Imagens das páginas

1 may

" The first thing I remember was the triumph of Beli

sarius : which was, indeed, a most noble shew: but nothing pleased me so much as the figure of Gelimer, king of the African Vandals, who being led captive on this occasion, reflecting with disdain on the mutation of his own fortune, and on the ridiculous empty pomp of the conqueror, cried out, VANITY, VANITY, ALL IS 6 MERE VANITY.

I was bred up to my father's trade, and you may easily believe so low a sphere could produce no adven

tures worth your notice. However, I married a woman • I liked, and who proved a very tolerable wife. My

days were passed in hard labour, but this procured 'me health, and I enjoyed a homely supper at night ' with my wife with more pleasure than I apprehend greater persons find at their luxurious meals. My life

had scarce any variety in it, and at my death, I " advanced to Minos with great confidence of entering

the gate: but I was unhappily obliged to discover some frauds I had been guilty of in the measure of my work, when I worked by the foot, as well as 'my laziness, when I was employed by the day. On

which account, when I attempted to pass, the angry - judge laid hold on me by the shoulders, and turned 'me back so violently, that had I had a neck of flesh • and bone, I believe he would have broke it.'



Julian passes into a Fop. My scene of action was Rome. I was born into a • noble family, and heir to a considerable fortune. On

· which my parents, thinking I should not want any

talents, resolved very kindly and wisely to throw none away upon me. The only instructors of my youth 6 were therefore one Saltator, who taught me several "motions for my legs; and one Ficus, whose busi

ness was to shew me the clearest way (as he called ' it) of cutting off a man's head. When I was well

accomplished in these sciences, I thought nothing more wanting, but what was to be furnished by the

several mechanics in Rome, who dealt in dressing and 6 adorning the Pope, Being therefore well equipped with all which their art could produce, I became at the age of twenty a complete finished beau. And now during forty-five years I dressed, I sang and danced, and danced and sang, I bowed and ogled, and ogled and bowed, till, in the sixty-sixth year of my age, I got cold by overheating myself with dancing, and died.

Minos told me as I was unworthy of Elysium, so I was too insignificant to be damned, and therefore bade me walk back again.'


Adventures in the person of a Monk.

" FORTUNE now placed me in the character of a younger

brother of a good house, and I was in my youth sent " to school; but learning was now at 80 low an ebb

that my master himself could hardly construe a sentence of Latin ; and as for Greek, he could not read

it. With very little knowledge therefore, and with • altogether as little virtue, I was set apart for the church, and at the proper age commenced monk. I lived many years retired in a cell, a life very agreeable to the gloominess of my temper, which was much 'inclined to despise the world: that is, in other words, "to envy all men of superior fortune and qualifications,

and in general to hate and detest the human species. Notwithstanding which, I could, on proper occasions, submit to flatter the vilest fellow in nature, which I did one Stephen an eunuch, a favourite of the emperor Justinian II., one of the wickedest wretches whom perhaps the world ever saw. I not only wrote a panegyric on this man, but I commended him as a pattern to all others in my sermons, by which means I so greatly ingratiated myself with him, that he introduced me to the emperor's presence, where I prevailed so far by the same methods, that I was shortly taken from my cell, and preferred to a place at court. I was no sooner established in the favour of Justinian than I prompted him to all kinds of cruelty. As I was of a sour morose temper, and hated nothing more than • the symptoms of happiness appearing in any counte'nance, I represented all kinds of diversion and amuse"ment as the most horrid sins. I inveighed against

cheerfulness as levity, and encouraged nothing but 'gravity, or, to confess the truth to you, hypocrisy. The 'unhappy emperor followed my advice, and incensed the people by such repeated barbarities, that he was at last deposed by them and banished.

'I now retired again to my cell (for historians mistake in saying I was put to death), where I remained safe from the danger of the irritated mob, whom I cursed in my own heart as much as they could curse me.

Justinian after three years of his banishment, returned to Constantinople in disguise, and paid me a

visit. I at first affected not to know him, and without • the least compunction of gratitude for his former

favours intended not to receive him, till a thought 'immediately suggesting itself to me how I might con'vert him to my advantage, I pretended to recollect him; and, blaming the shortness of my memory and badness of my eyes, I sprung forward and embraced him with great affection.

“My design was to betray him to Apsimar, who, I • doubted not, would generously reward such a service. 'I therefore very earnestly requested him to spend the

whole evening with me; to which he consented. I • formed an excuse for leaving him a few minutes, and ran away to the palace to acquaint Apsimar with the guest whom I had then in my cell. He presently ordered a guard to go with me and seize him: but whether the length of my stay gave him any suspicion or whether he changed his purpose after my departure, • I know not; for at my return we found he had given • us the slip ; nor could we with the most diligent search • discover him.

'Apsimar, being disappointed of his prey, now raged at me: at first denouncing the most dreadful vengeance if I did not produce the deposed monarch. However, by soothing his passion when at the highest, and afterwards by canting and flattery, I made a shift to escape his fury.

When Justinian was restored I very confidently went to wish him joy of his restoration : but it seems he • had unfortunately heard of my treachery, so that he

at first received me coldly, and afterwards upbraided me openly with what I had done. I persevered stoutly 'in denying it, as I knew no evidence could be produced

against me; till, finding him irreconcilable, I betook • myself to reviling him in my sermons, and on every other occasion, as an enemy to the church, and good 'men, and as an infidel, an heretic, an atheist, a heathen,

and an Arian. This I did immediately on his return, "and before he gave those flagrant proofs of his inhumanity which afterwards sufficiently verified all I had said.

Luckily, I died on the same day when a great 'number of those forces which Justinian had sent against the Thracian Bosphorus, and who had executed such unheard-of cruelties there, perished. As every one of these was cast into the bottomless pit, Minos was so tired with condemnation, that he proclaimed that all present, who had not been concerned in that bloody expedition, might, if they pleased, return to the other world. I took him at his word, and, presently turning about, began my journey.'

CHAPTER XV. Julian passes into the character of a Fiddler. " Rome was now the seat of my nativity. My mother

was an African, a woman of no great beauty, but a 'favourite, I suppose from her piety, to pope Gregory

II. Who was my father, I know not: but I believe 'no very considerable man : for after the death of that pope, who was, out of his religion, a very good friend of my mother, we fell into great distress, and were

at length reduced to walk the streets of Rome; nor 'had either of us any other support but a fiddle, on which I played with pretty tolerable skill : for as my genius turned naturally to music, so I had been in VOL. IV.


« AnteriorContinuar »