Page images

majesty a question or two. Who were the persons that lodged in this house when it was first built ? The king replied, His ancestors. And who, says the Dervise, was the last person that lodged here? The king replied, His father. And who is it, says the Dervise, that lodges here at present? The king told him, That it was he himfelf. And who, says the Dervise, will be here after you ? The king answered, The young prince his son.. Ah, Sir,' said the Dervise, • a house that changes its inhabitants so often, and receives • such a perpetual succession of guests is not a palace, but a caravansary.'





E are told that the Sultan Mahmoud, by bis perpe

tual wars abroad, and his tyranny at home, had filled his dominions with ruin and desolation, and half unpeopled the Persian empire. The visier to this great Sultan (whether an humorist or and enthusiast, we are not informed) pretended to have learned of a certain Dervise to understand the language of birds, fo that there was not a bird that could open his mouth, but the visier knew what it was he said. As he was one evening with the emperor, in their return from hunting, they faw a couple of owls upon a tree that grew near an old wall out of a heap of rubbish. I would fain know, fays the sultan, what those two owls are saying ta one another ; listen to their difcourse and give me an account of it. The visier approached the tree pretending to be very attentive to the two owls. Upon his return to the fultan, Sir, Isays he, I have heard part of their conversation,


but dare not tell you what it is. The Sultan would not be fatisfied with such an answer, but forced him to repeat word for word every thing the owls had said. You must know then, said the visier, that one of these owls has a son, and the other a daughter, between whom they are now upon a treaty of marriage. The father of the son said to the father of the daughter, in my hearing, brother, I consent to this marriage, provided you will settle upon your daughter fifty ruined villages for her portion. To which the father of the daughter replied, instead of fifty I will give her five hundred, if you please. God grant a long life to fultan Mahmond ; whilft he reigns over us, we hall never want ruined villages.

The story says, thc Sultan was fo touched with the fable, that he rebuilt the towns and villages which had been deftroyed, and from that time forward consulted the good of his people.





HERE were two very powerful tyrants engaged in a

perpetual war againit each other : the name of the first was Luxury, and of the second Avarice. The aim of each of them was no less than universal monarchy over the hearts of minkind. Luxury had many generals under him, who did him, great service, as Pleasure Mirth, Pomp, and Fafhion. Avarice was likewise very strong in his officers, being faithfully served by Hunger, Industry, Care, and Watchfulness : he had likewise a privy-counsellor who was always at his elbow, and whispering something or other in his ear : the name of this privy-counsellor was Poverty. As Avarice con


ducted himself by the counsels of Poverty, his antagonist was entirely guided by the dictates andadvice of Plenty, who was his first counsellor and minister of state, that concerted all his measures for him, and never departed out of his fight. While these two great rivals were thus contending for empire, their conquests were very various, Luxury got possession of one heart, and Avarice of another. The father of a family would often

range himself under the banners of Avarice, and the son under those of Luxury. The Wife and Husband would often declare themselves on the two different parties ; nay, the same person would very often fide with one in his youth, anú revolt to the other in his old age. Indeed the wise men of the world stood neuter ; but alas, their numbers were not confiderable. At length, when these two potentates had wearied themselves with waging war upon one another, they agreed upon an interview, at which neither of their counsellors were to be present. It is said that Luxury began the parley, and after having represented the endless state of war in which they were engaged, told his enemy, with a frankness of heart which is natural to him, that he believed they two should be very good friends, were it not for the initigations of Poverty, that pernicious counsellor, who made an ill use of his ear, and filled him with groundless apprehenfions and predjudices. To this Avarice replied, that he looked upon Plenty (the firit minister of his antagonist) to be a much more destructive counsellor than Poverty, for that he was perpetually suggesting pleasures, banishing all the necessary cautions against want, and consequentlyundermining those principles on which the

government of Avarice was founded. At last, in order to an accommodation, they agreed upon this preliminary, that each of them should immediately dismiss his privy-counfellor. When things were thus far adjusted towards a peace,


all other differences were foon accommodated, insomuch that for the future they resolved to live as good friends and confederates, and to share between them whatever conquests were made on either side. For this reason we now find Luxury and Avarice taking poffeffion of the same heart, and dividing the same person between them. To which I shall only add, that since the discarding of the counsellors abovementioned, Avarice supplies Luxury in the room of Plenty as Luxury prompts Avarice in the place of Poverty.





"HERE were two families which from the beginning

of the world were as opposite to each other as light and darkness. The one of them lived in heaven, and the other in hell. The youngest descendant of the first family was Pleasure, who was the daughter of Happiness, who was the child of Virtue, who was the offspring of the Gods. These, as I said before, had their habitation in heaven. The youngest of the opposite family was Pain, who was the fon of Misery, who was the child of Vice, who was the offspring of the Furies. The habitation of this race of beings was in hell.

The middle station of nature between these two.opposite extremes was the earth which was inhabited by creatures of a middle kind, neither fo virtuous as the one, nor fo vicious as the other, but partaking of the good and bad qualites of these two oppofite familes. Jupiter confidering that this fpecies, commonly called man, was too virtuous to be miserable, and too vicious to be happy ; that he might make a


diftinction between the good and the bad, ordered the two youngest of the above-mentioned families, Pleasure who was the daughter of Happiness, and Pain who was the son of Misery, to meet one another upon this part of nature which lay in the half way between them, having promised to settle it upon them both, provided they could agree upon the divi. fion of it, so as to share mankind between them.

PLEASURE and Pain were no sooner met in their new habitation, but they immediately agreed upon this point, that Pleasure should take poffeffion of the virtuous, and Pain of the vicious part ofthat species which was given up to them. But upon examining to which of them any individual they met with belonged, they found each of them had a right to him ; for that contrary to what they had seen in their old places of residence, there was no person so vicious who had not some good in him, nor any person so virtuous who had not in him some evil. The truth of it is, they generally found upon search, that in the most vicious man Pleasure might lay claim to an hundredth part; and that in the most virtuous man, Pain might come in for at least two-thirds. This they saw would occafion endless disputes between them, unless they could come to some accommodation. To this end there was a marriage proposed between them, and at length concluded : by this means it is that we find Pleasure and Pain are such constant yoke-fellows, and that they either make their visits together, or are never far asunder. If Pain comes into a heart, he is quickly followed by Pleafure ; and if Pleasure enters, you may be sure Pain is not far off.

But notwithstanding this marriage was very convenient for the two parties, it did not seem to answer the intention of Jupiter in sending them among mankind. To remedy


« PreviousContinue »