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Mag; Ambition. An Allegory.
«ven to an enemy.—You should be and they
Let the ties of friendship be ever so strict, yet they have their bounds,
must be subservient to three principal duties.
We are all born subject to certain obligations; we owe a duty to God, to our country, and last of all to our family.
AMBITION. An ALLEGORY.
pHilemon lived in the midst of a •* forest, the asylum of tranquillity and peace; fretful inquietude, remorse and grief kept a respectful distance, nor dared to approach within hit retreat; ambition only flattered herself with hopes of being introduced.
Philemon, favoured of the gods, offered them pure victims: a lamb, and a ram, which he sacrificed by turns, attesled the gratitude he felt for their unlimited goodness. The earth, submissive to his labour, produced in abundance whatever was necessary for his subsidence. He fled from cities, and never repaired thithtr but to exchange fruit for the grain, when he wanted to sow a field that was cultivated by his labour.
After these excursions, his cot was dearer to him than before. The ebony, gold, and ivory, destined to embellish the palaces of the great, did not display their magnificence in the habitation of our philosopher. Nature had been at the whole expence in furnishing his movcables, and had provided for his defence.
A double row of trees concealed his retreat from the eye of the traveller. A clear rivulet ran murmuring to bring him its waves, and forming many meanders, lengthened his stay in this delightful place. Philemon drank of its streams; with them he watered his flowers; and from an arbour in which he was accustomed to give'a loose, tc his reflec
tions, traced with his eye their wandering course.
Here he enjoyed a happy life ; he had no false friend, no perfidious mistress, no unfaithful servants. His heart had hitherto been undisturbed by his passions. The gods had bestowed this bleffing as the cecompence of his piety; but his zeal began to relax, and from the moment he perceived that his life was too uniform, he complained of his destiny.
Dt/quiet seized upon him: his little inclosure was open to desires; ambition emend" into this retreat, which she had hitherto found inaccessible. And having gained the possession of his new habitation, she went in search of chimerical projects, received them into her retinue, and brought them into Philemon's cottage, who was soon infected by the contagion of their company. The offended gods withdrew their influence; he was parched up with the thirst of riches. Ambition spurred on his desires, filled him with wishes, and engaged him to intreat the gods to be propitious to plans of fortune, little meditated, and which he had traced out in opposition to their will.
Philemon had neglected hit sacrifices; he now renewed them with more fervor than ever. The choicest of his slocks bled on the altars.
One day, in the folly of hit thoughts, he besought the gods to change to a liver, the runlet which
508 Anecdote os the Roma
watered his retreat; and that a little boat which he launched into the stream might be transformed to a ship richly laden. A clap of thunder followed his prayer; he took this for a happy omen, and certain thai the heavens would grant his request, boldly entered the boat, and hasting to meet his punishment, waited in full security lor the effect of his petitions. As the moment approached in which Philemon was to have them granted, ambition abandoned to his misfortunes her credulous disciple.
The river swelled, the torrents poured from the tops of the neighbouring mountains, and there united their foaming streams. The newriver no sooner appeared, than it tore up all before it. The little boat, changed miraculously into a large vessel, was raised by the waters and carried away with rapidity. However happy Philemon might fancy himself in that moment, (lor the ship in which he was placed was filled with treasure) at a distance he saw »ith regret (he ruin of that dear cottage in which he had lived for more than twenty years whilst all his days slid on in peace and serenity.
n Emperor Tiberius. British
The river discharging itself into the sea carried, with it, Philemon and his sliip. Exposed on the vast ocean, and havirg lost sight of land, he recovered from his folly; he recollected that he had forgot to supplicate the gods happily to conduct his vessel to some port: but it was now too late: he invoked in vaia the deities who had formerly been his protectors; for he had justly merited their anger.
The sea grew enraged, its billows swelled; a horrible tempest assailed the vessel on all sides ; a furious wave cast it against a rock, the ship split, and the sea swallowed up the riches it had contained.
Philemon, after having for a long time struggled against this imperious element, was cast on a desert coast, when exhausted with fatigue, before he expired, he confess'd himself worthy of the death he suffered, for the indiscretion of his prayers.
Let us leave the gods the arbiters of our lor; man, alas! is more dear to them than he is to himself. Let prudence regulate our wishes; otherwife we shall have reason to fear we shall become, like Philemon, the victims of our rashness.
Anecdote os the Roman Emperor TIBERIUS.
