Page images
PDF
EPUB

tue,and enforce the Practice thereof. Of the Truth of this we ouro selves are, in some measure, Witnesses, seeing that one of the greatest Genius of the last Age (the Arch-bishop of Cambray) followed this Method in instructing the Royal Infants of France; and feveral since him' value themselves upon a Knack of Writing after the fame Manner. It is this which has likewise induced me to place in the Front of each of the following Sections, of which this inconfiderable Piece before you confifts, fome particular Fable, which comprehends both the moral and political Purport of each Section; and which, in the ensuing Application thereof, is supported by several Arguments, and curious' Exain ples, extracted out of the Histories of inoft Nations: So that it is to be hoped, that in such an agreeable Medley and Variety, fomewhat may occur, which may redound, as well to the Improvement, as satisfactory Diversion both of Young and Old, which I can assure my gentle Reader, was the only End proposed by me in Undertaking it.

We read, that Demosthenes,when in Danger of being deliver'd up by thë Athenians, upon the peremptory Demand of Alexander, thought fit, even at that Time, to make Use of a Fable, however light and trivial à Thing it may seem to bę, to diffwade his Fellow-Citizens from such a Surrendry; and though otherwise · Master of the finest Strokes of Eloquence and Oratory, yer by the Application of the Fas ble he chiefly carry'd his point, and diverted the impending Blow.

Plato has inserted feveral Fables amongst his Laws, looking upon them as so many pleasing Orna. ments, and an Allay no Ways difagreeable.

The

The ancient Poets likewise very artfully introduced several into their Writings, to the end, that by the insinuating Application of such Fables, the sacred Mysteries of their Religion (such as it was in those Days) might ineet with a more favourable Reception, and universal Belief, and Adherence from the ignorant and uncultivated Populace.

We have an Account, that Menenius Agrippa, when sent to pacify the Roman People, who upon a Pique against the Senate had forfook the City, accosted them with a Fable, in this Manner: That on a Time all the Members of Man's Body rebell'd againlt the Belly, objetting that it remaind in the Midst of the Body, without doing any Thing, whereas all other París and Members labour'd painfully to satisfy the craving Appetites, and provide Necessaries for the Body;

Тbe

The Belly notwithstanding all this, laughed at their Folly, and said, It is true, I first receive all Meats that nouris Man's Body, but afterwards I send it again to the Nourishment of other parts of the fame : By this notable Tale he brought them to their Senses again, reconciled then to the Senate, and prevaild upon them peaceably to apply themselves again to their several Trades and Callings in the City.

In like Manner we read, that Æfop,being disposed to speak a good Word in Behalf of an old Samian General, who, having done what several in the same Commission have done besides him, viz. by sundry finister and oppressive Means filld his own Coffers at the Expence of the Publick; instead of a florid and elaborate Speech upon such an important Occasion, (and doubtless he rummaged his Budget for some of his best Argu

ments to support such a bad Cause) he inade Ule of a familiar Fable of a Fox, which was over-run with a Herd of Blood-fucking Vermin called Tikes, which a charitably disposed Hedge-bog in the Neighbourhood perceiving, very courteously proffer'd his Service to brush them off, but the Fox as courteoully declined the Favour, urging that his present Adherents, being by this Time, glutted with his Blood, could not suck much more; but if once remov'd, they might probably be succeeded by a set of fresh Ones, Empty and Sharp-set, by, which Means he should run a Risque of losing every Drop of Blood in his Body; from whence this excellent Mythologist artfully inferr'd, that upon the Removal of their old General, who, being al, ready over-grown with his unjust Acquisitions,could not well squeeze much more out of them, his Place

would

« PreviousContinue »