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scents and brighter colours than I had observed in any other climate. And near them was the dark walk of Allegory, so artificially shaded, that the light at noonday was never stronger than that of a bright moonshine. This gave it a pleasingly romantic air for those who delighted in contemplation. The paths and alleys were perplexed with intricate windings, and were all terminated with a statue of a Grace, a Virtue, or a Muse.
After I had observed these things, I turned my eye towards the multitudes who were climbing the steep ascent, and observed amongst them a youth of a lively look, a piercing eye, and something fiery and irregular in all his motions. His name was Genius. He darted like an eagle up the mountain, and left his companions gazing after him with envy and admiration: but his progress was unequal, and interrupted by a thousand caprices. When Pleasure warbled in the valley he mingled in her train. When Pride beckoned towards the precipice, he ventured to the tottering edge. He delighted in devious and untried paths; and made so many excursions from the road, that his feebler companions often outstripped him. I observed that the Muses beheld him with partiality; but Truth often frowned, and turned aside her face. While Genius was thus wasting his strength in eccentric flights, I saw a person of a very different appearance, named Application. He crept along with a slow and unremitting pace, his eyes fixed on the top of the mountain, patiently removing every stone that obstructed his way, till he saw most of those below him who had at first derided his slow and toilsome progress. Indeed, there were few who ascended the hill with equal and uninterrupted steadiness; for, beside the difficulties of the way, they were continually solicited to turn aside by a numerous crowd of Appetites, Passions, and Pleasures, whose importunity, when they had once complied with, they became less and less able to resist; and though they often returned to the path, the asperities of the road were more severely felt, the hill appeared more steep and rugged, the fruits which were wholesome and refreshing seemed harsh and ill-tasted, their sight grew dim, and their feet tripped at every little obstruction.
I saw, with some surprise, that the Muses, whose business it was to cheer and encourage those who were toiling
up the ascent, would often sing in the bowers of Pleasure, and accompany those who were enticed away at the call of the Passions; they accompanied them, however, but a little way, and always forsook them when they lost sight of the hill. The tyrants then doubled their chains upon the unhappy captives, and led them away, without resistance, to the cells of Ignorance, or the mansions of Misery. Amongst the innumerable seducers, who were endeavouring to draw away the votaries of Truth from the path of Science, there was one, so little formidable in her appearance, and so gentle and languid in her attempts, that I should scarcely have taken notice of her, but for the numbers she had imperceptibly loaded with her chains. Indolence (for so she was called), far from proceeding to open hostilities, did not attempt to turn their feet out of the path, but contented herself with retarding their progress; and the purpose she could not force them to abandon, she persuaded them to delay. Her touch had a power like that of the torpedo, which withered the strength of those who came within its influence. Her unhappy captives still turned their faces towards the temple, and always hoped to arrive there; but the ground seemed to slide from beneath their feet, and they found themselves at the bottom, before they suspected they had changed their place. The placid serenity which at first appeared in their countenance changed by degrees into a melancholy languor, which was tinged with a deeper and deeper gloom, as they glided down the stream of Insignificance; a dark and sluggish water, which is curled by no breeze, and enlivened by no murmur, till it falls into a dead sea, where startled passengers are awakened by the shock, and the next moment buried in the gulph of Oblivion.
Of all the unhappy deserters from the paths of Science, none seemed less able to return than the followers of Indolence. The captives of Appetite and Passion could often seize the moment, when their tyrants were languid or asleep, to escape from their enchantment; but the dominion of Indolence was constant and unremitted, and seldom resisted, till resistance was in vain.
After contemplating these things, I turned my eyes towards the top of the mountain, where the air was always
pure and exhilarating, the path shaded with laurel and other evergreens, and the effulgence which beamed from the face of the goddess seemed to shed a glory round her votaries. Happy, said I, are they who are permitted to ascend the mountain!-but while I was pronouncing this exclamation with uncommon ardour, I saw standing beside me a form of diviner features and a more benign radiance. Happier, said she, are those whom Virtue conducts to the mansions of Content! What, said I, does Virtue, then, reside in the vale? I am found, said she, in the vale, and I illuminate the mountain; I cheer the cottager at his toil, and inspire the sage at his meditation. I mingle in the crowd of cities, and bless the hermit in his cell. I have a temple in every heart that owns my influence; and to him that wishes for me I am already present. may raise you to eminence, but I alone can guide you to felicity! While the goddess was thus speaking, I stretched out my arms towards her with a vehemence which broke my slumbers. The chill dews were falling around me, and the shades of evening stretched over the landscape. I hastened homeward, and resigned the night to silence and meditation.-Aikin's Miscellany.
