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[205]

The plan of the Arcadia of St. Pierre is simply this: A learned young Egyptian, educated at Thebes by the priests of Osiris, desirous of benefiting humanity, undertakes a voyage to Gaul for the purpose of carrying thither the arts and religion of Egypt. He is shipwrecked on his return in the Gulf of Messina, and lands upon the coast, where he is entertained by an Arcadian, to whom he relates his adventures, and from whom he receives in turn an account of the simple happiness and peace of Arcadia, the virtues and felicity of whose inhabitants are beautifully exemplified in the lives and conversation of the shepherd and his daughter. This pleasant little prose poem closes somewhat abruptly. Although inferior in artistic skill to Paul and Virginia or the Indian Cottage, there is not a little to admire in the simple beauty of its pastoral descriptions. The closing paragraph reminds one of Bunyan's upper chamber, where the weary pilgrim's windows opened to the sunrising and the singing of birds:—

Tyrteus conducted his guests to an adjoining chamber. It had a window shut by a curtain of rushes, through the crevices of which the islands of the Alpheus might be seen in the light of the moon. There were in this chamber two excellent beds, with coverlets of warm and light wool.

Now, as soon as Amasis was left alone with Cephas, he spoke with joy of the delight and tranquillity of the valley, of the goodness of the shepherd, and the grace of his young daughter, to whom he had seen none worthy to be compared, and of the pleasure which he promised himself the

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