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fuftilities, did notred herself withd not forg
Sandon, the point of the torpithin its influewards 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 procceding to open hoftilities, 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, The 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 sufpected 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 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 the 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 laurels and other ever-greens, 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
anemoures and se whom faid I, dhe, in the racer at hes in the
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 fhe, are those whom Virtue conducts to the mansions of Content! What, said I, does Virtue then refide 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 fage 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. Science 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 chilt dews were falling around me, and the shades of evening stretched over the landscape.' I hastened homeward, and refigned the night to filence and meditation.
CONTAIGNE thinks it some reflection upon huš
I man nature itself, that few people take delight in seeing beasts caress or play together, but almost every one is pleased to see them lacerate and worry one another. I am sorry this temper is become almost a distinguishing character of our own nation, from the observation which is made by foreigners of our beloved pastimes, bear-baiting, cock-fighting, and the like. We should find it hard to vindicate the destroying any thing that has life, merely out of wantonness : Yet in this principle our children are bred up; and one of the first pleasures we allow them is, the licence of inflicting pain upon poor animals : Almost as soon as we are sensible what life.is ourselves, we make it our sport to take it from other creatures. I cannot but believe a very good use might be made of the fancy which children have for birds and insects. Mr Locke takes notice of a mother who permitted them to her children, but rewarded or punished them as they treated them well or ill. This was no other than entering them betimes into a daily exercise of humanity, and improving their very diversion to a virtue. I
I fancy, too, some advantage might be taken of the common notion, that 'tis ominous or unlucky to deftroy some sorts of birds, as swallows and martins. This opinion might possibly arise from the confidence these birds seem to put in us, by building under our roofs; so that it is a kind of violation of the laws of hospitality to murder them. As for Robin-red-breasts in particular, it is not improbable they dwe their security to the old ballad of « The children in the wood.” However it be, I don't know, I say, why this prejudice, well-improved, and carried as far as it would go, might not be made to conduce to the preservation of many innocent creatures, which are now exposed to all the wantonness of an ignorant barbarity.
There are other animals that have the misfortune, for no manner of reason, to be treated as common enemies, wherever found. The conceit that a cat has nine lives, has cost at least nine lives in ten of the whole race of them: Scarce a boy in the street but has, in this point, outdone Hercules himself, who was famous for killing a monster that had but three lives. Whether the unaccountable animosity against this useful domestic may be any cause of the general persecution of owls (who arę a sort of feathered cats), or whether it be only an unreasonable pique the moderns have taken to a serious countenance, I shall not determine : Tho' I am inclined to believe the former ; since I observe the sole reason alledged for the destruction of frogs is because they are like toads. Yet, amidst all the misfortunes of these unfriended creatures, 'tis some happiness that we have not yet taken a fancy to eat them: For should our countrymen refine upon the French never so little, 'tis not to be conceived to what unheardof torments owls, cats, and frogs, may be yet reserved.
When we grow up to men, we have another fucceffion of fanguinary sports; in particular, hunting. I dare not attack a' diversion which has such authority and custom to support it; but must have leave to be of opinion, that the agitation of that exercise, with the example and number of the chasers, not a little contribute to resist those checks, which compassion would naturally suggest in behalf of the animal pursued. Nor shall I say, with Monsieur Fleury, that this sport is a remain of the Gothic barbarity; but I must animadvert upon a certain custom yet in use with us, and barbarous enough to be derived from the Goths, or even the Scythians; I mean that savage compliment our huntsmen pass upon ladies of quality, who are present at the death of a stag, when they put the knife in their hands to cut the throat of a helpless, trembling, and weeping creature.
Damon and Pythias.
AMON and Pythias, of the Pythagorean feet in U philosophy, lived in the time of Dionyfius, the tyrant of Sicily. Their mutual friendship was so strong, that they were ready to die for one another. One of the two (for it is not known which) being condemned to death by the tyrant, obtained leave to go into his own country to settle his affairs, on condition that the other should consent to be imprisoned in his stead, and put to death for him, if he did not return before the day of execution. The attention of every one, and especially of the tyrant himself, was excited to the highest pitch ; as every body was curious to see what would be the event of so strange an affair. When the time was almost elapsed, and he who was gone did not appear, the ralhness of the other, whose fanguine friendship had put him upon running fo seemingly desperate a hazard, was universally blamed. But he still declared, that he had not the least shadow of doubt in his mind of his friend's fidelity. The event shewed how well he knew him. He came in due time, and furrendered himself to that fate, which he had no reafon to think he should escape; and which he did not desire to escape by leaving his friend to suffer in his place. Such fidelity softened even the favage heart of Dionysius himself. He pardoned the condemned. He gave the two friends to one another; and begged that they would take himself in for a third,