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Reason than to disobey her; and who retreated from the heat and tumult of the way, not to the bowers of Intemperance, but to the maze of Indolence. They had this

peculiarity in their condition, that they were always in sight of the Road of Reason, always wishing for her presence, and always resolving to return to-morrow. In these was most eminently conspicuous the subtlety of Habit, who hung imperceptible shackles upon them, and was every moment leading them farther from the road, which they always imagined that they had the power of reaching. They wandered on from one double of the labyrinth to another with the chains of Habit hanging secretly upon them, till, as they advanced, the flowers grew paler, and the scents fainter; they proceeded in their dreary march without pleasure in their progress, yet without power to return; and had this aggravation above all others, that they were criminal but not delighted. The drunkard for a time laughed over his wine; the ambitious man triumphed in the miscarriage of his rival; but the captives of Indolence had neither superiority nor merriment. Discontent lowered in their looks, and Sadness hovered round their shades; yet they crawled on reluctant and gloomy, till they arrived at the depth of the recess, varied only with poppies and nightshade, where the dominion of Indolence terminates, and the hopeless wanderer is delivered up to Melancholy; the chains of Habit are rivetted for ever; and Melancholy, having tortured her prisoner for a time, consigns him at last to the cruelty of Despair.

While I was musing on this miserable scene, my protector called out to me, “ Remember, Theodore, and be wise, and let not Habit prevail against thee.” I started, and beheld myself surrounded by the rocks of Teneriffe : the birds of light were singing in the trees, and the glances of the morning darted upon me.



Felix qui potuit boni
Fontem visere lucidum. Boethius.

As Floretta was wandering in a meadow at the foot of Plinlimmon, she heard a little bird cry in such a note as she had never observed before, and looking round her, saw a lovely goldfinch entangled by a lime-twig, and a hawk hovering over him, as at the point of seizing him in his talons.

Floretta longed to rescue the little bird, but was afraid to encounter the hawk, who looked fiercely upon her without any apparent dread of her approach, and as she advanced seemed to increase in bulk, and clapped his wings in token of defiance. Floretta stood deliberating a few moments, but, seeing her mother at no great distance, took courage, and snatched the twig with the little bird upon it. When she had disengaged him, she put him in her bosom, and the hawk flew away.

Floretta, shewing her bird to her mother, told her from what danger she had rescued him : her mother, after admiring his beauty, said, that he would be a very proper inhabitant of the little gilded cage, which had hung empty since the starling died for want of water, and that he should be placed at the chamber window, for it would be wonderfully pleasant to hear him in the morning.

Floretta, with tears in her eyes, replied, that he had better have been devoured by the hawk than die for want of water, and that she would not save him from a less evil to put him in danger of a greater: she therefore took him into her hand, cleaned his feathers from the bird-lime,

* From Miscellanies in Prose and Verse. By Anna Williams. 1766, 4to.

looked upon

him with great tenderness, and, having put his bill to her lips, dismissed him into the air.

He flew in circles round her as she went home, and, perching on a tree before the door, delighted them awhile with such sweetness of song, that her mother reproved her for not putting him in the cage. Floretta endeavoured to look

grave, but silently approved her own act, and wished her mother more generosity. Her mother guessed her thoughts, and told her, that when she was older she would be wiser.

Floretta however did not repent, but hoped to hear her little bird the next morning singing at liberty. She waked early and listened, but no goldfinch could she hear. She rose, and walking again in the same meadow, went to view the bush where she had seen the lime-twig the day before.

When she entered the thicket, and was near the place for which she was looking, from behind a blossoming hawthorn advanced a female form of very low stature, but of elegant proportion and majestick air, arrayed in all the colours of the meadow, and sparkling as she moved like a dew-drop in the sun.

Floretta was too much disordered to speak or fly, and stood motionless between fear and pleasure, when the little lady took her by the hand.

“I am,” said she,“ one of that order of beings which some call Fairies, and some Piskies: we have always been known to inhabit the crags and caverns of Plinlimmon. The maids and shepherds when they wander by moonlight, have often heard our musick, and sometimes seen our dances.

“I am the chief of the fairies of this region, and am known among them by the name of Lady Lilinet of the Blue Rock. As I lived always in my own mountain, I had very little knowledge of human manners, and thought better of mankind than other fairies found them to deserve; I therefore often opposed the mischievous practices of my sisters without always inquiring whether they were just.

I extinguished the light that was kindled to lead a traveller into a marsh, and found afterwards that he was hasting to corrupt a virgin: I dissipated a mist which assumed the form of a town, and was raised to decoy a monopolizer of corn from his way to the next market : I removed a thorn artfully planted to prick the foot of a churl, that was going to hinder the poor from following his

from following his reapers; and defeated so many schemes of obstruction and punishment, that I was cited before the Queen, as one who favoured wickedness, and opposed the execution of fairy justice.

“ Having never been accustomed to suffer controul, and thinking myself disgraced by the necessity of defence, I so much irritated the Queen by my sullenness and petulance, that in her anger she transformed me into a goldfinch. 'In this form,' says she, “I doom thee to remain till some human being shall shew thee kindness without any prospect of interest.'

“I flew out of her presence not much dejected; for I did not doubt but every reasonable being must love that. which having never offended, could not be hated, and having no power to hurt, could not be feared.

“I therefore fluttered about the villages, and endeavoured to force myself into notice.

“Having heard that nature was least corrupted among those who had no acquaintance with elegance and splendour, I employed myself for five years in hopping before the doors of cottages, and often sat singing on the thatched roof: my motions were seldom seen nor my notes heard, no kindness was ever excited, and all the reward of my officiousness was to be aimed at with a stone when I stood within a throw.

“The stones never hurt me, for I had still the power of a fairy.

“I then betook myself to spacious and magnificent habitations, and sung in bowers by the walks or on the banks of fountains.

“In these places where novelty was recommended by satiety, and curiosity excited by leisure, my form and my

voice were soon distinguished, and I was known by the name of the pretty goldfinch: the inhabitants would walk out to listen to my musick, and at last it was their practice to court my visits by scattering meat in my common haunts.

“This was repeated till I went about pecking in full security, and expected to regain my original form, when I observed two of my most liberal benefactors silently advancing with a net behind me. I flew off, and fluttering beside them pricked the leg of each, and left them halting and groaning with the cramp.

“I then went to another house, where for two springs and summers I entertained a splendid family with such mel as they had never heard in the woods before. The winter that followed the second summer was remarkably cold, and many little birds perished in the field. I laid myself in the way of one of the ladies as benumbed with cold, and faint with hunger ; she picked me up with great joy, telling her companions that she had found the goldfinch that sung so finely all summer in the myrtle hedge, that she would lay him where he should die, for she could not bear to kill him, and would then pick his fine feathers very carefully, and stick them in her muff.

Finding that her fondness and her gratitude could give way to so slight an interest, I chilled her fingers that she could not hold me, then flew at her face, and with my beak gave her nose four pecks that left four black spots indelible behind them, and broke a match by which she would bave obtained the finest equipage in the county.

“At length the Queen repented of her sentence, and being unable to revoke it, assisted me to try experiments upon man, to excite his tenderness, and attract his regard.

“We made many attempts, in which we were always disappointed. At last she placed me in your way held by a lime-twig, and herself in the shape of a hawk made the show of devouring me. You, my dear, have rescued me from the seeming danger without desiring to detain me in captivity, or seeking any other recompence than the pleasure of benefiting a feeling creature.

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