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ON CONTENTMENT. A FABLE.
Nolint, atqui licet esse beatis. Hor.
(Continued from page 64.). At Isaphan in Persia there lived a young man of noble - family and good fortune named Achmet, who from his infancy shewed the earliest signs of a restless and turbulent spirit; and though by nature endowed with an understanding supe. rior to any of his age, was led away by every gust of passion to precipitate himself into the greatest dangers. After having å little experienced the misfortunes that acrue from such a disposition, he became somewhat more diffident of his own abilities, and determined to take the advice of those who had been most conversant with human nature, how to proceed for the future. There dwelt not far from the city, in a little cell among a ridge of mountains, an old hermit, who many years before bad retired from the world to that plaee to spend the rest of his days in prayer and contemplation. This good man became so famous thro' the country for his wisdom and exemplary life, that if any one had any uneasiness of mind, he immediately went to Abudah (for so he was called) and never failed of receiving consolation, in the deepest affliction, from his prudent counsel, which made the superstitious imaginc, that there was a charm in the sound of his words to drive away despair and ber gloomy attendants. Hither Achmct repaired, and as he was entering a grove near the sage's habitation, met according to his wishes the venerable recluse ; he prostrated himself before hiin, and with signs of the utmost anguish, “behold, said he, ó divine Abudah, favourite of our mighty prophet, who resemblest Allah bý distributing the balnı of comfort to the distressed, belold the most miserable of mortals. He was going on, when the old man deeply affected with his lamentations, interrupted. him, and taking him by the hand, “rise my son said he, let me know the cause of thy misfortunes, and whatever is in my power shall be done to restore thee to tranquility.” “Alas! replied Achmet, how can I be restored to that which I never yet possessed ! for kņow, thou enlightened guide of the faithful, I never have spent an easy moment that I can remember, since reason first dawned upon my mind; hitherto, even from my cradle, a tbousand fancies have attended me through life, aud arc continually under false appearances of happiness,
deceiving me into anxiety, whilst others are enjoying the most undisturbed repose. Tell me then, I conjure thee by the holy temple of Mecca, from whence thy prayers have been so often carried to Mahomet by the ministers of Paradise, by what method I may arrive, if not at the sacred tranquility thou enjoyest, yet at the barbour of such earthly peace as the holy Koran has promised to all those that obey its celestial precepts; for sure the damned, who remove alternately from the different extremes of chilling frosts and scorching fames, cannot suffer greater torments than I undergo at present." Abudah perceiving a discontented mina the source alone of the young man's troubles, "be comforted my son, said he, for a time shall come, by the will of Heaven, when thou shalt receive the reward of a true believer, and be freed from all thy misfortunes; but thou must still undergo many more, before thou canst be numbered with the truly happy. Thou enquirest of me where happiness dwells. Look round the world, and see m how many different scenes she has taken up her residence; sometimes, tho' very rarely, in a palace, often in a cottage; the philosopher's cave of retirement, and the soldier's tent amidst the noise and danger of war, are by turns her habitation ; the rich man may see her in his
treasure, or the beggar in his wallet. In all these stations , she is to be found, but in none altogether. Go then and seek thy fortune among the various scenes of the world, and if thou shouldst prove unsuccessful in this probationary ex. pedition, return to me when seven years are expircd, when the passions of youth begin to subside, and I will in. struct thee by a religious emblem, which our great prophet sliewed me in a dream, how to obtain the end of all thy wishes."
Achmet not understanding Abudah's meaning, Jeft him as discontented as he came, and returned to Isaphan with a full resolution of gratifying every inclination of pleasure or ambition, imagining one of these must be a sure road to felicity. Accordingly he gave up his first years entirely to those enjoyments which enervate both mind and body; but finding at length no real satisfaction in the possession of these, but rather diseases and disappointments: he changed his course of life, and followed the dictates of avarice, that was continually offering to his eyes external happiness seated on a throne of gold. His endeavours succeeded, and by the assistance of fortune he became the richest subject of the east. Still something was wanting. Power and honour presented themselves to his view, and wholly engaged his attention. These desires did not remain long unsatisfied; for by the favour of the Sophy he was advanced to the highest dig nities of the Persian empire. But alasi bę was still never
the nearer to the primary object of his most ardent wishes ! Fears, doubts, and a thousand different anxieties that attend the great perpetually haunted him, and made him seek again the calm retirement of a rural life. Nor was the latter productive of any more comfort than the former stations ; in short being disappointed, and finding happiness in no one condition, he sought the hermit a second time, to complain of his fate and claim the promise he had received before the beginning of his adventures. Abudah seeing his disciple return again after the stated time, still discontented, took him by the hand, and smiling upon him with an air of gentle reproof, "Achmet, said he, cease to blame the fates for the uneasiness which arises alone from thy own breast; behold, since thou hast performed the task I enjoined in order to make the more capable of following my instructions, I will unfold to thee the grand mystery of wisdom, by which she leads her votaries to happiness. See (said he, pointing to a river in which several
young swans were eagerly swimming after their own shadows in the stream) those silly birds imitate mankind; they are in pursuit of that which their own motion puts to flight; behold others that have tired themselves with their unnecessary labour, and, sitting still, are in posession of what their utmost endeavours could never have accomplished. Thus, my son, happiness is the shadow of contentment, and rests, or moves for ever with its original.