'T'HE emperor, Augustus Cxser,' had left a legacy of three hundred sestet ces to each Roman citizen. Tiberius, itseems, being in no hurry to pay this money, a pleasant fellow took it into his head to remind him of his duty. With this view he fell upon an expedient, which however cost him dear. Seeing a funeral pass the forum, lie went up to the corpse, and whispered something in its ear; and when some people asked him what he had said to the dead
body, he answered, that he had commissioned him to acquaint Augustus, that the Romans were not yet paid the money bequeathed them by his will. Tiberius did not relish this joke; he therefore ordered the wit .to be brought before him; and af:cr paying him his three hundred sesterces, sent him immediately to execution, desiring him to deliver with his own mouth, his message to Augustus.
A T A L E. Trais.attdfrom ,
T T is commonly said in France, ■*• that the inrerulanrs of the provinces abuse their power, tyrannizing over the people, to enrich themselves. But the following history proves this rule not to be without exception. Mr. de M * * * administrated his post with such probity and disinterestedness, that all he left to an only daughter, was the love and veneration of cil who had enjoyed their properties under him, and been protected against injuries. A scheme was set on foot by them for raising a handsome fortune for the young lady, by way of contribution, when a rich merchant deprived the.-n of that pleasure. This merchant, whom I shall call Desbures, was in the thirty fifth year of his age, of an excellent heart, but no great head-piece. He had such a hi«h idea of the late intendant's ■merit, and thought so humbly of himself, that it was not without great timidity, and a kind of trembling, that he signified to the daughter, that it would be an infinite honour done to him if she would condescend to share his immense fortune. Miss was pleased with the justice which he did to her, and not less with his owning himself unworthy of her; and, in recompence for it, flic stooped so low as to give him her hand. By this preamble, the reader will conceive, that the intendant's daughter w as not like her father; this haughty person however lived very well with her husband, because he never' departed from the profound respect which be had vowed to her; and filth was his affection for a wife, who deserved so'little, that dying three years after his marriage, he OJlol/ir 17'>4i
be French of M. de Marmontel.
left her his whrle fortune, though he had two sons by her. The elder, who was called de Dcfbures, to give some air of nobility to his name, had so ingrossed his mother's whole heart, that not any little part of it was left for the younger, who was named Jacquo. The latter was put out to nurse, whilst the elder was brought up at home, and no care and eipence thought too great fur him. Jacquo was afterwards sent for home; but it was only to be a victim to the freaks of his ill-natured brother. The mesters, who attended on this darling son, found him so perverse and stubborn, that they complained of it to Mrs. Desbures, and were so imprudent, as to praise the taints of the younger. They were immediately dismissed; and their successors, wiser by that example, bestowed all their praises on de Dtsoures, and all their cares on Jacquo, and it was scarce possible to 00 otherwise. This poor boy being brow-beaten by every body, had sought relief under his sufferings in the 1 practice of devoron; and God, who is the comfort of the afflicted, had so strengthened him, that he never allowed himself any thoughts contrary to the respect which he owed his mother, but preserved for her an unreserved affec tion. This was far fr6m being the case with her idol. A dangerous distemper brought her to a keen sense of her injustice towards her children, but without any effect. The elder loved his diversions too mnch to confine himself in a sick j erlbn's chamber; and the younger, who was then thirteen years of nge, durst not appear before her, who had n?ver 3 U looked
510 A Tale. Translatedsrclk French o/M.. de Marmontel. BritKh
looked on him but with an eye of aversion and disdain. However, his affection get the better of his fear, and watching the moment, when a nurse opened the door, he silently flipt in to his mother's room, and gently drew near to her bed. Is it you, my son? said the patient. No, mamma, answered the child with a .trembling voice; it is Jacquo. These words planted daggers in Mrs. Desbures's heart: it relented so, that by a kind of natural instinct, she could not foibear holding out her hand to this slighted child, and felt some concern at feeing it bedewed with his tears. These good motions passed away with her iilness, and Jacquo having reached his seventeenth year, Mrs. Desbures coldly advised him to go into orders, as the inheritance left by his father, so far from being what was generally thought, would scarce let up .his elder brother. Jacquo thought he was not t3 carry his obedience to his mother so far, as to endanger his salvation, by engaging, out of complaisance to her, in a holy stale, sor which he had nervocation. Then young spark, there is only one expedient, said this barbarous mother to him; 1 will buy you a lieutenancy, and then you may either oh' tain a Sr. Lewis's cross; or be knocked on the head. There is another way of life, answered he modestly, • in which I would try my fortune: I have a liking to trade, so that, if you will be so kind as to furnish me with venture, I will go to Martinico. Your father's own son! answered Mrs. Desbures, with a contemptuous look. Go, get jounelf ready, and I will furnilh you with what you are so mean-spirited as to ssl;. This harshness from a mother, rvho:n he still tenderly loved, so dis
