Imagens das páginas

he re

was pleased that, by this happy experiment, he had found means to unite pleasure with business, and to gain the rewards of diligence, without suffering its fatigues. He therefore, still continued to walk for a time, without the least remission of his ardour, except that he was sometimes tempted to stop by the music of the birds, whom the heat had assembled in the shade, and sometimes amused himself with plucking the flowers that covered the banks on either side, or the fruits that hung upon the branches. At last the green path began to decline from its first ten. dency, and to wind among hills and thickets, cooled with fountains, and murmuring with water-falls. Here Obidah paused for a time, and began to consider whether it were longer safe to forsake the known and common track; but remembering that the heat was now in its greatest violence, and that the plain was dusty and uneven, solved to pursue the new path, which he supposed only to make a few meanders, in compliance with the varieties of the ground, and to end at last in the common road.

Having thus calmed his solicitude, he renewed his pace, though he suspected that he was not gaining ground. This uneasiness of his mind inclined him to lay hold on every new object, and give way to every sensation that might soothe or divert him. He listened to every echo, he mounted every hill for a fresh prospect, he turned aside to every cascade, and pleased himself with tracing the course of a gentle river that rolled among the trees, and watered a large region with innumerable circumvolutions. In these amusements the hours passed away unaccounted, his deviations had perplexed his memory, and he knew not towards what point to travel. He stood pensive and confused, afraid to go forward lest he should go wrong, yet conscious that the time of loitering was now past. While he was thus tortured with uncertainty, the sky was overspread with clouds, the day vanished from before him, and a sudden tempest gathered round his head. He was now roused by his danger to a quick and painful remembrance of his folly; he now saw how happiness is lost when ease is consulted; he lamented the unmanly im. patience that prompted him to seek shelter in the grove, and despised the petty curiosity that led him on from trifle to trifle. While he was thus reflecting, the air grew blacker, and a clap of thunder broke his meditation.

He now resolved to do what remained yet in his power; to tread back the ground which he had passed, and try to find some issue where the wood might open into the plain. He prostrated himself on the ground, and commended his life to the Lord of nature. He rose with confidence and tranquillity, and pressed on with his sabre in his hand, for the beasts of the desert were in motion, and on every hand were heard the mingled howls of rage and fear, and ravage and expiration ; all the horrors of darkness and solitude surrounded him; the winds roared in the woods, and the torrents tumbled from the hills.

Work'd into sudden rage by wintry show'rs,
Down the steep hill the roaring torrent pours;

The mountain shepherd hears the distant noise. Thus forlorn and distressed, he wandered through the wild, without knowing whither he was going, or whether he was every moment drawing nearer to safety or to de. struction. At length not fear, but labour began to overcome him : his breath grew short, and his knees trembled, and he was on the point of lying down in resignation to his fate, when he beheld through the brambles the glimmer of a taper. He advanced towards the light, and finding that it proceeded from the cottage of a hermit, he called humbly at the door, and obtained admission. The old man set before him such provisions as he had collected for himself, on which Obidah fed with eagerness and gratitude.

When the repast was over, “ Tell me,” said the hermit, by what chance thou hast been brought hither : I have been now twenty years an inhabitant of the wilderness, in which I never saw a man before.” Obidah then related the occurrence of his journey, without any concealment or palliation.

Son,” said the hermit, “ let the errors and follies, the dangers and escape of this day, sink deep into thy heart. Remember, my son, that human life is the journey of a day. We rise in the morning of youth, full of vigour, and full of expectation; we set forward with spirit and hope, with gaiety and with diligence, and travel on awhile in the straight road of piety towards the mansions of rest. In a short time we remit our fervor, and endeavour to find some mitigation of our duty, and some more easy means of obtaining the same end. We then relax our vigour, and resolve no longer to be terrified with crimes at a distance, but rely upon our own constancy, and venture to approach what we resolve never to touch. We thus enter the bowers of ease, and repose in the shades of security. Here the heart softens, and vigilance subsides; we are then willing to inquire whether another advance cannot be made, and whether we may not, at least, turn our eyes upon the gardens of pleasure. We approach them with scruple and hesitation; we enter them, but enter timorous and trembling, and always hope to pass through them without losing the road of virtue, which we, for awhile, keep in our sight, and to which we propose to return. But temptation succeeds temptation, and one compliance prepares us for another; we in time lose the happiness of innocence, and solace our disquiet with sensual gratifications. By degrees we let fall the remembrance of our original intention, and quit the only adequate object of rational desire. We entangle ourselves in business, immerge ourselves in luxury, and rove through the labyrinths of inconstancy, till the darkness of old age begins to invade us, and disease and anxiety obstruct our way. We then look back upon our lives with horror, with sorrow, with repentance; and wish, but too often vainly wish, that we had not forsaken the ways of virtue. Happy are they, my son, who shall learn from thy example not to despair, but shall remember, that though the day is past, and their strength is wasted, there yet remains one effort to be made ; that reformation is never hopeless, nor sincere endeavours ever unassisted ; that the wanderer may at length return after all his errors ; and that he who implores strength and courage from above, shall find danger and difficulty give way before him. Go, now, my son, to thy repose, commit thyself to the care of Omnipotence, and when the morning calls again to toil, begin anew thy journey and thy life.”-Rambler.


