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Clio.-Be that as it may, I shall clear my hands of them, and of a great many more, I do assure. you.
Mercury.—I hope “ the tale of Troy divine!”
Clio.—Divine let it be, but my share in it is very small; I recollect furnishing the catalogue.Mercury, I will tell you the truth.
the truth. When I was young, my mother (as arrant a gossip as ever breathed) related to me a great number of stories: and as in those days people could not read or write, I had no better authority for what I recorded: but after letters were found out, and now since the noble invention of printing --why do you think, Mercury, any one would dare to tell lies in print?
Mercury.—Sometimes perhaps. I have seen a splendid victory in the gazette of one country dwindle into an honourable retreat in that of another.
Clio. In newspapers, very possibly: but with regard to myself, when I have time to consider and lay things together, I assure you you may depend upon me.—Whom have we in that group which I see indistinctly in a sort of twilight?
Mercury.—Very renowned personages; Ninus, Sesostris, Semiramis, Cheops who built the largest pyramid.
Clio.- If Cheops built the largest pyramid, people are welcome to inquire about him at the spot, -room must be made. As to Semiramis, tell her
her place shall be filled up by an empress and a conqueror from the shores of the wintry Baltic.
Mercury.—The renowned Cyrus is approaching with a look of confidence, for he is introduced by a favourite of yours, the elegant Xenophon.
Clio.—Is that Cyrus? Pray desire him to take off that dress which Xenophon has given him; truly I took him for a Greek philosopher. I fancy queen Tomyris would scarcely recognise him.
Mercury.—Aspasia hopes, for the honour of her sex, that she shall continue to occupy a place
celebrate. Clio.-Tell the mistress of Pericles we can spare her without inconvenience : many ladies are to be found in modern times who possess her eloquence and her talents, with the modesty of a vestal; and should a more perfect likeness be required, modern times may furnish that also. Mercury. Here are two figures who approach
with a very dignified air. Solon and Lycurgus.-We present ourselves, divine Clio, with confidence. We have no fear that you
should strike from your roll the lawgivers of Athens and Sparta.
Clio.--Most assuredly not. Yet I must inform you that a name higher than either of yours, and a constitution more perfect, is to be found in a vast continent, of the very existence of which you had not the least suspicion.
Mercury.--I see approaching a person of a no
ble and spirited air, if he did not hold his head a little on one side as if his neck were awry.
Alexander.--Clio, I need not introduce myself; I am, as you well know, the son of Jupiter Ammon, and my arms have reached even to the remote shore of the Indus.
Clio.-Pray burn your genealogy; and for the rest, suffer me to inform you that the river Indus and the whole peninsula which you scarcely discovered, with sixty millions of inhabitants, is at this moment subject to the dominion of a few merchants in a remote island of the Northern Ocean, the very name of which never reached your ears.
Mercury. Here is Empedocles, who threw himself into Ætna merely to be placed upon your roll; and Calanus, who mounted his funeral pile before Alexander, from the same motive.
Clio.-They have been remembered long enough in all reason: their places may be supplied by the two next madmen who shall throw themselves under the wheels of the chariot of Jaggernaut,fanatics are the growth of every age.
Mercury.—Here is a ghost preparing to address
you with a very self-sufficient air: his robe is embroidered with flower-de-luces.
Louis XIV.-I am persuaded, Clio, you will recognise the immortal man. I have always been a friend and patron of the Muses; my actions are
well known; all Europe has resounded with my name,—the terror of other countries, the glory of my own: I am well assured you are not going to strike me off.
Clio. —To strike you off? certainly not; but to place you many degrees lower in the list; to reduce
you from a sun, your favourite emblem, to a star in the galaxy. My sisters have certainly been partial to you: you bought their favour with--how many livres a year? not much more than a London bookseller will give for a quarto poem. But me you cannot bribe.
Louis.—But, Clio, you have yourself recorded my exploits ;—the passage of the Rhine, Namur, Flanders, Franche Comté.
Clio.-0 Louis, if you could but guess the extent of the present French empire ;-but no, it could never enter into your imagination.
Louis.--I rejoice at what you say; I rejoice that my posterity have followed my steps, and improved upon my glory.
Clio.--Your posterity have had nothing to do with it.
Louis.--Remember too the urbanity of my character, how hospitably I received the unfortunate James of England,-England, the natural enemy of France.
Clio.—Your hospitality has been well returned. Your descendants, driven from their thrones,
are at this moment supported by the bounty of the nation and king of England.
Louis.-0 Clio, what is it that you tell me ! let me hide my diminished head in the deepest umbrage of the grove; let me seek out my dear Maintenon, and tell my beads with her till I forget that I have been either praised or feared.
Clio.—Comfort yourself, however; your name, like the red letter which marks the holiday, though insignificant in itself, shall still enjoy the honour of designating the age of taste and literature.
Mercury.—Here is a whole crowd coming, Clio, I can scarcely keep them off with my wand : they have all got notice of your intentions, and the infernal regions are quite in an uproar,—what is to be done?
Clio. I cannot tell; the numbers distract me: to examine their pretensions one by one is ‘impossible; I must strike off half of them at a venture: the rest must make room,—they must crowd, they must fall into the back-ground; and where I used to write a name all in capitals with letters of gold illuminated, I must put it in small pica. I do assure you, Mercury, I cannot stand. the fatigue I undergo, much longer. I am not provided, as you very well know, with either chariot or wings, and I am expected to be in all parts of the globe at once. In the good old times my business lay almost entirely between the Hel