pirited Jacquo, that he durst not ask her leave to write to her. He embarked some days after, and by God's blessing on his industry, he had not been long at Martinico, before his litile fortune was considerably increased. Mrs. Desoures, overjoyed to be thus cheaply rid of Jacquo, now bent all her thoughts on. the advantageous settlement of the elder, to whom she had sacrificed her younger son. In her eyes, be was every thing that is amiable and accomplished; and, to facilitate his mitch with a rich heiress, (he made over to him her whole fortune. Some months after his marriage, de Desbures must needs go to Pa;is, where, in less than two years, he made shift to spend the whole immense estate which his mother had bestowed on him. His spouse, whom he had never treated with any regard, sued for a separation of fortunes, and having obtained it, de Desoures was reduced to the extremity of distress. During those two years, his mother had written several times to him, that he must be sensit!; that slie lived only on his credit; hut that the tradesmen, who siuplied her house, began to be tired upon receiving no money. This ungrateful son had not so much as returned any anlwtr to her letters; and when soe was preparing to go to him, with a view of extorting a supply, soe received news that he had been ruined, and soon after ended his days by his debaucheries. Mrs. Dcsoures's creditors being informed of her stuation, obliged her to g\ve up to them what little remained to her; so that she was necessitated to betake herself to a garret, where sue endeavoured to support herself by work. This was too strange a kind of life for her to
Mag. jTalt. Translated si cm tbe Trench of M. AeWlarmor\\s\. 511, hold it long; vexations, the want of generous son, said she, and discharge necessaries, and especially remorse, the duties of nature; I take upon soon brought her so low, that the me to discharge those of virtue and period of her troubles seemed near love; my fortune and person are at hand. The parish-priest hearing yours, a: d after such an instance of of her condition, overlooked all fier jour excellent temper, you may be defects, and provided her with a assured, that it is not in the power nurse, wholesome food, and a good of a prince to prejudice you in try physician; but the cause of her ill- love and esteem, ness did not lye within the verge of Jacquo, in an extafy on his knees, physic. The agitations'of her dis- thanked the generous widow, a retracted heart leading her no respite, pararion from w hom was now much hindered the effect of the best te- more painful tohm; yet delayed he medies. not to follow the call of fiiial duty, Absence, in the mean time, had and embarked that very day. He not extinguished Jacquo's filial at- had a pleasant and speedy passage, section. Having received advice till they catr.e into the European from one of his acquaintance of his seas, where his soip was attacked by mother's deplorable condition, he a Corsair of much greater force, thought it his indispensible duty to This struck the whole ship's cornhasten to her relief, though he had pany with consternation; but Jacat the fame time very powerful rea- quo, who had alvvays before his eyes sons for staying at Martinico. He his distressed mother, so pathetically was there in a very thriving way; exhorted his sliip-niates to prefer but a sudden absence might greatly death to slavery, that their courage hurt his expectations: besides, he revived, The Corsair boarded them, was in love, and on the eve of being and Jacquo embracing the dear happy; a young widow left with a casket in which was the gold devast fortune, had gained his heart; signed to save the life of her to but at the same time given him whom he owed his being, he cried hopes of being preferred to several 'out: O God, have mercy on my rival;, far above him in point of wretched mother! After this fliort fortune. Was it not reasonably to prayer, uttered with fervency, he be apprehended, that a long absence throws himself, lion-like, among the would deprive him of his mistress's enemies, and, eying their commandheart? Yet could not all these con- ing officer, he rustics on him, at the /iderations make him hesitate a mo- manifest hazard of his life, and ferment, concerning what his duty re- Innately lays him at his feet. Aoi. ■quired. He got together what mated by this success, he cherts himmoney he could; and, being reac<y self wirh still more vigour, and being to take shipping, he waited on his well Itconded by his companion"., widow with a countenance full of they drive the Barhaii.iiis back into uneasiness. She was at first startled their (hip, which immediaiely Ibeerwith lu:h an unusual chflnge; bur, ed off. The fight b".i;ig over,Jacquo, on heaiing the reasons of his return who was no wani yr by im iiiution, to Europe, with his fear of losing was shocked to see himself covered her, transported with such an heroic with oiood, and a heap of carcasses d-'f'gu, she embraced him : Gc, *.hou strewing the rieik: ho stood agruj*
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