Imagens da página


an obstinate fellow : he swore he knew that I understood my business well, but that I shammed Abraham, to be idle ; but, God knows, I knew nothing of sea-business , and he beat me, without considering what he was about. I had still, however, my forty pounds, and that was some comfort to me under every beating; and the money I might have had to this day, but that our ship was taken by the French , and so I lost all.

» Our crew was carried into Brest, many of them died, because they were not jaised to live in a jail ; but for my part, it was nothing to me, for I was seasoned. One night, as I was asleep on the bed of boards, with a warm blanket about me, for I always loved to lie well, I was awakened by the boatswain, who had a dark lantern in his hand : « Jack , " says be to me, « will you knock out the French centry's brains ? » I don't care , says I, striving to keep myself awake, if I lend a hand. « Then follow me," says he, « and I hope we shall do business. « So up I got, and tied my blanket , which was all the cloaths I had, about my middle and went with him to fight the Frenchmen.

Though we had no arms, we went down to the door, where both the centries were posted, and rushing upon them, seized their arms in a moment, and knocked them down. From thence , nine of us ran together to the quay, and seizing the first boat we met, got out of the harbour , and put to sea. We had not been here three days before we were taken up by the Dorset privateer , who were glad of so many good hands, and we consented to run our chance. However, we had not as much luck as we expected. In three days we fell in with the Pompadour privateer, of forty guns, while we had but twenty-three ; so to it we went , yard-arm and yard-arm. The fight lasted for three hours, and I verily believe we should have taken the Frenchman, had we but had some more men left behind; but, unfortunately,

we lost all our men just as we were going to get the victory. « I was once more in the

power of the French , and I believe it would have gone hard with me, had I been brought back to Brest; but , by good fortune, we were retaken by the Viper. I had almost forgot to tell you, that in that engagement, I was wounded in two places:I lost four fingers of the left hand, and my leg was shot off. If I had had the good fortune to have lost my leg and use of my hand on board a king's ship, and not aboard a privateer, I should have been entitled to cloathing and maintenance during the rest of my life; but that was not my chance : one man is born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and another with a wooden ladle. However, blessed be God, I enjoy good health , and will for ever love liberty, and Old England. Liberty , ProperIy , and Old England, for ever , huzza! »

Thus saying, he limped off, leaving me in admiration at his intrepidity and content ; nor could I avoid acknowledging , that an habitual acquaintance with misery serves better than philosophy to teach us to despise it.



Or, 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 me ditation and prayer. As I was here áiring 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 casť 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 tune's thať were inexpressibly melodious, and altogether different from any thing 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 their last agonies, and qualify them for the pleasures of that happy place. My heart melted away in secret raptures.

I had been often told that the rock before me was the haunt of a genius ; and that se, veral had been entertained with that music who had passed by it, but never heard ihat 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 (ide 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

« AnteriorContinuar »