THE STORY OF DAMOCLES.
DIONYSIUS, tyrant of Syracuse, in the midst of royal splendour and magnificence, was beyond all men most unhappy. On one occasion, Damocles, one of his flatterers, enumerating the wealth of the tyrant, and the magnificence of the royal palace, asserted that no one was ever happier. Hereupon, the king said unto him, "Art thou willing, O Damocles, since this life delights thee, thyself to taste this same happiness, and learn by experience my condition ?" When Damocles replied that such was his desire, the king commanded him to be placed on a golden couch, covered with rich embroidery of choicest device. Side tables were also laid out, laden with silver and elegantly-chased gold. Chosen youths of great beauty were commanded to stand by the tables, and to attend most diligently to every wish, and minister to all his wants. Fragrant ointments, wreaths of flowers, and rich
perfumes, were added to the banquet; and the tables were loaded with the most exquisite viands. Damocles now began to regard himself as the most happy of mortals.
But behold, in the midst of the banquet his eyes fell upon a glittering sword, which the king had commanded to be suspended from the roof, and which was only fastened thereto by a horse's hair. Thenceforth he beheld neither the handsome servants, nor the richly-carved plate; neither could he venture to stretch forth his hand over the table. The flowers were cast aside; and Damocles instantly entreated the king to release him from his perilous position.
By this device, Dionysius showed that he who lives in perpetual fear cannot be happy, whatever may be the outward circumstances by which he is surrounded.-Cicero.
THE VISION OF MIRZA, EXHIBITING A PICTURE OF HUMAN LIFE.
ON the fifth day of the moon, which, according to the custom of my forefathers, I always keep holy, after having washed myself, and offered up my morning devotions, I ascended the high hills of Bagdat, in order to pass the rest of the day in meditation and prayer. As I was here airing myself on the tops of the mountains, I fell into a profound contemplation on the vanity of human life; and passing from one thought to another, Surely, said I, man is but a shadow, and life a dream. Whilst I was thus musing, I cast my eyes towards the summit of a rock that was not far from me, where I discovered one in the habit of a shepherd, with a little musical instrument in his hand. As I looked upon him, he applied it to his lips, and began to play upon it. The sound of it was exceeding sweet, and wrought into a variety of tunes that were inexpressibly melodious, and altogether different from anything I had ever heard: they put me in mind of those heavenly airs that are played to the departed souls of good men upon their first arrival in Paradise, to wear out the impressions of the last agonies, and qualify them for the pleasures of that happy place. My heart melted away in secret raptures.
I have been often told, that the rock before me was the
haunt of a genius; and that several had been entertained with that music who had passed by it, but never heard that the musician had before made himself visible. When he had raised my thoughts, by those transporting airs which he played, to taste the pleasures of his conversation, as I looked upon him like one astonished, he beckoned to me, and, by the waving of his hand, directed me to approach the place where he sat. I drew near with that reverence which is due to a superior nature; and as my heart was entirely subdued by the captivating strains I had heard, I fell down at his feet and wept. The genius smiled upon me with a look of compassion and affability that familiarized him to my imagination, and at once dispelled all the fears and apprehensions with which I approached him. He lifted me from the ground, and taking me by the hand, Mirza, said he, I have heard thee in thy soliloquies; follow me.
He then led me to the highest pinnacle of the rock, and placing me on the top of it, Cast thy eyes eastward, said he, and tell me what thou seest. I see, said I, a huge valley, and a prodigious tide of water rolling through it. The valley that thou seest, said he, is the vale of misery, and the tide of water that thou seest, is part of the great tide of eternity. What is the reason, said I, that the tide I see rises out of a thick mist at one end, and again loses itself in a thick mist at the other? What thou seest, said he, is that portion of eternity which is called Time, measured out by the sun, and reaching from the beginning of the world to its consummation. Examine now, said he, this sea that is bounded with darkness at both ends, and tell me what thou discoverest in it. I see a bridge, said I, standing in the midst of the tide. The bridge thou seest, said he, is human life; consider it attentively. Upon a more leisurely survey of it, I found that it consisted of threescore and ten entire arches, with several broken arches, which, added to those that were entire, made up the number about an hundred. As I was counting the arches, the genius told me that this bridge consisted at first of a thousand arches; but that a great flood swept away the rest, and left the bridge in the ruinous condition I now beheld it: but tell me further, said he, what thou discoverest on it. I see multitudes of people passing over it, said I, and a black cloud hanging on each