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of those, which ambition persuades us with such difficulty, danger, and often villany to aspire to. The wants of a beggar are commonly as chimerical as the abundance of a nobleman; for besides vanity, which a judicious beggar will always apply to with wonderful efficacy, there are in reality very few natures so hardened, as not to compassionate poverty and distress, when the predominancy of some other passion doth not prevent them.
'There is one happiness which attends money got with ease, namely, that it is never hoarded; otherwise, as we have frequent opportunities of growing rich, that canker care might prey upon our quiet, as it doth on others: but our money stock we spend as fast as we acquire it; usually at least, for I speak not without exception; thus it gives us mirth only, and no trouble. Indeed, the luxury of our lives might introduce diseases, did not our daily exercise prevent them. This gives us an appetite and relish for our dainties, and at the same time an antidote against the evil effects, which sloth, united with luxury, induces on the habit of a human body. Our women we enjoy with ecstacies, at least equal to what the greatest men feel in their embraces. I can, I am assured, say of myself, that no mortal could reap more perfect happiness from the tender passion than my fortune had decreed me. I married a charming young woman for love; she was the daughter of a neighbouring beggar, who, with an improvidence too often seen, spent a very large income which he procured by his profession, so that he was able to give her no fortune down; however, at his death, he left her a very well accustomed begging-hut, situated on the side of a steep hill, where travellers could not immediately escape from us, and a garden adjoining, being the twenty-eighth part of an acre, well planted. She made the best of wives, bore me nineteen children, and never failed, unless on her lying-in, which generally lasted three days, to get my supper ready, against my return home in an evening; this being my favourite meal, and at •which I as well as my whole family, greatly enjoyed ourselves; the principal subject of our discourse being generally the boons we had that day obtained, on which occasions laughing at the folly of the donors made no inconsiderable part of the entertainment; for, whatever might be their motive for giving, we constantly imputed our success to our having flattered their vanity, or overreached their understanding.
'But perhaps I have dwelt too long on this charactei; I shall conclude therefore with telling you, that after a life of 102 years continuance, during all which I had never known any sickness or infirmity, but that which old age necessarily induced, I at last, without the least pain, went out like the snuff of a candle.
'Minos, having heard my history, bid me compute, if I could, how many lies I had told in my life. As we are here, by a certain fated necessity, obliged to confine ourselves to the truth, I answered, I believed about 50,000,000. He then replied with a frown, Can such a wretch conceive any hopes of entering Elysium? I immediately turned about, and, upon the whole, was rejoiced at his not calling me back.'
Julian performs the part of a Statesman.
'It was now my fortune to be born of a German Princess; 'but a man-midwife pulling my head off, in delivering 'my mother, put a speedy end to my princely fife.
'Spirits, who end their lives before they are at the age of five years, are immediately ordered into other bodies; and it was now my fortune to perform several infancies before I could again entitle myself to an examination of Minos.
'At length I was destined once more to play a considerable part on the stage. I was born in England, in the reign of Etheldred II. My father's name was Ulnoth. He was Earl or Thane of Sussex: I was afterwards known by the name of Earl Godwin, and began to make a considerable figure in the world, in the time of Harold Harefoot, whom I procured to be made King of Wessex, or the West Saxons, in prejudice of Hardicanute, whose mother Emma endeavoured afterwards to set another of her sons on the throne: but I circumvented her, and communicating her design to the king, at the same time acquainted him with a project which I had formed for the murder of these two young princes. Emma had sent for these her sons from Normandy, with the king's leave, whom she had deceived by her religious behaviour, and pretended neglect of all worldly affairs; but I prevailed with Harold to invite these princes to his court, and put them to death. The prudent mother sent only Alfred, retaining Edward to herself, as she suspected my ill designs, and thought I should not venture to execute them on one of her sons, while she secured the other; but she was deceived, for I had no sooner Alfred in my possession, than I caused him to be conducted to Ely, where I ordered his eyes to be put out, and afterwards to be confined in a monastery.
'This was one of those cruel expedients which great men satisfy themselves well in executing, by concluding them to be necessary to the service of their prince, who is the support of their ambition.
'Edward, the other son of Emma, escaped again to
'Normandy; whence, after the death of Harold and 4 Hardicanute, he made no scruple of applying to my 'protection and favour, though he had before prosecuted c me, with all the vengeance he was able, for the murder of 4 bis brother: but in all great affairs private relation must 'yield to public interest. Having therefore concluded 'very advantageous terms for myself with him, I made 'no scruple of patronising his cause, and soon placed him 'on the throne. Nor did I conceive the least appre'hension from his resentment, as I knew my power was 'too great for him to encounter.
'Among other stipulated conditions, one was to marry 'my daughter Editha. This Edward consented to with * great reluctance, and I had afterwards no reason to be 'pleased with it; for it raised her, who had been my 'favourite child, to such an opinion of greatness, that, 'instead of paying me the usual respect, she frequently 'threw in my teeth (as often at least as I gave her any 'admonition), that she was now a queen, and that the 'character and title of father merged in that of subject, 'This behaviour, however, did not cure me of my affec'tion towards her, nor lessen the uneasiness which I 'afterwards bore on Edward's dismissing her from 'his bed.
'One thing, which principally induced me to labour 'the promotion of Edward, was the simplicity or weak'ness of that prince, under whom I promised myself 'absolute dominion, under another name. Nor did this 'opinion deceive me: for during his whole reign my 'administration was in the highest degree despotic: I 'had every thing of royalty but the outward ensigns: no 'man ever applying for a place, or any kind of prefer'ment, but to me only. A circumstance, which as it 'greatly enriched my coffers, so it no less pampered my 'ambition, and satisfied my vanity with a numerous VOL. iv. F F
'attendance; and I had the pleasure of seeing those, who 'only bowed to the king, prostrating themselves before 'me.
'Edward the Confessor, or St. Edward, as some have called him in derision, I suppose being a very silly fellow, had all the faults incident, and almost inseparable to fools. He married my daughter Editha, from his fear of disobliging me; and afterwards, out of hatred to me, refused even to consummate his marriage, though she was one of the most beautiful women of her age. He was likewise guilty of the basest ingratitude to his mother (a vice to which fools are chiefly, if not only liable), and in return for her endeavours to procure him a throne in his youth, confined her in a loathsome prison in her old age. This, it is true, he did by my advice: but as to her walking over nine ploughshares red-hot, and giving nine manors, when she had not one in her possession, there is not a syllable of veracity in it.
'The first great perplexity I fell into, was on the account of my son Swane, who had deflowered the Abbess of Leon, since called Leominster in Herefordshire. After this fact, he retired into Denmark, whence he sent to me to obtain his pardon. The king at first refused it; being moved thereto, as I afterwards found, by some churchmen, particularly by one of his chaplains, whom I had prevented from obtaining a bishopric. Upon this, my son Swane invaded the coasts with several ships, and committed many outrageous cruelties; which, indeed, did his business, as they served me to apply to this fear of this king, which I had long since discovered to be his predominant passion. And, at last, he, who had refused pardon to his first offence, submitted to give it him after he had committed many other more monstrous crimes; by which his pardon