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Mercury.--The ambition of Napoleon has indeed procured you much employment.
Clio.--Employment! There is not a goddess so harassed as I am; my sisters lead quite idle lives in comparison. Melpomene has in a manner slept. through the last half-century, except when now and then she dictated to a certain favourite nymph. Urania, indeed, has employed herself with Herschel in counting the stars; but her task is less than mine. Here am I expected to calculate how many hundred thousands of rational beings cut one another's throats at Auster: litz, and to take the tale of two hundred and thirteen thousand human bodies and ninety-five thousand horses, that lie stiff, frozen and unburied on the banks of the Berecina;—and do you think, Mercury, this can be a pleasant employment?
Mercury.—I have had a great increase of employment myself lately, on account of the multitude of shades I have been obliged to convey ; and poor old Charon is almost laid up with the rheumatism: we used to have a holiday comparatively during the winter months; but of late, winter and summer I have observed are much alike to heroes.
Clio.--I wish to Jupiter I could resign my office! Son of Maia, I declare to you. sick of the horrors I record; I am sick of man
kind. For above these three thousand years have I been warning them and reading lessons to them, and they will not mend: Robespierre was as cruel as Sylla, and Napoleon has no more moderation than Pyrrhus. The human frame, of curious texture, delicately formed, feeling, and irritable by the least annoyance, with face erect and animated with Promethean fire, they wound, they lacerate, they mutilate with most perverted ingenuity.—I will go and record the actions of the tigers of Africa; in them such fierceness is natural—Nay, the human race will be exterminated if this work of destruction goes on much longer. Mercury.—With regard to that matter, Clio, I can set your heart at rest. A great philosopher has lately discovered that the world is in imminent danger of being over-peopled, and that if twenty or forty thousand men could not be persuaded every now and then to stand and be shot at, we should be forced to eat one another. This discovery has had a wonderful effect in quieting tender consciences. The calculation is very simple, any schoolboy will explain it to you. Clio.—O what a number of fertile plains and green savannahs, and tracts covered with trees of beautiful foliage, have never yet been pressed by human footsteps' My friend Swift's project of eating children was not so cruel as these bloody and lavish sacrifices to Mars, the most savage of all the gods. Mercury.—You forget yourself, Clio; Mars is not worshiped now in Christian Europe. Clio.—By Jupiter but he is Have I not seen the bloody and torn banners, with martial music and military procession, brought into the temple,_ and whose temple, thinkest thou? and to whom have thanks been given on both sides, amidst smoking towns and wasted fields, after the destruction of man and devastation of the fair face of nature!—And Mercury, god of wealth and frauds, you have your temple too, though your name is not inscribed there. Mercury.—I am afraid men will always love wealth. Clio.—O if I had to record only such pure names as a Washington or a Howard Mercury.—It would be very gratifying, certainly; but then, Clio, you would have very little to do, and might almost as well burn your roll.
KNOWLEDGE AND HER DAUGHTER:
KNOWLEDGE, the daughter of Jupiter, descended from the skies to visit man. She found him naked and helpless, living on the spontaneous fruits of the earth, and little superior to the ox that grazed beside him. She clothed and fed him; she built him palaces; she showed him the hidden riches of the earth, and pointed with her finger the course of the stars as they rose and set in the horizon. Man became rich with her gifts, and accomplished from her conversation. In process of time Knowledge became acquainted with the schools of the philosophers; and being much taken with their theories and their conversation, she married one of them. They had many beautiful and healthy children; but among the rest was a daughter of a different complexion from all the rest, whose name was Doubt. She grew up under many disadvantages; she had a great hesitation in her speech; a cast in her eye, which, however, was keen and piercing; and was subject to nervous tremblings. Her mother saw her with
dislike : but her father, who was of the sect of the Pyrrhonists, cherished and taught her logic, in which she made a great progress. The Muse of History was much troubled with her intrusions: she would tear out whole leaves, and blot over many pages of her favourite works. With the divines her depredations were still worse: she was forbidden to enter a church; notwithstanding which, she would slip in under the surplice, and spend her time in making mouths at the priest. If she got at a library, she destroyed or blotted over the most valuable manuscripts. A most undutiful child; she was never better pleased than when she could unexpectedly trip up her mother's heels, or expose a rent or an unseemly patch in her flowing and ample garment. With mathematicians she never meddled; but in all other systems of knowledge she intruded herself, and her breath diffused a mist over the page which often left it scarcely legible. Her mother at length said to her, “Thou art my child, and I know it is decreed that while I tread this earth thou must accompany my footsteps; but thou art mortal, I am immortal; and there will come a time when I shall be freed from thy intrusion, and shall pursue my glorious track from star to star, and from sy
stem to system, without impediment and without check.”