ON THE INFLUENCE OF THE GYMNASTIC EXER. CISES, ON THE MANNERS AND CONSTITUTIONS OF THE ANCIENT GREEKS.
(Continued from page 62.) The Macedonians whom Demosthenes affected continually to term barbarians, had strong nerves, and a degree of good sense consequent upon such a conformation of the fibres; they applicd themselves but little to, athletic exercises, yet in pitched battles almost constantly defeated the other Greeks. The Bæotians, the Phocions, the Spartans, the Athenians; in short, all who durst oppose themselves to the Macedonian forces, 'fell in succession almost as corn before the sickle of the reaper.
The Roman soldiery who knew not the name of the gyma nastic art, began their march in the morning, and were sure before evening to vanquish the Greeks, wherever they could. find them. Unfortunately they came upon them, at a time when already, they were entirely enervated by the very efforts they had made to render themselves robust.
Even supposing these exercises of boxing, pancratium, and extravagant racing, had not brought on the monstrous deformities already mentioned, the too abundant perspiration, and too great effusion of sweat, which such practices could not fail to excite, must have been more than sufficient to des bilitate the human body, by depriving it of a great part of the juices necessary to its preservation.
Accordingly, Galen assures us, in the most positive terms, that, from Hippocrates down to himself, no Greek physi, cian had approved of the temperament constitution, or regia. men of the Athlæa.
It is truly absurd to oppose, as had been done to the testi. mony of all the physicians of Greece, the insignificant au. thority of such a writer as Lucian, who has composed a dialogue on the gymnastic art, in which, by an inconceiveable ignorance of ancient history, he ventures to introduce Solon, as if that legislator had been a zealous partisan to the Athletæe, to whom, on the contrary, he was a decided enemy. Solon reduced to almost nothing the rewards which were destined for the champion, and taught the Athenians, that it was infinitely more advantageous to employ the funds of the state, in bringing up orphans, than in supporting wrest, lers, useless in times of peace, and still more useless in time of war; for, according to the expression of Euripides, they were the worst of all the Grecian soldiers.
It has hitherto been thought, that the combats of the gladiators at Rome, were a spectacle beyond comparison more cruel, than the gymnastic combats of the Greeks: but the truth is, the one were as cruel as the other. The wounded gladiators might be healed by able chiurgeons; and Galen saved the life of most of those who had received wounds at Pergamus, where he resided. But the Grecian champions could not be cured, because, in their coinbats, entire members were torn off. They lost eyes, teeth, nose, chin, and ears; and, in short, looked like men hardly escaped from the paws of a tiger or a leopard. Can we conceive any thing more atrocious than to see champions naked, disgustful with blood, tearing each others bodies with gantlers, and inflicting so many contusions on the face, that all the features were altered to such a degree, that a mother after these exploits, could not recognize her son, and brothers were unable to know one another by sight? On these accounts, it is certain, as Isocrates assures us, that none but the vilest of the populace from the obscurest viHages of Greece, would embrace so infamous a trade, for want of having learned another that might haya enabled them to live with less trouble and less renown.
With regard to horse-races, they produced upon these animals the same effects that the gymnastic exercises did upon the human species, that is to say, their race was totally enervated throughout all Greece, where they had the consummate folly to bring upon the course, fillies so young, that one single trial of that kind, ruined them for ever.
The English have greatly degraded the breed of their horses, by the Newmarket races, and others of a similar kind through the kingdom; but had they imitated the Greeks, and made fillies enter the lists, there would not at this day have remained in all Britain a single horse worth riding:
Pindar, speaks of a race at the Pythian games, where there were, says he, no less than forty chariots broken to pieces, and forty charioteers overturned on the sand; which made, to use an expression of Sophocles, a shipwreck by land. This signifies, in other words, that there were then destroyed, without any benefit to the state, a great number of men and useful animals, whereof some were crushed to death upon the spot, and others languished in long continued pain. Thus were all the horrors of war exhibited in the midst of peace.
DRURY LANE THEATRE.
What there is in this play to call for a revival it is quite beyond us to conjecture. We know that it has been performed with sufficient success from its first appearance almost to the present hour : but we are inclined to believe that neither the writer nor the school, stand so high in the. public opinion as they did, even a very
since. We have often enough asserted that what is truly excellent in our drama must be selected from the writers previous to the usurpation : but Southern either as a wit or a poet, is, in our opinion immeasurably inferior to many of his contemporaries. Gray it is said, thought highly of his pathetic powers : and there are few men to whose opinion we are inclined to pay a more respeciful deference:--but the pathetic powers of Southern are all in situa. tion and circumstance: he understood well enough what would be effecțive in representation ; but this was all :---heșas a fullness of words but