« ForrigeFortsett »
He was beautiful and eloquent; Omar admired his wit and loved his docility. Tell me,' said Caled, *thou to whose voice nations have listened, and whose wisdom is known to the extremities of Asia, tell me how I may resemble Omar the prudent. The arts by which you have gained power and preserved it, are to you no longer necessary or useful; impart to me the secret of your conduct, and teach me the plan upon which your wisdom has built
fortune.' Young man,' said Omar, “it is of little use to form plans of life.
When I took my first survey of the world, in my twentieth year, having considered the various conditions of mankind, in the hour of solitude I said thus to myself, leaning against a cedar which spread its branches over my head : Seventy years are allowed to man; I have yet fifty remaining; ten years I will allot to the attainment of knowledge, and ten I will pass in foreign countries; I shall be learned, and therefore shall be honoured; every city will shout at my arrival, and every student will solicit my friendship. Twenty years thus passed will store my mind with images which I shall be busy through the rest of my life in combining and comparing. I shall revel in inexhaustible accumulations of intellectual riches; I shall find new pleasures for every moment, and shall never more be
weary of myself. I will, however, not deviate too far from the beaten track of life, but will try what can be found in female delicacy. I will marry a wife beautiful as the Houries, and wise as Zobeide; with her I will live twenty years within the suburbs of Bagdat, in every pleasure that wealth can purchase, and fancy can invent. I will then retire to a rural dwelling, pass my last days in obscurity and contemplation, and lie silently down on the bed of death. Through my life it shall be my settled resolution, that I will never depend upon the smile of
in div mer:
years behind velling; remaine for four The fam found abl was comma I was hearc confidence, a heart.
“I still wishe. rapture to the some time to as
soul with no
t? Sometime ed with ingra el, and therefor zriage. In my fiftieth year I
travelling was past, in the felicity yet in in domestic pleas finds a woman br
ith whom he dines keep him to supper; if the la
this, modified and varied by accident and 1, would form very amusing scenes of biograad might recreate many a mind which is very lighted with conspiracies or battles, intrigues irt, or debates of a parliament; to this might
d all the changes of the countenance of a paheleek, through ardour of fondness, vehemence
in diced from the first glow which flattery raises dos os se, magnificence of praise, excuse of delay,
entation of inability, to the last chill look of mission, when the one grows weary of sond the other of hearing solicitation. opious are the materials which have been ffered to lie neglected, while the reposivery family that has produced a soldier or
are ransacked, and libraries are crowded oss folios of state papers which will never
and which contribute nothing to valuable
nedbayer Sesoonth and their value, and, instead of denad de he learned will be taught to know their
coll lives to the honour of those who seldom Chief es pudge of tie de press or their labours, resolve at last to do jus
princes; that I will never stand exposed to the artifices of courts; I will never pant for public honours, nor disturb my quiet with affairs of state. Such was my scheme of life, which I impressed indelibly upon my memory.
• The first part of my ensuing time was to be spent in search of knowledge; and I know not how I was diverted from my design. I had no visible impediments without, nor any ungovernable passions within. I regarded knowledge as the highest honour and the most engaging pleasure; yet day stole upon day, and month glided after month, till I found that seven years of the first ten had vanished, and left nothing behind them. I now postponed my purpose of travelling; for why should I go abroad while so much remained to be learned at home? I immured myself for four years, and studied the laws of the empire. The fame of my skill reached the judges; I was found able to speak upon doubtful questions, and was commanded to stand at the footstool of the califf. I was heard with attention, I was consulted with confidence, and the love of praise fastened on my heart.
I still wished to see distant countries, listened with rapture to the relations of travellers, and resolved some time to ask my dismission, that I might feast my soul with novelty; but my presence was always nécessary, and the stream of business hurried me along. Sometimes I was afraid lest I should be charged with ingratitude; but I still proposed to travel, and therefore would not confine myself by marriage.
In my fiftieth year I began to suspect that the time of travelling was past, and thought it best to lay hold on the felicity yet in my power, and indulge myself in domestic pleasures. But at fifty no man easily finds a woman beautiful as the Houries, and wise as
Zobeide. I inquired and rejected, consulted and deliberated, till the sixty-second year made me ashamed of gazing upon girls. I had now nothing left but retirement, and for retirement I never found a time, till disease forced me from public employment.
‘Such was my scheme, and such has been its consequence. With an insatiable thirst for knowledge, I trifled away the years of improvement; with a restless desire of seeing different countries, I have always resided in the same city; with the highest expectation of connubial felicity, I have lived unmarried; and with unalterable resolutions of contemplative retirement, I am going to die within the walls of Bagdat.'
N° 102. SATURDAY, MARCH 29, 1760.
It very seldom happens to man that his business is his pleasure. What is done from necessity is so often to be done when against the present inclination, and so often fills the mind with anxiety, that an habitual dislike steals upon us, and we shrink involuntarily from the remembrance of our task. This is the reason why almost every one wishes to quit his employment; he does not like another state, but is disgusted with his own.
From this unwillingness to perform more than is required of that which is commonly performed with reluctance, it proceeds that few authors write their own lives. Statesmen, courtiers, ladies, generals, and seamen, have given to the world their own stories, and the events with which their different stations have made them acquainted. They retired to