Page images
PDF
EPUB

but my enemies, and those who would injure my reputation, have given me the name of Pleasure. · By this time the other lady was come up, who addressed herself to the young hero in a very different manner.

Hercules, says she, I offer myself to you, because I know you are descended from the Gods, and give proofs of that descent by your love to virtue, and application to the studies proper for your age. This makes me hope you will gain, both for yourself and me, an immortal reputation. But before I invite you into my society and friendship, I will be open, and sincere with you, and must lay down this as an established truth, that there is nothing truly valuable, which can be purchased without pains and labour. The Gods have set a price upon every real and noble pleasure. If you would gain the favour of the Deity, you must be at the pains of worshipping him; if the friendship of good men, you must study to oblige them ; if you would be honoured by your çountry, you must take care to serve it. In short, if you would be eminent in war or peace, you must become master of all the qualifications that can make you so. These are the only terms and conditions, upon which I can propose happiness. The Goddess of Pleasure here broke in upon her discourse : You see, said she, Hercules, by her own confession, the way to her pleasures is long and difficult, where-, as that which I propose is short and easy. Alas! said the, other lady, whose visage glowed with passion made up of scoru, and pity, what are the pleasures you propose! To eat before, you are hungry, drink before you are athirst, sleep before, you are tired : to gratify appetites before they are raised, and raise such appetites as nature never planted. You never heard the inost delicious music, which is the praise of one's self; or saw the most beatiful object, which is the work of one's own hands. Your votaries pass away their youth in a, dream of mistaken pleasures, while they are hoarding up anguish, torment, and remorse for old age. ..

As for me, I ain the friend of Gods, and of good men, an, agreeable companion to the artizan, a household guardian. to the fathers of families, a patron and protector of servants, an associate of all true and generous friendships. The banquets of my votaries are never costly, but always delicious; for nope eat or drink at them, who are not invited by hunger. and thirst. Their slumbers are sound, and their wakings cheerful. My young men have the pleasure of hearing themselves praised by those who are in years, and those who are, in years, of being honoured by those who are young. In a word, my followers are favoured by the Gods, beloved by their acquaintance, esteemed by their country, and, after the close of their labours, honoured by posterity.

We know, by the life of this memorable hero, to which of these two ladies he gave up his heart; and, I believe, every one who reads this, will do him the justice to approve his choice.

TATLER.

CHAP. VIII.

• PITY. In the happy period of the golden age, when all the celestial inhabitants descended to the earth, and conversed familiarly with mortals, among the most cherished of the heavenly powers were twins, the offspring of Jupiter, Love and joy. Wherever they appeared, the flowers sprung up beneath their feet, the sun shone with a brighter radiance, and all nature seemed embellished by their presence. They were inseparable companions, and their growing attachment was favoured by Jupiter, who had decreed that a lasting union should be solemnized between them, so soon as they were arrived at maturer years. But in the mean time the sons of men deviated from their native innocence; Vice and Ruin overran the earth with giant strides; and Astrea, with her train of celestial visitants, forsook their polluted abodes. Love alone remained, having been stolen away by Hope, who was his purse, and conveyed by her to the forests of Arcadia, where he was brought up among the shepherds. But Jupiter assigned him a different partner, and commanded him to espoase Sorrow, the daughter of Atè. He complied with reluctance; for her features were harsh and diss agreeable, her eyes sunk, her forehead contracted into perpetual wrinkles, and her temples were covered with a wreath of cypress and worm wood. From this union sprung a virgin, in whom might be traced a strong resemblance to both

her parents; but the sullen and unamiable features of her mother were so mixed and blended with the sweetness of her father, that her countenance, though mournful, was highly pleasing. The maids and shepherds of the neighbouring plains gathered round, and called her Pity. A red breast was observed to build in the cabin where she was born ; and while she was yet an infant, a dove pursued by a hawk flew into her bosom. This nymph had a dejected appearance, but so soft and gentle a mien, that she was beloved to a degree of enthusiasm. Her voice was low and plaintive, but inexpressibly sweet; and she loved to lie for hours together on the banks of some wild and melancholy stream, singing to her lute. She taught men to weep, for she took a strange delight in tears ;- and often, when the virgins of the hamlet were assembled at their evening sports, she would steal in among them, and captivate their hearts by her tales full of a charming sadness. She wore on her head a garland composed of her father's myrtles twisted with her mother's cypress.

