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every mode of attack, while all the powers of medicine, every allurement of the sense, and all the inventions of. superstition, were employed to promote his recovery.
Sacred relics were brought from various parts, that their effects on his health might be tried ; and St Francis, of Paul, was invited from Calabria, in order to restore by his prayers the shattered frame of the monarch. The powers of music were employed to revive his spirits, and the most beautiful girls were procured to dance in his presence, to the sound of various instruments, for his amusement.
In spite, however, of all his precautions and endeavours, death, that irresistible assailant, whose entrance, all his iron bars, strong walls, and wide ditches could not prevent, made Louis his prey, on the 30th of August, A.D. 1483, in the sixty-first year of his age, and when the twenty-second of his reign wanted only fifteen days of its expiration.
WHAT IS LIFE?
The fearful brightness of a shooting star;
Such, such is life!
But soon upon the sated palate palls ;
Such, such is life!
Where mutability no more is known;
This, this is life!
CHARLES XII. AND HIS SOLDIER. It is well known under what severe discipline the troops of Charles XII. were kept; that they never pillaged towns
taken by assault, before they received permission; that they even then plundered in a regular manner, and left off at the first signal.
The Swedes boast to this day of the discipline which they observed in Saxony, while the Saxons complain of the terrible outrages they committed ; contradictions which it would be impossible to reconcile, were it not known how differently different men behold the same object. It was scarcely possible but that the conquerors would sometimes abuse their rights, as the conquered would take the slightest injuries for the most enormous outrages.
One day, as the king was riding near Leipsic, a Saxon peasant came and threw himself at his feet, beseeching him to grant him justice on a grenadier, who had just taken from him what was designed for his family's dinner. The king immediately caused the soldier to be brought to him. “Is it true,” said he, with a stern countenance, “that you have robbed this man?”
“ Sire," said the soldier, “I have not done him so much injury as you have done his master; you have taken from him a kingdom, I have taken from this fellow nothing but a turkey." The king gave the peasant ten ducats with his own hand, and pardoned the soldier for the wit and boldness of his reply ; saying to him, “Remember, friend, that, if I have taken a kingdom from Augustus, I have kept nothing to myself.”
THE HUMAN PARADOX.
An heir of glory! a frail child of dust!
A worm! a god! I tremble at myself,
CHARLES XII. AND HIS SECRETARY.
One day, as the king was dictating some letters to his secretary, to be sent to Sweden, a bomb fell on the house, pierced the roof, and burst near the apartment in which he was. One half of the floor was shattered to pieces; the closet where the king was employed, being partly formed out of a thick wall, did not suffer by the explosion; and, by an astonishing piece of fortune, none of the splinters that flew about in the air, entered at the closet door, which happened to be open.
The report of the bomb, and the noise it occasioned in the house, which seemed ready to tumble, made the secretary drop his pen. “ What is the matter," said the king, with a placid air, “why do you not write?”
The secretary could only say, “Ah, sire, the bomb!” “Well," replied the king, “what has the bomb to do with the letter I am dictating to you? Go on.”
The clock strikes one: we take no note of time,
It is the signal that demands despatch;
alarm’d, and o'er life's narrow verge
HEROISM OF A PEASANT.
A great inundation having taken place in the north of Italy, owing to an excessive fall of snow in the Alps, followed by a speedy thaw, the bridge near Verona was carried off by the flood, except the middle part, on which was the house of the toll-gatherer, who, with his whole family, thus remained imprisoned by the waves, and in momentary danger of destruction.
They were discovered from the banks, stretching forth their hands, screaming, and imploring succour, while fragments of this remaining arch were continually dropping into the water.
In this extreme danger, a nobleman who was present, held out a purse of one hundred sequins, as a reward to any adventurer who would take a boat and deliver the unhappy family.
But the risk was so great, of being borne down by the rapidity of the stream, of being dashed against the fragments of the bridge, or of being crushed by the falling stones, that not one in the vast number of spectators had courage enough to attempt such an exploit.
A peasant passing along was informed of the proffered reward. Immediately jumping into a boat, he, by strength of oars, gained the middle of the river, brought his boat under the pile, and the whole family safely descended by means of a rope. “Courage!” cried he;
now you are safe.” By a still more strenuous effort, and great strength of arm, he brought the boat and family to the shore.
“Brave fellow !” exclaimed the nobleman, banding him the
purse, “here is the promised recompense.”—“I shall never expose my life for money," answered the peasant;
“my labour is a sufficient livelihood for myself, my wife, and children. Give the purse to this poor family, which has lost all.”
FALL OF THE LEAF.
See the leaves around us falling,
Dry and wither'd, to the ground;
In a sad and solemn sound:
When, like us, he blighted fell),
'Tis, alas! the truth we tell.
On your boasted white and red;
Number'd now among the dead.
Gay in health, and many a grace ;
Summer gives to autumn place.
Messengers of shortest stay;
Heaven and earth shall pass away.
Man, let all thy hopes be stay'd ;
Bears a leaf that shall not fade."
COURAGE AND GENEROSITY. Forgiveness of injuries, and a merciful disposition towards those who have injured us, is an infallible mark of