« PreviousContinue »
his elbow, and whispering something or other in his ear; the name of his privy counsellor was Poverty. As Avarice conducted himself by the counfels of Poverty, his antagonist was entirely guided by the di&tates and advice of Plenty, who was his first counsellor and minister of state, that concerted all his measures for him, and never departed out of his fight. While these two great rivals were thus contending for empire, their :conquests were very various.. Luxury got possession of one heart, and Avarice of another. The father of a family would often range himself under the banners of Avarice, and the son under thofe of Luxury. The wife and husband would often declare themselves on the two different parties; nay, the same person would very often side with one in his youth, and revolt to the other in his old age. Indeed the wise men of the world stood neuter;, but alas, their numbers were not considerable. At length when these two potentates had wearied themselves with waging war upon one another, they agreed upon an interview, at which neither of their counsellors were to be present. It is said that Luxury began the parley, and after having represented the endless state of war in which they were engaged, told his enemy, with a frankness of heart which is natural.to him, that he believed they two should be very good friends, were it not for the inftigation of Poverty, that pernicious counsellor, who made an ill use of his ear, and filled him with groundless apprehensions and prejudices. To this Avarice replied, that he looked upon Plenty (the first minister of his antagonift) to be a much more destructive counsellor than Poverty, for that he was perpetually suggesting pleasures,banishing all the necefiary cautions against want, and consequently undermining those principles on which the government of Avarice was founded. At last, in order to an accommodation, they agreed upon this preliminary, that
each of them should immediately dismiss his privy-counsellor. When things were thus far adjusted towards a peace, all other differences were foon accommodated, insomuch that for the future they resolved to live as good friends and confederates, and to share between them whatever conquests were made on either side. For this reason we now find Luxury and Avarice taking possession of the same heart, and dividing the fame person between them. To which I shall only add, that since the discarding of the counsellors above mentioned, Avarice supplies Luxury in the room of Plenty, as Luxury prompts Avarice in the place of Poverty.
PLEASURE AND PAIN.' THERE were two families, which from the beginning of the world were as opposite to each other as light and darkness. The one of them lived in heaven, and the other in hell. The youngest descendant of the first family was Pleafure, who was the daughter of happiness, who was the child of Virtue, who was the offspring of the Gods. These, as I faid before, had their habitation in heaven. The youngest of the opposite family was Pain, who was the son of Misery, who was the child of Vice, who was the offspring of the Furies. The habitation of this race of beings was in hell.
The middle station of nature between these two opposite extremes was the earth, which was inhabited by creatures of a middle kind, neither fo virtuous as the one, nor so vicious as the other, but partaking of the good and bad qualities of these two opposite families. Jupiter considering that this fpecies, commonly called man, was too virtuous to be mise
gable, and too vicious to be happy; that he might make a distinction between the good and the bad, ordered the two youngest of the above-mentioned families, Pleasure, who was the daughter of Happiness, and Pain, who was the son of Mifery, to meet one another upon this part of nature which lay in the half way between them, having promised to settle it upon them both, provided they could agree upon the divifion of it, so as to share mankind between them.
PLEASURE and Pain were no sooner met in their new habitation, but they immediately agreed upon this point, that Pleasure should take possession of the virtuous, and Pain of the vicious part of that species which was given up to them. But upon examining to which of them any individual they met with belonged, they found each of them had a right to him ; for that, contrary to what they had feen in their old places of residence, there was no person so vicious who had not some good in him, nor any person fo virtuous who had not in him fome evil. The truth of it is, they generally found upon search, that in the most vicious man, Pleasure might lay claim to an hundredth part; and that in the most virtuous man, Pain might come in for at leaft two-thirds: This they saw would occasion endless disputes between them, unless they could come to some accommodation. To this end there was a marriage proposed between them, and at length concluded : by this means it is that we find Pleasure and Pain are fuch constant yoke-fellows, and that they either make their visits together, or are never far asunder. If Pain comes into a heart, he is quickly followed by Pleasure; and if Pleasure enters, you may be sure Pain is not far off.
But notwithstanding this marriage was very convenient for the two parties, it did not seem to answer the intention of Jupiter in sending them among mankind. To remedy
therefore this inconvenience, it was stipulated between them by article, and confirmed by the consent of each family, that notwithstanding they here possessed the species indifferently; upon the death of every single person, if he was found to have in him a certain proportion of evil, he should be despatched into the infernal regions by a passport from Pain, there to dwell with Misery, Vice, and the Furies. Or on the contrary, if he had in him a certain proportion of good, he should be despatched into heaven by a passport from Pleafure, there to dwell with Happiness, Virtue, and the Gods.
L ABOU R. LABOUR, the offspring of Want, and the mother of Health and Contentment, lived with her two daughters in a little cottage, by the side of a hill, at a great distance from town. They were totally unacquainted with the great, and kept no better company than the neighbouring villagers ; but having a desire of seeing the world, they forsook their companions and habitation, and determined to travel. Labour went soberly along the road with Health on the right hand, who by the Sprightliness of her conversation, and songs of cheerfulness and joy, softened the toils of the way; while Contentment went smiling on the left, supporting the steps of her mother, and by her perpetual good humour increasing the vivacity of her fifter.
In this manner they travelled over forests and through towns and villages, till at last they arrived at the capital of the kingdom. At their entrance into the great city, the mo
ther conjured her daughters never to lose fight of her; for it was the will of Jupiter, she said, that their feparation should be attended with the utter ruin of all three. But Health was of too gay a disposition to regard the counsels of Labour : she suffered herself to be debauched by Intemperance, and at. last died in child-birth of Disease. Contentment, in the absence of her sister, gave herself up to the enticements of Sloth, and was never heard of after : while Labour, who could have no enjoyment without her daughters, went every where in search of them, till she was at last seized by Lafhtude in her way, and died in misery.
CH A P. VI.
THE OLD MAN AND
HIS ASS. An old man and a little boy were driving an ass to the next market to sell. What a fool is this fellow (says a man upon the road) to be trudging it on foot with his son, that his ass might go light! The old man hearing this, set his boy upon the ass, and went whistling by the fide of him. Why, firrah! (cries a second man to the boy) is it fit for you to be riding, while your poor old father is walking on foot ? The father, upon this rebuke, took down his boy from the ass, and mounted himself. Do you see (fays a third) how the lazy old knave rides along upon his beast, while his poor little boy is almost crippled with walking! The old man no fooner heard this, than he took up his son behind him. Pray, honest friend (says a fourth) is that ass your own ? Yes, says
One would not have thought fo, replied the other, by your loading him so unmercifully. You and your son are better able to carry the poor beast than he you.