Page images

may be performed by multitudes, who have not abilities fufficient to deserve well of their country, and to recommend themselves to their pofterity, by any other method. It is the phrase of a friend of mine, when any

useful country neighbour dies, that you may trace him: which I look upon as a good funeral-oration, at the death of an honeft husbandman, who hath left the impreslions of his industry behind him, in the place where he has lived.

Upon the foregoing considerations, I can scarce forbear representing the subject of this paper as a kind of moral virtue : which, as I have already shewn, recommends itself likewise by the pleasure that attends it. It must be confessed, that this is none of those turbulent pleasures which is apt to gratify a man in the heats of youth ; but if it be not so tumultuous, it is more lasting. Nothing can be more delightful than to entertain ourselves with prospects of our own making, and to walk under those fhades which our own industry has raised. Amusements of this nature compose the mind, and lay at rest all those paflions which are uneasy to the soul of man, besides, that they naturally engender good thoughts, and dispose us to laudable contemplations. Many of the old philosophers passed away the greatest part of their lives among their gardens. Epicurus himself could not think sensual pleafure attainable in any other scene. Every reader who is acquainted with Homer, Virgil, and Horace, the greateit genuises of all antiquity, knows very well with how. much rapture they have spoken on this subject; and that Virgil in particular has written a whole book on the art of planting

This alt leems to have been more especially adapted to the above of man in his primæval state, when he had life en ugh to see his productions flourish in their utmost beauty, and gradually decay with him. One who lived before the flood might have seen a wood of the tallest caks in the acorn. But I only mention this particular, in: order to introduce, in my next paper, a history which I , have found among the accounts of China, and which may be looked upon as an antediluvian novel.


[ocr errors][merged small]

Hic gelidi fontes, hic mollia prata, Lycori,
Hic nemus, hic toto tecum confumerer ævo.

Virg. Ecl. 10. V. 42,

Come see what pleasures in our plains abound;
The woods, the fountains, and the flow'ry ground:
Here I could live, and love, and die with only you.


HILPA was one of the 150 daughters of Zilpah, of

the race of Gohu, by whom some of the learned think is meant Cain. She was exceedingly beautiful, and when she was but a girl of threescore and ten years of age, received the addresses of several who made love to her. Among these were two brothers, Harpath and Shalum. Harpath, being the first-born, was master of that fruitful region which lies at the foot of mount Tirzah, in the southern parts of China. Shalum (which is to say the planter in the Chinese language) possessed all the neighbouring hills, and that great range of mountains which goes under the name of Tirzah. Harpath was of a haughty contemptuous spirit; Shalum was of a gentle disposition, beloved both by God and man.

It is said that, among the antediluvian women, the daughters of Cohu had their minds wholly set upon riches; for which reason the beautiful Hilpa preferred Harpath to Shalum, because of his numerous flocks and herds that covered all the low country which runs along the foot of mount Tirzah, and is watered by several fountains and streams breaking out of the sides of that moun


HARPATH made so quick a dispatch of his courtfhip, that he married Hilpa in the hundredth year

of her age; and being of an insolent temper, laughed to scorn his brother Shalum for having pretended to the beautiful Hilpa, when he was master of nothing but a long chain of rocks and mountains. This so much provoked Shalum,


that he is said to have cursed his brother in the bitterness of his heart, and to have prayed that one of his mountains might fall upon his head if ever he came within the shadow of it.

From this time forward Harpath would never venture out of the valleys, but came to an untimely end in the 250th year of his age, being drowned in a river as he attempted to cross it. This river is called to this day, from his name who perished in it, the river Harpath, and what is very remarkable, issues out of one of those mountains which Shalum wished might fall upon his brother, when he cursed him in the bitterness of his heart.

HILPA was in the 160th year of her age at the death of her husband, having brought him but 50 children, before he was snatched away, as has been already related. Many of the antediluvians made love to the young widow, though no one was thought fo likely to succeed in her affections as her first lover Shalum, who renewed his court to her about ten years after the death of Harpath; for it was not thought decent in those days that a widow should be seen by a man within ten years after the decease of her husband.

