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toms of that country do not deem it criminal to yield. I was indulged with the most expensive amusements, and was taught to demand them as my due ; youth and beauty voluntarily surrendered themselves into my arms; and my wishes, however extravagant, were generally complied with, the instant they were known. In this round of irrational pleasures, I forgot the maxims which had been early taught me; I disregarded the counsels of age, and the dictates of prudence; attached myself to the juvenile and gay, whose pursuits, and whose pleasures, were similar to my own; and with the contamination of whose vices my soul became every day more base and enfeebled.
But repetition soon renders a life of this sort irksome, and, indeed, every pleasure which has not its source in the mind, infallibly palls on the sense. I was not long permitted to indulge in these vicious excesses; the
cup had hardly become vapid, when it was at once dashed from my lips.
The English, who had already possessed themselves of some of the most fertile provinces of Indostan, having heard of the riches of my father's dominions, wanted no other occasion to commence war against him. The most respectful representations of his pacific disposition, and the innocence of his conduct, with respect to them, were of no avail : they were bent on war, and I, as heir-apparent, was called to the command of my father's troops, that I might fight for the protection of those dominions over which I was born to reign. We met our enemies with a numerous army
but neither our skill nor our courage were by any means equal to theirs : their immoderate thirst of gold made them despise every danger which opposed its acquisition; while we, 'who were at once enervated with plenty, and wholly untrained to arms, were routed in the very first onset. I was myself wounded, and taken prisoner ; and though I was amused by the most
flattering promises, and treated with the utmost attention, that I might be induced to make discoveries respecting my paternal wealth, death closed my eyes on the third day after the defeat-and I immediately found myself transformed into an Ape, and ranging the forests of Madagascar. In this state of savage solitude, I had time to reflect on the follies of
former conduct, and was unable to deny that my low rank in creation had been well deserved by the turpitude of my past offences. I avoided, as much as possible, the society of those animals whose form I was doomed to bear; and, retreating from the thick impervious woods, where prudence had taught my companions to remain, I roved in search of some human habitation under the foolish idea of making my condition known, and of exciting commiseration for fate.
I soon discovered the abodes of men : but, alas ! I still found myself at a loss for the means of making my sad story known; and while I remained in this state of hesitation, doubt and despair, the trumpets began to sound, the hunters appeared, and I fled for the preservation of life; since, wretched as it was, I had not sufficient resolution to make a voluntary surrender of it, lest I should be consigned to a still more miserable future existence.
Some of the train, however, having noticed the course I took, soon made it known to the rest; and the King of Madagascar, with his whole court, now pursued me with the most determined perseverance. Unacquainted with the stratagems of the species for eluding my unpilying pursuers, I set up a hideous cry, as I Aed: my voice led the hunters to their prey; and, in a few minutes, I was surrounded by men and dogs, with whose united force I maintained an unequal combat for some minutes, when the spear of a grandee pierced my heart, and gave me a new existence.
My soul was now infused into a Sloth, and I opened my eyes in another quarter of the globe. Under
this form, my miseries were undescribable ; every effort was attended with excruciating pain ; and I often envied the lot of my former companions, whose society I had till then despised, and whose lives I had regarded as the summit of infelicity. Odious in my form, and incapable of an extensive sphere of action, I spent three years under this melancholy transforma
till at length, having ascended a tree, and consumed all the verdure within
reach ; to save the trouble of making a wearisome descent, I collected myself into as narrow a compass as possible ; and dropping from a branch to the ground, unfortunately fell on a rattle-snake, who stung me with a fury which the hurt it had received naturally prompted; and in a few hours, I was liberated from this most horrible of lives.
My next transformation was into an inhabitant of the sky. I was clothed with the plumage of the ALBATROSS, and endowed with all the instincts natural to that remarkable race. I was now a denizen of the purer air, and thought my sufferings were drawing near to a conclusion. I congratulated myself on being emancipated from the bodies of an ape and a
and formed such ideas of bliss, in my new state, as I was very eager to realize. Accordingly, I joined my feathered companions, and soared into the immense regions of ether. Here, it is true, I was free from danger, and from fear ; but the calls of nature demanded gratifications which were with difficulty satisfied. Continually hovering on the wing, in search of prey, I became emaciated with fatigue and expectation; and, being regarded as one of the most formidable enemies of the winged tribe, our society was shunned with the most careful circumspection, and our very sight dreaded as the certain messengers of death.
I soon became weary of a lif of such incessant hunger and fatigue, and almost wished to re-animate
even the inactive body of the sloth. Sleeping, one day, on the bosom of the air, and lowering too near the watery element, I became entangled in the shrouds of a ship, which was navigating the great South Sea; and, being instantly secured by the watchful mariners, was closely confined, as an object of considerable curiosity in natural history. During the voyage, I was treated with every indulgence, and seemed happy in the exchange I had made; but no sooner had the ship arrived in England, to which country she belonged, than I was consigned to the founder of a celebrated museum in London ; and, either from the change of climate, or the effects of food to which I had been unaccustomed, I soon paid the debt of nature; and my soul was sent to animate the body of a RACEHorse,
I was now treated with a respect almost bordering on adoration; I had servants to attend me, with provisions in abundance; and, under this form, might have been perfectly happy, had not the recollection of my original state rendered me dissatisfied with every condition inferior to that which I once possessed. I had now reached
every assiduity was doubled to render my situation more agreeable; but, alas ! little did I then know for what purpose. I was, however, soon brought under the menage ; and in being broke, as my owner called it, suffered pains inexpressible. No sooner was my education completed, than I was entered to run at Newmarket; and the most extravagant sums were betted on iny success. I entered the lists with ardour, lest I should suffer for my ill-success; acclamations attended
my course; and every face was filled with admiration at my fleetness. I won the prize; but, in straining against my formidable opponent, I burst a principal blood vessel, and fell down at the post in the moment of victory.
My next rank in the scale of existence, was that of a Cat; and it was my lot to fall under the protection
of a lady of quality in this neighbourhood, remarkable for her attachment to the feline race. Here I enjoyed every pleasure which the choicest viands and attendance could bestow, and rose higher in my mistress's regard than most of her own species; but I was confined to her room, and restraint is always irksome. I found means, however, this evening, to escape from my prison ; and tempted by the charms of your tabby, was induced to linger beyond the hours of prudence. The servant whom you commissioned to remove me, executed his order with effect: he presently caught me in the dark; and, seeing I was a stranger, had a mind to an experiment, by wrenching my jaws open, and pouring a glass of brandy down my throat. He had heard that this operation was fatal to our race, and the event has proved that he was not mistaken. I died in a few minutes, in agonies not to be expressed : and, with ineffable pleasure, found myself once more endued with the human form.
Such have been my adventures ; and I entreat you to lay them before the public. If humanity can touch the breasts of your countrymen, if feeling be not totally extinct, they will perhaps commiserate my misfortunes, and learn to prevent evils similar to those which their cruelty has doomed me to experience.
I was about to congratulate my agreeable intruder on his elevation to his former rank; and, in fancy, eagerly seized his hand. The effort I made was too violent for the silken bands of sleep; I opened my eyes, and the vision was no more.