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storing poetry, while he is amusing himself with alterations like these ;

For

This is the serjeant,
Who like a good and hardy soldier fought;

This is the serjeant, who
Like a right good and hardy soldier fought.

For Dismay'd not this
Our captains Macbeth and Banquo ?-Yes;

Dismay'd not this
Our captains brave Macbeth and Banquo?-Yes.

Such harmless industry may, surely, be forgiven, if it cannot be praised : may he therefore never want a monosyllable, who can use it with such wonderful dexterity.

Rumpatur quisquis rumpitur invidia !

The rest of this edition I have not read, but, from the little that I have seen, think it not dangerous

to declare, that, in my opinion, its pomp recommends it more than its accuracy. There is no distinction made between the ancient reading, and the innovations of the editor ; there is no reason given for any of the alterations which are made ; the emendations of former criticks are adopted without any acknowledgment, and few of the dif. ficulties are removed which have hitherto embarrassed the readers of Shakespeare.

man

I would not, however, be thought to insult the editor, nor to censure him with too much petulance, for having failed in little things, of whom I have been told that he excels in greater. But I may without indecency observe, that no should attempt to teach others what he has never learned himself; and that those who, like Themistocles, have studied the arts of policy, and can teach a small state how to grow great, should, like him, disdain to labour in trifles, and consider petty ac complishments as below their ambition.

TBE

TIISTORY OF RASSELAS,

PRINCE OF ABISSINIA.

CHAP. I.

DESCRIPTION OF A PALACE IN A VALLEY.

YE who listen with credulity to the whispers of fancy, and pursue with eagerness the phantoms of hope; who expect that age will perform the promises of youth, and that the deficiencies of the present day will be supplied by the morrow; attend to the history of Rasselas Prince of Abissinia.

Rasselas was the fourth son of the mighty emperor, in whose dominions the Father of Waters begins his course ; whose bounty pours down the streams of plenty, and scatters over half the world the harvests of Egypt.

According to the custom which has descended from age age among

the monarchs of the torrid zone, Rasselas was confined in a private palace, with the other sons and daughters of Abissinian royalty, till the order of succession should call him to the throne. VOL. III.

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to

The place, which the wisdom or policy of antiquity had destined for the residence of the Abissinian princes, was a spacious valley in the kingdom of Amhara, surrounded on every side by mountains, of which the summits overhang the middle part. The only passage, by which it could be entered, was a cavern that passed under a rock, of which it has long been disputed whether it was the work of nature or of human industry. The outlet of the cavern was concealed by thick wood, and the mouth, which opened into the valley, was closed with gates of iron, forged by the atificers of ancient days, so massy, that no man could without the help of engines open or shut them.

From the mountains on every side, rivulets descended that filled all the valley with verdure and fertility, and formed a lake in the middle inhabited by fish of every species, and frequented by every fowl whom nature has taught to dip the wing in water. This lake discharged its superfluities by a stream which entered a dark cleft of the mountain on the northern side, and fell with dreadful noise from precipice to precipice till it was heard no

a

more,

The sides of the mountains were covered with trees, the banks of the brooks were diversified with flowers ; every blast shook spices from the rocks, and every month dropped fruits upon the ground. All animals that bite the grass, or browse the shrub, whether wild or tame, wandered in this extensive circuit, secured from beasts of prey by the mountains which confined them. On one part were flocks and herds feeding in the pastures, on another all the beasts of chace frisking in the lawns; the sprightly kid was bonnding on the rocks, the subtle monkey frolicking in the trees, and the solemn elephant reposing in the shade. All the diversities of the world were brought together, the blessings of nature were collected, and its evils extracted and excluded.

The valley, wide and fruitful, supplied its inhabitants with the necessaries of life ; and all delights and superfluities were added at the annual visit which the emperor paid his children, when the iron gate was opened to the sound of musick; and during eight days every one that resided in the valley was required to propose whatever might contribute to make seclusion pleasant, to fill up the vacancies of attention, and lessen the tediousness of time. Every desire was immediately granted. All the artificers of pleasure were called to gladden the festivity; the musicians exerted the

power

of harmony, and the dancers shewed their activity before the princes, in hope that they should pass their lives in this blissful captivity, to which those only were admitted whose performance was thought able to add novelty to luxury. Such was the appearance of security and delight which this retirement afforded, that they, to whom it was new, always desired that it might be perpetual ; and as those, on whom the iron gate had once closed, were never suffered to return, the effect of longer experience could not be known. Thus every year produced new schemes of delight, and new competitors for imprisonment.

The palace stood on an eminence raised about thirty paces above the surface of the lake. It was divided into many squares or courts, built with

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