SHALU M falling into a deep melancholy, and resolving to take away that objection which had been raised against him when he made his first addresses to Hilpa, began immediately, after her marriage with Harpath, to plant all that mountainous region which fell to his lot in the division of this country. He knew how to adapt every plant to its proper soil, and is thought to have inherited many traditional secrets of that art from the first man. This employment turned at length to his profit as well as to his amusement; his mountains were in a few years shaded with young trees, that gradually shot up into groves, woods, and forests, intermixed with walks and lawns, and gardens; insomuch that the whole region, from a naked and desolate prospect, began now to look like a second paradise. The pleasantness of the place, and the agreeable disposition of Shalum, who was reckoned one of the mildest and wisest of all who lived before the flood, drew into it multitudes of people, who were perpetually employed in the sinking of wells, the digging of trenches,


and the hollowing of trees, for the better distribution of water through every part of this spacious plantation.

The habitations of Shalum looked every year more beautiful in the eyes of Hilpa, who, after the space of 70 autumns, was wonderfully pleased with the distant prospect of Shalum’s hills, which were then covered with innumerable tufts of trees, and gloomy scenes that gave a magnificence to the place, and converted it into one of the finest landskips the eye of man could behold.

The Chinese record a letter which Shalun is said to have written to Hilpa, in the eleventh year of her widowhood. I shall here tranllate it, without departing from that noble fimplicity of sentiments, and plainness of man


in the original. SHALUM was at this time 180 years old, and Hilpa 170. Shalum, Master of mount Tirzah, to Hilpa, Mistress of

the valleys.

ners which



In the 788 year of the creation. HAT have I not suffered, Othou daughter of

Zilpah, since thou gavest thyself away in marriage to my rival? I grew weary of the light of the fun, ' and have been ever since covering myself with woods and

forests. These threescore and ten years hare I bewailed 'the loss of thee on the tops of mount Tirzah, and sooth'ed my melancholy among a thousand gloomy shades of 'my own raising. My dwellings are at present as the gar• den of God; every part of them is filled with fruits, and 'flowers, and fountains. The whole mountain is perfu'med for thy reception. Come up into it, O my beloved, ' and let us people this spot of the new world with a • beautiful race of mortals; let us multiply exceedingly

among these delightful shades, and fill every quarter of • them with sons and daughters. Remember, o thou . daughter of Zilpah, that the age of man is but a thou' sand years; that beauty is the admiration but of a few

centuries. It flourishes as a mountain oak, or as a ce• dar on the top of Tirzah, which in three or four hun• dred years will fade away, and never be thought of by posterity, unless a young wood springs from its roots.

« Think


• Think well on this, and remember thy neighbour in • the mountains.'

Having here inserted this letter, which I look upon as the only antediluvian billet-doux now extant, I shall in my next paper give the answer to it, and the sequel of this story.

N° 585.

IVednesday, August 25.

Ipsi letitia voces ad fidera jactant
Intonfi montes : ipfic jam carmina rupes,
Ipfe fonant arbuffa-

Virg. Ecl. 5. v. 63.
The mountain tops unshorn, the rocks rejoice;
The lowly sharubs partake of human voice. Dryden:



[ocr errors]

The fequel of the story of Shalun and Hilpa.

H E letter inserted in my last had so good an effect

upon Hilpa, that the answered it in less than a twelvemonth after the following manner. Hilpa, Mistress of the valleys, to Skalum, Master of

mount Tirzah.

In tre 789 year of the creation. HAT have I to do with thee, O Shalum? Thou

praisest Hilpa's beauty, but art thou not secretly enamoured with the verdour of her meadows ? Art thou not more affected with the prospect of her green valleys, than thou wouldst be with the fight of her person? The lowings of my herds, and the bleatings of my flocks, make a pleasant echo in thy mountains, and found sweet• ly in thy ears. What though I am delighted with the wavings of thy forests, and those breezes of perfumes which flow from the top of Tirzab: are these like the riches of the valley?

'I KNOW thee, O Shaluin; thou art more wise and - happy than any of the fons of men. Thy dwellings are among the cedars; thou searchest out the diversity


[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »