*** HAVING furnished some account of the group of Western texts of the Seven Wise Masters, as they are fairly represented by our early English metrical versions, I now present, in conclusion, an abstract of another and very different text—moreover, the earliest form in which the romance appeared in Europe—entitled Dolopathos; sive, de Rege et Septem Sapien-tibus (the work of Johannes de Alta Silva, referred to in p. 354, above), edited by Professor Hermann Oesterley, and published at Strassburg, 1873; of which no description has hitherto appeared in English.*


THERE was formerly in Sicily a wise and just king, called Dolopathos. The Roman emperor Augustus having bestowed on him Agrippa, the sister of the empress, the result of their union was a son. Before his birth it was declared by “the diviners and mathematicians” that the child would be a son; that he would become a great philosopher, suffer many evils from snares laid for him, but rule in his father's place, and become a worshipper of the true God. The child was named Luscinius, and left seven years with the nurses, after which the task of his education was undertaken by Virgil. The great wisdom and learning of Luscinius caused him to be envied by those who could not equal him, and he was invited to a banquet where they designed to poison him. He went, accompanied by Virgil, and when the poisoned cup was presented, Luscinius at once declared its nature, and challenged his enemies to taste it. They knew they must now die of poison, or be accused by Virgil to Cæsar, and slain; so they drank the cup, and died.

Luscinius looks one day into the astronomical books, and suddenly falls senseless on the floor. By the aid of Virgil and others the prince recovers, and informs his tutor that he found from the astronomical rules that his mother had died, that his father had married again, and that ambassadors were then on the way to convey him home from Virgil;—these events had caused him sorrow, and he had swooned. Virgil comforts him, and induces him to promise that, after leaving him, he would speak to no one on the way home, or in his country, or to the king or the queen, or to the princes, or to any one until he again saw him (i.e. Virgil). The messengers arrive, and take Lusci-nius away with them. Discovering that he is dumb, they fear the king's wrath, but he keeps them from suicide by signs, and by writing that by-and-by he should recover the use of his tongue.

Meanwhile Dolopathos makes great preparations for the re­ception of his son, who at length arrives, and is greeted with loud strains of music, but it is not discovered that he is dumb. Next morning the king has a private interview with his son, whom he proposes to crown in his own stead, but the prince does not reply. The king is angry; Luscinius shows signs of affection, upon which the king rages against Virgil and the messengers. Luscinius writes that he is dumb through grief at his mother's death. The king's counsellors advise the use of music, the company of girls, wine, good food, pleasant objects, etc. The queen enters, and undertakes to carry out this plan. In the queen's apartments the immodest bearing of the damsels towards the prince failing to shake his constancy, the queen her­self tempts him, with amorous gestures, but has finally to confess to her maidens that she has also failed, and they advocate revenge—propose to accuse him of attempting to violate the queen: “varium et semper mutabile femina!” So they scratch and disfigure themselves before Luscinius, tear their clothes, and the queen rushes with clamour into the king's council-room, and accuses the prince—her maids attest the truth of her com­plaint, and Dolopathos expresses his grief, sorrow, and anger.

Luscinius is brought forward, and is still dumb and unmoved. Sentence is demanded by the queen's relatives and friends. Dolopathos calls upon the assembled grandees to decide. At first they say that the laws do not provide for such a case, but being urged, they pronounce sentence of death by burning, which is ratified by Dolopathos. A great fire is accordingly kindled next day, but the people, captivated by the appearance of Luscinius, murmur at the severity of the sentence, and no one is willing to obey the king's command to throw Luscinius into the flames. Just then one of the Seven Wise Men, by chance, comes riding up on a white mule, and, ascertaining the cause of the great assemblage, remonstrates with the king on his credulity and injustice, and relates the story of