritur bibulfc Memphitis cymba papyro."

Lucan. B. IT.


these places that the buccaneers assemble, and secretly
concert their plans, masked by these reeds as by a fort.
Some of the islets have huts upon them, presenting the
appearance of a rudely constructed town, which serve as
the dwellings of the pirates. One of them, more remarkable
than the other for its extent and for the number of its huts,
was called Nicochis, and here it was that the main body of
the freebooters was collected ; confiding in their numbers,
and in the strength- of their position, the place being entirely
insulated by lagoons, except for a narrow causeway the
eighth of a mile long and seventy feet wide. As soon as
they were aware of the commander's approach, they had
recourse to the following stratagem: mustering all the
old men, they equipped them as suppliants, with palm
branches, commanding the most able-bodied among the
youth to follow, armed with swords and shields, The old
men were to hold aloft their suppliant branches, the foliage
of which would serve to conceal those in the rear,* who, by
way of farther precaution, were directed to stoop and trail
their spears along the ground.

In case the commander yielded to the old men's suppli-
cations, the others were to make no hostile movements; if,
on the contrary, he should reject their entreaties, they were
to invite him to their city, with the offer of there surrender-
ing themselves up to death ; if he agreed to follow them,
upon arriving at the middle of the narrow causeway, the
old men, at a preconcerted signal, were to throw away their
branches and make their escape, while the others were to
make an assault with might and main. They proceeded to
execute these directions, and upon approaching the com-
mander, entreated him to reverence their old age and
suppliant branches, and to take pity upon their town ; they
offered him a present of a hundred talents of silver for him-
self, together with an hundred hostages, to be forwarded
by him to the seat of governient.f

* " Let every soldier hew him down a bough,

And bear't before him ; thereby shall we shadow
The numbers of our host, and make discovery
Err in report of us." Macbeth.

f" irpO TTJV aarpairtiav.


They were quite sincere in making these proposals, and
would have fulfilled them faithfully had he consented ; upon
his refusal, " We must then," said they, " submit to our
destiny ; at least grant us this one favour : do not put us
to death at a distance from our town, conduct us to our
'fatherland,' to our hearths and homes, and there let us

Online Libraryof Emesa HelidorusThe Greek romances of Heliodorus, Longus, and Achilles Tatius : comprising the Ethiopics : or, Adventures of Theagenes and Chariclea ; The pastoral amours of Daphnis and Chloe; and The loves of Clitopho and Leucippe → online text (page 42 of 50)