« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
helped herself very plentifully; then, turning to Reynard, who was eagerly licking the outside of a jar, where some sauce had been spilled-I am very glad, said she, smiling, that you seem to have so good an appetite; I hope you will make as hearty a dinner at my table, as I did the other day, at yours. Reynard hung down his head, and looked very much displeased. Nay, nay, said the Stork, don't pretend to be out of humor about the matter; they that cannot take a jest should never make one.
VIII. The Court of Death-IB.
DEATH, the king of terrors, was determined to choose a prime minister; and his pale courtiers, the ghastly train of diseases, were all summoned to attend ; when each preferred his claim to the honor of this illustrious office. Fever urged the numbers he destroyed; cold Palsy set forth his pretentions, by shaking all his limbs; and Dropsy, by his swelled, unwieldy, carcase. Gout hobbled up, and alleged his great power in racking every joint ; and Asthma's inability to speak, was a strong though silent argument in favour of his claim. Stone and Colic pleaded their violence; Plague his rapid progress in destruction; and Consumption, though slow, insisted that he was sure. In the midst of this contention, the court was disturbed with the noise of music, dancing, feasting and revelry; when immediately entered a lady, with a bold lascivious air, and a flushed and jovial countenance; she was attended on one hand by a troop of cooks and bacchanals and on the other by a train of wanton youths and damsels, who danced, half naked, to the softest musical instruments; her name was INTEMPERANCE. She waved her hand, and thus addressed the croud of diseases; give way ye sickly band of pretenders, nor dare to vie with my superior merits in the service of this great monarch. I not your parent? the author of your being? do ye not derive the power of shortening human life almost wholly from me? Who, then, so fit as myself for this important office? The grisly monarch grinned a smile of approbation, placed her at his right hand, and she immediately became his principal favorite and prime minister.
IX. The Partial Judge.-IB.
A FARMER came to a neighboring Lawyer, expres. sing great concern for an accident which, he said, had just happened. One of your oxen, continued he, has been gored by an unlucky bull of mine ; and I should be glad to know how I am to make you reparation. Thou art a very honest fellow, replied the Lawyer, and wilt not think it unreasonable, that I expect one of thy_oxen in return. It is no more than justice, quoth the Farmer, to be sure: But, what did I say?- mistake. It is your bull that has killed one of my oxen. Indeed! says the Lawyer; that alters the case; I must inquire into the affair; and if—And IF! said the Farmer-the business, I find, would have been concluded without an
IF, had you been as ready to do justice to others, as to
exact it from them.
X.-The sick Lion, the Fox, and the Wolf.—IB.
A LION, having surfeited himself with feasting too luxuriously on the carcase of a wild Boar, was seized with a violent and dangerous disorder. The beasts of the forest flocked, in great numbers, to pay their respects to him upon the occasion, and scarce one was absent except the Fox. The Wolf an illnatured and malicious beast, seized this opportunity to accuse the Fox of pride, ingratitude and disaffection, to his majesty. In the midst of this invective, the Fox entered; who, having heard part of the Wolf's accusation, and observed the Lion's countenance to be kindled into wrath, thus adroitly excused himself, and retorted upon his accuser; I sce many here, who, with mere lip service, have pretended to show you their loyalty; but, for my part, from the moment I heard of your majesty's illness, neglecting useless compliments, I employed myself, day and night, to inquire, among the most learned physicians, an infallible remedy for your disease, and have, at length happily been informed of one. It is a plaster made of part ofa Wolf's skin taken warm from his
back, and laid to your majesty's stomach. This remedy was no sooner proposed than it was determined that the experiment should be tried; and whilst the operation was performing, the Fox, with a sarcastic smile, whispered this useful maxim in the Wolf's ear; if you would be safe from harm yourself, learn, for the future not to meditate mischief against others.
XI.-Dishonesty punished.-KANE'S HINTS.
AN usurer having lost an hundred pounds in a bag, promised a reward of ten pounds to the person who should restore it. A man having brought it to him, demanded the reward. The usurer, loth to give the reward, now that he had got the bag, alledged, after the bag was opened, that there was an hundred and ten pounds in it, when he lost it. The usurer, being called before the judge, unwarily acknowledged that the seal was broken open in his presence, and that there was no more at that time but a hundred pounds in the bag. "You say," says the judge," that the bag you lost had a hundred and ten pounds in it." "Yes my lord." "Then," replied the judge, "this cannot be your bag, as it contained but a hundred pounds; therefore the plaintiff must keep it till the true owner appears; and you must look for your bag where you can find it." XII.-The Picture.-IB.
SIR WILLIAM LELY, a famous painter in the reign: of Charles I. agreed beforehand, for the price of a picture he was to draw for a rich London Alderman, who was not indebted to nature, either for shape or face. The picture being finished, the Alderman endeavored to beat down the price, alledging, that if he did not purchase it, it would lie on the painter's hand. "That's your mistake," says Sir William; for I can sell it at double the price I demand." "How can that be," says the Alderman, " for 'tis like no body but myself?" "True," replied Sir William ; " but I can draw a tail to it, and then it will be an excellent monkey." Mr. Alderman to prevent being exposed, paid down the money demanded, and carried off the picture.
XIII. The two Bees.-DoDSLEY'S FABLES.
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 gar den 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 provisions for the hive, against the distant winter; the other revelling in sweets, without regard to any thing but his present gratification. At length they found a wide mouthed 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, in 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 he 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 inevitable destruction.
XIV. Beauty and Deformity. PERCIVAL'S TALES.
A YOUTH, who lived in the country, and who had not acquired, either by reading or conversation, any knowledge of the animals which inhabit foreign regions came to Manchester, to see an exhibition of wild beasts. The size and figure of the Elephant struck him with awe; and he viewed the Rhinoceros with astonishment. But his attention was soon drawn from these animals, and directed to another, of the most elegant an beauti
ful form; and he stood contemplating with silent admiration the glossy smoothness of his hair, the blackness and regularity of the streaks with which he was marked, the symmetry of his limbs, and above all, the placid sweetness of his countenance. What is the name of this lovely animal, said he to the keeper, which you have placed near one of the ugliest beasts in your collection, as if you meant to contrast beauty with deformity? Beware, young man, replied the intelligent keeper, of being so easily captivated with external appearance. The animal which you admire is called a Tyger; and notwithstanding the meekness of his looks he is fierce and savage beyond description: I can neither terrify him by correction, nor tame him by indulgence. But the other beast, which you despise, is in the highest degree docile, affectionate and useful. For the benefit of man, he traverses the sandy deserts of Arabia, where drink and pasture are seldom to be found; and will continue six or seven days without sustenance, yet still patient of labor. His hair is manufactured into cloathing; his flesh is deemed wholesome nourishment; and the milk of the female is much valued by the Arabs. The Camel, therefore, for such is the name given to this ani mal, is more worthy of your admiration than the Tyger; notwithstanding the inelegance of his make, and the two bunches upon his back. For mere external beauty is of little estimation; and deformity, when associated with amiable dispositions and useful qualities, does not preclude our respect and approbation.
XV.-Remarkable instance of Friendshift. ART OF SPEAKING, DAMON and Pythias, of the Pythagorean sect in philosophy, lived in the time of Dionysius, the tyrant of Sicily. Their mutual friendship was so strong that they were ready to die for one another. One of the two (for it is not known which) being condemned to death by the tyrant, obtained leave to go into his own country, to settle his affairs, on condition that the other should consent to be imprisoned in his stead, and put to death for him, if he did not return before the day of execution. The attention of every one, and especially