One day as she sat musing by the waters of Helicon, her tears by chance fell into the fountain ; and ever since the Muses' spring has retained a strong taste of the infusion. Pity was commanded by Jupiter to follow the steps of her mother through the world, dropping balm into the wounds she made, and binding up the hearts she had broken. She follows with her hair loose, her bosom bare and throbbing, her garments torn by the briers, and her feet bleeding with the roughness of the path. The nymph is mortal, for her mother is so; and when she has filled her destined course upon the earth, they sball both expire together, and Love. be again united to Joy, his immortal and long-betrothed bride.

MRS. BARBAULD.

CHAP. IX. ,

THE DEAD ASS.

And this, said he, putting the remains of a crust into his wallet-and this should have been thy portion, said he, hadst thou been alive to have shared it with me. I thought,

by the accent, it had been an apostrophe to his child; but it was to his ass, and to the very ass we had seen dead in the road, which had occasioned La Fleur's misadventure. The man seemed to lament it much; and it instantly brought into my mind Sancho's lamentations for his; but he did it with more touches of nature.

The mourner was sitting upon a stone bench at the door, with the ass's pannel and it's bridle on one side, which he took up from time to time--then laid them down--looked at them, and shook his head. He then took his crust of bread out of his wallet again, as if to eat it; held it some time in his hand-then laid it upon the bit of his ass's bridle

looking wistfully at the little arrangement he had made and then gave a sigh.

The simplicity of his grief drew numbers about him, and La Fleur among the rest, while the horses were getting ready: as I continued sitting in the postchaise, I could see and hear over their heads.

He said he had come last from Spain, where he had been froin the farthest borders of Franconia ; and had got so far on his return home, when the ass died. Every one seemed desirous to know what business could have taken so old and poor a man so far a journey from his own home.

It had pleased Heaven, he said, to bless him with three sons, the finest lads in all Germany; but having in one week lost two of them by the smallpox, and the youngest falling ill of the same distemper, he was afraid of being bereft of them all, and made a vow, if Heaven would not take him from him also, he would go in gratitude to St. Iago, in Spain.

When the mourner got thus far in his story, he stopped to pay nature her tributėmmand wept bitterly.

He said Heaven had accepted the conditions; and that he had set out from his cottage with this poor creature, who had been a patient partner of his journey--that it had eaten the same bread with him all the way, and was unto him as a friend.

Every body who stood about heard the poor fellow with concern-La Fleur offered him money-The mourner said he did not want it-it was not the value of the ass but the loss of him—The ass, he said, he was assured, loved him

and upon this told them a long story of a mischance upon their passage over the Pyrenean mountains, which had séparated them from each other three days; during which time the ass had sought him as much as he had sought the ass, and that neither had scarce eaten or drank till they met.

Thou hast one comfort, friend, said I, at least, in the loss of thy poor beast; I am sure thou hast been a merciful master to him.-Alas! said the mourner, I thought so, when he was alive but now he his dead I think otherwise-I fear the weight of myself, and my afflictions together, have been too much for him—they have shortened the poor creature's days, and I fear I have them to answer for. Shame on the world! said I to myself-Did we but love each other as this poor soul loved his ass—'would be something.

STERNE.

CHAP. X.

THE SWORD.

When states and empires have their periods of declension, and feel in their turns what distress and poverty is I stop not to tell the causes, which gradually brought the house of d’E **** in Britány into decay. The Marquis d'E**** had fought up against his condition with great firmness; wishing to preserve, and still show to the world, some little fragments of what his ancestors had been their indiscretion had put it out of his power. There was enough left for the little exigencies of obscurity-But he had two boys, who looked up to him for light-he thought they deserved it. He had tried his sword—it could not open the waythe mounting was too expensive—and simple economy was not a match for it-there was no resource but commerce.

In any other province in France, save Britany, this was smiting the root for ever of the little tree his pride and affection wished to see reblossom—But in Britany, there being a provision for this, he availed himself of it; and taking an occasion when the states were assembled at Rennes, the Marquis, attended with his two sons, entered the court; and having pleaded the right of an ancient law of the duchy,

« PreviousContinue »