Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

full moon after their decease, pass through the eastern gate of the black palace, which is therefore called the gate of Paradise in order to take their flight for that happy place.

23. Helim, therefore having made due preparation for this night, dressed each of the lovers in a robe of azure silk, wrought in the finest looms of Persia, with a long train of linen whiter than snow, that floated on the ground behind them. Upon Abdallah’s head he fixed a wreath of the greenest myrtle, and on Balsora's a garland of the freshest roses. Their garments were scented with the richest perfumes of Arabia.

24. Having thus prepared every thing, the full moon was no sooner up, and shining in all its brightness, but he privately opened the gate of Paradise, and shut it after the same manner, as soon as they had passed through it.

25. The band of negroes who were posted at a little distance from the gate, seeing two such beautiful apparitions, that shewed themselves to advantage by the light of the full moon, and being ravished with the odour that flowed from their garments, immediately concluded them to be the ghosts of the two persons lately deceased.

26. They fell upon their faces as they passed through the midst of them, and continued postrate on the earth until such time as they were out of sight. They reported the next day what they had seen, but this was looked upon by the king himself, and most others, as the compliment that was usually paid to any of the deceased of his family.

27. Helim had placed two of his own mules at about a mile's distance from the black temple, on the spot which they had agreed upon for their rendezvous. Here he met them, and conducted them to one of his own houses, which was situated on mount Khacan.

28. The air of this mountain was so very healthful, that Helim had formerly transported the king thither, in order to recover him out of a long fit of sickness, which succeeded so well, that the king made him a present of the whole mountain, with a beautiful house and garden that were on the top of it.

29. In this retirement lived Abdallah and Balsora. "They were both so fraught with all kinds of knowledge and possessed with so constant and mutual a passion for each other, that their solitude never lay heavy on them.

30. Abdallah applied himself to those arts which were agrecable to his manner of living, and the situation of the place ; insomuch that in a few years he converted the whole mountain into a kind of garden, and covered every part of it with plantations or spots of flowers. Helim was too good a father to let him want for any thing that might conduce to make his retirement pleasant, 31. In about ten years after their abode in this place, the old king died, and was succeeded by his son Ibrahim, who upon the supposed death of his brother, had been called to court, and entertained there as heir to the Persian empire. Though he was some years inconsolable for the death of his brother, Helim durst not trust him with the secret which he knew would have fatal consequences, should it by any means come to the know!edge of the old king.

32. Ibrahim was no sooner mounted on the throne, but Helim sought after a proper opportunity of making a discovery to him, which he knew would be very agreeable to so good-natured and generous a prince. It so happened, that before Helim found such an opportunity as he desired, the new king Ibrahim, having been separated from his company in a chase, and almost fainting with heat and thirst, saw himself at the foot of mount Khacan. He immediately ascended the hill, and coming to Helim's house, demanded some refreshment.

33. Helim was very luckily there at that time ; and after having set before the king the choicest of wines and fruits, and find

him wonderfully pleased with so reasonable a treat, told him that vlae best part of bis entertainment was to come. Upon

which he opened to him the whole history of what had passed. was . The king

once astonished and transported at so strange a relation, ar seeing his brother enter the room with Balsora in his hand, he leaped off from the sofa on which he sat, and cried out “ It is he! it is my Abdallah !" Having said this, he fell upon his neck, and wept.

34. The whole company, for some time, remained silent, and shedding tears of joy. The king at length having kindly reproached Helim for depriving him so long of such a brother, embraced Balsora with the greatest tenderness, and told her that she should now be a queen indeed, for that he would immediate, ly make his brother king of all the conquered nations on the other side the Tigris.

35. He easily discovered in the eyes of our two lovers, that instead of being transported with the offer, they preferred their present retirement to empire. At their request therefore, he changed his intentions, and made them a present of all the open country as far as they could see from the top of mount Khacan.

36. Abdallah continaing to extend his former improvements, beautified this whole prospect with groves and fountains, gardens and seats of pleasure until it became the most delicious spot of ground within the empire, and is therefore called the Garden of Persia.

37. This Caliph, Ibrahim, after a long and happy reign, died without children, and was succeeded by Abdalloh, a son of Abdallah and Balsora. This was that king Abdallah; who afterward fixed the Imperial residence upon mount Khacan, which continues at this time to be the favourite palace of the Persian empire.

T

On Rashness and Cowardice.

RAMBLER, No. 25. 1. THERE are some vices and errors which though often

fatal to those in whom they are found, have yet, by the universal consent of mankind, been considered as entitled to some degree of respect, or have, at least, been exempted from contemptuous infamy, and condemned by the severest moralist with pity rather than detestation.

2. A constant and invariable example of this general partiality will be found in the different regard which has always been shewn to rashness and cowardice; two vices, of which, though they may be conceived equalıy distant from the middle point, where true fortitude is placed, and may equally injure any public or private interest, yet the one is never mentioned without some kind of veneration, and the other always considered as a topic of unlimited and licentious censure, on which all the viru unce of reproach may be lawfully exerted.

3. The same distinction is made, by the common suffrage between profusion and avarice, and, perhaps veti : many other opposite vices; and as I have found reason to pay great regard to the voice of the people, in cases where knowlede has been forced upon them by experience, without long deductions or deep researches, I am inclined to believe that this distribution of respect is not without some agreement with the nature of things; and that in the faults, which are thus invested with extraordinary privileges, there are generally some latent principles of merit, some possibilities of future virtue, which may, by degrees break from obstruction, and by time and opportunity be brought into action.

4. It may be laid down as an axiom, that it is more easy to take away superfluities than to supply defects; and therefore, he who is culpable, because he has passed the middle point of virtue, is always accounted a fairer object of hope, than he who fails by falling short. The one has all that perfection requires, and more, but the excess may be easily retrenched; the other wants the qualities requisite to excellence, and who can tell how he shall obtain them.

5. We are certain that the horse may be taught to keep pace with his fellows, whose fault it is that he leaves them behind. We know that a few strokes of the axe will lop a cedar; but what arts of cultivation can elevate a shrub.

6. To walk with circumspection and steadiness in the right path, at an equal distance between the extremes of error, ought to be the constant endeavour of every reasonable being; nor can I think those teachers of moral wisdom much to be honoured as benefactors to mankind, who are always enlarging upon the difficulty of our duties, and providing rather excuses for vice, than incentives to virtue.

7. Buts since to most it will happen often, and to all sometimes, that there will be a deviation towards one side or the other, we ought always to employ our vigilance, with most attention, on that enemy, from which there is the greatest danger, and to stray, if we must stray, towards those parts from whence we may quickly and easily return.

8. Among other opposite qualities of the mind, which may become dangerous, though in different degrees, I have often had occasion to consider the contrary effects of presumption and despondency; of steady confidence, which promises a victory withont contest, and heartless pusillanimity, which shrinks back from the thought of great undertakings, confounds difficulty with impossibility, and considers all advancement towards any new attainment as irreversibly prohibited.

9. Presumption will be easily corrected, every experiment will teach caution, and miscarriages will hourly shew, that attempts are not always rewarded with success. The most precipitate ardour will, in time, be taught the necessity of methodical, gradation, and preparatory measures ; and the most daring confidence be convinced that neither merit, nor abilities, cart command events.

10. It is the advantage of vehemence and activity, that they are always håstening to their own reformation ; because they incite us to try uvhether our expectations are well grounded, and therefore detect the deceits which they are apt to occasion. But timidity is a disease of the mind more obstinate and fatal ; for a man once persuaded, that any impediment is insuperable, has given it, with respect to himself, that strength and weight which it had not before.

11. He can scarcely strive with vigour and perseverance, when he has no hope of gaining the victory: and since he will never try his strength, can never discover the unreasonableness of his fears.

12. There is often to be found in men devoted to literature, a kind of intellectual cowardice, which whoever converses much among them, may observe frequently to depress the alacrity of enterprise, and by consequence, to retard the improvement of science.

13. They have annexed to every species knowledge some chimerical character ofterror and inhibition, which they transmit, without much reflection, from one to another; they first fright themselves, and then propagate the panic to their scholars and acquaintance.

14. One study is inconsistant with a lively imagination; another with a solid judgment; one is improper in the early parts of life, another requires so much time, that it is not to be attempted at an advanced age; one is dry and contracts the sentiments, another is diffuse and over-burdens the memory; one is insufferable to taste and delicacy, and another wears out life in the study of words and is useless to a wise man, who desires only the knowledge of things.

15 But of all the bugbears by which the infantes barbati boys both young and old, have been hitherto frighted from digressing into new tracts of learning, none has been more mischievously efficacions than an opinion that every kind of knowledge requires a peculiar genius, or mental constitution, framed for the reeeption of some ideas, and the exclusion of others; and that to him whose genius is not adapted to the study which he prosecutes, all.labour shall be vain and fruitless, vain as an endeavour to mingle oil and water, or, in the language of chemistry, to amalgamate bodies of heterogeneous principles.

16. This opinion we may reasonably suspect to have been propagated, by vanity, beyond the truth. It is natural for those who have raised a reputation by any science to exalt themselves as endowed by heaven with peculiar powers, or marked out by an extraordinary designation for their profession; and to fright competitors away by representing the difficulties with which they must contend, and the necessity of qualities which are supposed to be not generally conferred, and which no man can know, but by experience, whether he enjoys.

17. To this discouragement it may possibly be answered, that since a genius, whatever it may be, is like fire in the flint, only to be produced by collision with a proper subject, it is the business of every man to try whether his faculties may not happily co-operate with his desires ; and since they whose proficiency he admires, knew their own force only by the event, he needs, but engage in the same undertaking, with equal spirit, and may reasonably hope for equal success.

18. There is another species of false intelligence, given by those who profess to shew the way to the summit of knowledge, of equal tendency to depress the mind with a false distrust of itself, and weaken it by needless solicitude and dejection. When a scholar whom they desire to animate, consults them at his entrance on some new study, it is common to make flattering representations of iis pleasantness and facility.

« ForrigeFortsett »