On a fine morning in May, two bees set forward in quest of honey—the one wise and temperate, the other careless and extravagant. They soon arrived at a garden enriched with aromatic herbs, the most fragrant flowers, and the most delicious fruits. They regaled themselves for a time on the various dainties that were spread before them : the one loading his thigh at intervals with provi. sions for the hive against the distant winter; the other revelling in sweets, without regard to anything but his present gratification. At length they found a widemouthed phial, that hung beneath the bough of a peach tree, filled with honey ready tempered, and exposed to their taste in the most alluring manner. The thoughtless epicure, spite of all his friend's remonstrances, plunged headlong into the vessel, resolving to indulge himself in all the pleasures of sensuality. The philosopher, on the other hand, sipped a little with caution ; but being suspicious of danger, flew off to fruits and flowers, where, by the moderation of his meals, he improved his relish for the true enjoyment of them. In the evening, however, he called

upon his friend, to inquire whether he would return to the hive ; but found him surfeited in sweets, which he was as unable to leave as to enjoy. Clogged in his wings, enfeebled in his feet, and his whole frame totally enervated, he was but just able to bid his friend adieu, and to lament with his latest breath, that, though a taste of pleasure might quicken the relish of life, an unrestrained indulgence is inevitably destruction.- Dodsley.


ALYATTES, the king of Lydia, had gone every year to war with Miletus. But the men of Miletus took counsel with Periander, the king of the wealthy Corinth, and through his counsels they obtained peace. For they made a show of revelry and feasting, and so deceived the Lydian heralds; though indeed they were so sore bested, that two cotyls of corn had, for a long time, been all that any man had for his day's provisions. So Alyattes thought, “ These Milesians have store of food; and their city adjoins the sea, which will bring them always more : wherefore I cannot take their city, and will grant them peace as they desire.”

This Periander had a master of his minstrelsy, by name Arion, whose wild and passionate hymns were a marvel to all who heard them. But Arion was not content to stay always with his master at Corinth; for he thought, “A poet should see and know many things, if he would be esteemed for his noble songs.” So he resolved to go to Italy and Sicily; for there were many notable cities in these lands, inhabited by settlers of the Grecian tongue. And there the wise Pythagoras had given lessons of wisdom and godliness in secret. King Numa had been taught by him, and so became good and learned, as men report; and Arion well hoped that in the land where Pythagoras had dwelt, he might learn to praise the gods more duly. For the men of old time loved no songs so well as those which had noble tunes, and words full of holy and prudent counsel.

So he went and dwelt a long time in these parts; and the people made him wealthy, and held him high in honour. But at last he thought, “ Tarentum is a noble city, and I love to see the Apennines when the sun lifts up the mist from off their peaks at his rising; but Cithæron, and Corinth, with its meeting seas, are more to my mind than Lesbos even and Methymne, where I was born.”

It was hard to travel in those unsettled times, when city went to war with city both by sea and land; but he thought, “ The Corinthians are my friends; and if I can but find a ship of theirs, they will surely carry me and n

imy goods in safety.” So he went down to the sea-shore by Tarentum, and set sail in a ship of Corinth.

But the mariners longed to rob him of his riches. So when they came into the open sea, they took counsel to cast him overboard, and possess his goods. But he said, “ Take my goods if you will, but let me not die before my time." Yet they would not be persuaded, but bade him either kill himself, that they might give him burial whenever they touched the land, or else to leap forth with into

Then he made answer, “ This choice is a strait one : but let me first stand on the rowers' seats, and sing the last of my noble songs; and then I will do your bidding." This they were well content to do; for they thought, “ To hear such a singer should be no small delight;" and so they left him on the prow alone. Then he put on all his costly robes, and took harp in hand. The swan, which sings not all its life long, yet sings sweetly and joyously when death is at hand. But Arion had been

the sea.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »