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certain; the parents will be visibly older than “ From their children, if tney have less to their children.'
fear, they have less also to hope ; and they lose, “What reason cannot collect," said Nekayah, without equivalent, the joys of early love, and “ and what experiment has not yet taught, can the convenience of uniting with manners pliant, be known only from the report of others. I have and minds susceptible of new impressions, which been told that late marriages are not eminent- might wear away their dissimilitudes by long ly happy. This is a question too important cohabitation, as soft bodies, by continual attrito be neglected ; and I have often proposed it tion, conform their surfaces to each other. to those, whose accuracy of remark, and com- “ I believe it will be found, that those who prehensiveness of knowledge, made their suf- marry late are best pleased with their children, frages worthy of regard. They have generally and those who marry early with their partners.' determined, that it is dangerous for a man and “The union of these two affections,” said Raswoman to suspend their fate upon each other at selas, “ would produce all that could be wished. a time when opinions are fixed, and habits are Perhaps there is a time when marriage might established; when friendships have been con- unite them; a time neither too early for the tracted on both sides, when life has been plan- father, nor too late for the husband.” ned into method, and the mind has long enjoy- “Every hour," answered the Princess, “coned the contemplation of its own prospects. firms my prejudice in favour of the position so
" It is scarcely possible, that two travelling often uttered by the mouth of Imlac, “That through the world under the conduct of chance, nature sets her gifts on the right hand and on should have been both directed to the same the left.' Those conditions which flatter hope path, and it will not often happen that either and attract desire, are so constituted, that, as will quit the track which custom has made we approach one we recede from another. There pleasing. When the desultory levity of youth are goods so opposed that we cannot seize both; has settled into regularity, it is soon succeeded but, by too much prudence, may pass between by pride ashamed to yield, or obstinacy delight- them at too great a distance to reach either. ing to contend. And even though mutual esteem This is often the fate of long consideration : he produces mutual desire to please, time itself, as does nothing who endeavours to do more than is it modifies unchangeably the external mien, de- allowed to humanity. Flatter not yourself with termines likewise the direction of the passions, contrarieties of pleasure. Of the blessings set and gives an inflexible rigidity to the manners. before
your choice, and be content. Long customs are not easily broken ; he that No man can taste the fruits of autumn, while attempts to change the course of his own life, he is delighting his scent with the flowers of the very often labours in vain, and how shall we do spring: no man can at the same time fill his cup that for others which we are seldom able to do from the source and from the mouth of the for ourselves ?"
Nile." “ But surely,” interposed the Prince, “ you suppose
the chief motive of choice forgotten or neglected. Whenever I shall seek a wife, it
CHAP. XXX. shall be my first question, whether she be willing to be led by reason ?”
Imlac enters, and changes the Conversation. « Thus it is,” said Nekayah," that philosophers are deceived. There are a thousand fa- Here Imlac entered, and interrupted them. miliar disputes which reason never can decide ; Imlac,” said Rasselas, “ I have been taking questions that elude investigation, and make lo- from the Princess the dismal history of private gic ridiculous; cases where something must be life, and am almost discouraged from further done, and where little can be said. Consider search.” the state of mankind, and inquire how few can “ It seems to me," said Imlac, “ that while be supposed to act upon any occasions, whether you are making the choice of life, you neglect small or great, with all the reasons of action to live. You wander about a single city, which, present to their minds. Wretched would be the however large and diversified, can now afford pair, above all names of wretchedness, who few novelties, and forget that you are in a should be doomed to adjust by reason, every country famous among the earliest monarchies morning, all the minute detail of a domestic for the power and wisdom of its inhabitants; a day.
country where the sciences first dawned that ilThose who marry at an advanced age, will luminate the world, and beyond which the arts probably escape the encroachments of their chil- cannot be traced of civil society or domestie dren; but in diminution of this advantage, they life. will be likely to leave them, ignorant and help- “ The old Egyptians have left behind them less, to a guardian's mercy: or if that should monuments of industry and power, before which not happen, they must at least go out of the all European magnificence is confessed to fade world before they see those whom they love best, away. The ruins of their architecture are the either wise or great.
schools of modern builders, and from the wonders which time has spared, we may conjecture, performed. Here begins the true use of such though uncertainly, what it has destroyed.” contemplation ; we enlarge our comprehension
“ My curiosity,” said Rasselas, “ does not by new ideas, and perhaps recover some art lost very strongly lead me to survey piles of stone, to mankind, or learn what is less perfectly or mounds of earth; my business is with man. known in our own country. At least we comI came hither, not to measure fragments of tem- pare our own with former times, and either reples, or trace choked aqueducts, but to look joice at our improvement, or, what is the first upon the various scenes of the present world.”. motion towards good, discover our defects.”
“ The things that are now before us,” said “ I am willing,” said the Prince, “ to see all the Princess, “ require attention, and deserve it. that can deserve my search.”—“And I,” said the What have I to do with the heroes or the mo- Princess,“ shall rejoice to learn something of numents of ancient times—with times which the manners of antiquity." never can return, and heroes, whose form of “ The most pompous monument of Egyptian life was different from all that the present con- greatness, and one of the most bulky works of dition of mankind requires or allows?" manual industry,” said Imlac, " are the Pyra
“ To know any thing,” returned the poet, mids ; fabrics raised before the time of history,
we must know its effects; to see men, we and of which the earliest narratives afford us must see their works, that we may learn what only uncertain traditions. Of these the greatest reason has dictated, or passion has incited, and is still standing, very little injured by time.” find what are the most powerful motives of ac- “ Let us visit them to-morrow," said Netion. To judge rightly of the present, we must kayah: “ I have often heard of the Pyramids, oppose it to the past ; for all judgment is com- and shall not rest till I have seen them, within parative, and of the future nothing can be and without, with my own eyes.” known. The truth is, that no mind is much employed upon the present: recollection and anticipation fill up almost all our moments.
CHAP. XXXI. Our passions are joy and grief, love and hatred, hope and fear. Of joy and grief, the past is the
They visit the Pyramids. object ; and the future, of hope and fear : even love and hatred respect the past, for the cause
The resolution being thus taken, they set out must have been before the effect.
the next day. They laid tents upon their ca“ The present state of things is the conse- mels, being resolved to stay among the Pyramids quence of the former; and it is natural to in- till their curiosity was fully satisfied. They quire what were the sources of the good that we travelled gently, turned aside to every thing reenjoy, or the evil that we suffer. If we act on- markable, stopped from time to time and conly for ourselves, to neglect the study of history versed with the inhabitants, and observed the is not prudent: if we are intrusted with the various appearances of towns ruined and inhacare of others, it is not just. Ignorance, when bited, of wild and cultivated nature. it is voluntary, is criminal: and he may proper
When they came to the Great Pyramid, they ly be charged with evil, who refused to learn were astonished at the extent of the base, and how he might prevent it.
the height of the top. Imlac explained to them “There is no part of history so generally use- the principles upon which the pyramidal for ful as that which relates to the progress of the was chosen for a fabric intended to co-extend its human mind, the gradual improvement of rea- duration with that of the world : he shewed son, the successive advances of science, the vi- that its gradual diminution gave it such stalcissitudes of learning and ignorance, which are lity, as defeated all the common attacks of the the light and darkness of thinking beings, the elements, and could scarcely be overthrown by extinction and resuscitation of arts, and the re- earthquakes themselves, the least resistible ei volutions of the intellectual world. If accounts natural violence. A concussion that shouici of battles and invasions are peculiarly the busi- shatter the Pyramid would threaten the dissoluness of princes, the useful or elegant arts are tion of the continent. not to be neglected ; those who have kingdoms They measured all its dimensions, and pitchto govern, have understandings to cultivate. ed their tents at its foot./ Next day they pre
Example is always more efficacious than pared to enter its intarior apartments, and haprecept. A soldier is formed in war, and a ving hired the common guides, climbed up to the painter must copy pictures. In this, contem- first passage ; when the favourite of the Prinplative life has the advantage : great actions are cess, looking into the cavity, stepped back and seldom seen, but the labours of art are always trembled. “ Pekuah,” said the Princess, “ of at hand for those who desire to know what art what art thou afraid?"_" Of the narrow enhas been able to perform.
trance," answered the lady,"and of the dreadful “When the eye, or the imagination, is struck gloom. I dare not enter a place which must with any uncommon work, the next transition of surely be inhabited hy unquiet souls. The orian active mind is to the means by which it was ginal possessors of these dreadlíul vaults will start up before us, and perhaps shut us in for “We have now," said Imlac, “gratified our ever.'
She spoke, and threw her arms round minds with an exact view of the greatest work the neck of her mistress.
of man, except the wall of China. “If all your fear be of apparitions,” said the “Of the wall, it is very easy to assign the Prince, “ I will promise you safety: there is no motive. It secured a wealthy and timorous nadanger from the dead; he that is once buried tion from the incursions of barbarians, whose will be seen no more.'
unskilfulness in the arts made it easier for them “ That the dead are seen no more,” said Im- to supply their wants by rapine than by induslac, “ I will not undertake to maintain against try, and who from time to time poured in upon the concurrent and unvaried testimony of all the habitations of peaceful commerce, as vulages and of all nations. There is no people, tures descend upon domestic fowl. Their celerude or learned, among whom apparitions of the rity and fierceness made the wall necessary, and dead are not related and believed. This opinion, their ignorance made it efficacious. which, perhaps, prevails as far as human nature “ But for the Pyramids, no reason has ever is diffused, could become universal only by its been given, adequate to the cost and labour of truth : those that never heard of one another the work. The narrowness of the chambers would not have agreed in a tale which nothing proves that it could afford no retreat from enebut experience can make credible. That it is mies, and treasures might have been reposited doubted by single cavillers can very little weaken at far less expence with equal security. It seems the general evidence; and some who deny it to have been erected only in compliance with with their tongues, confess it by their fears. that hunger of imagination which preys inces
“ Yet I do not mean to add new terrors to santly upon life, and must be always appeased those which have already seized upon Pekuah. by some employment. Those who have already There can be no reason why spectres should all that they can enjoy, must enlarge their dehaunt the pyramid more than other places, or sires. He that has built for use till use is supwhy they should have power or will to hurt in- plied, must begin to build for vanity, and exnocence and purity. Our entrance is no viola- tend his plan to the utmost power of human pertion of their privileges ; we can take nothing formance, that he may not be soon reduced to from them; how then can we offend them?" form another wish.
“My dear Pekuah," said the Princess, “ I “ I consider this mighty structure as a monuwill always go before you, and Imlac shall fol- ment of the insufficiency of human enjoyments. low you. Remember that you are the compa- A king, whose power is unlimited, and whose nion of the Princess of Abyssinia.”
treasures surmountall real and imaginary wants, “ If the Princess is pleased that her servant is compelled to solace, by the erection of a Pyshould die,” returned the lady, “ let her com- ramid, the satiety of dominion and tastelessness mand some death less dreadful than enclosure of pleasures, and to amuse the tediousness of in this horrid cavern. You know I dare not dis- declining life, by seeing thousands labouring obey you ; I must go, if you command me; but, without end, and one stone, for no purpose, laid if I once enter, I never shall come back.” upon another. Whoever thou art, that, not
The Princess saw that her fear was too strong content with a moderate condition, imaginest for expostulation or reproof, and, embracing her, happiness in royal magnificence, and dreamest told her that she should stay in the tent till that command or riches can feed the appetite of their return. Pekuah was not yet satisfied, but novelty with perpetual gratifications, survey the entreated the Princess not to pursue so dreadful Pyramids, and confess thy folly!"
purpose as that of entering the recesses of the Pyruids. “ Though I cannot teach courage," saje Vekayah, “ I must not learn cowardice;
CHAP. XXXIII. nor lea! at last rundone what I came hither only
The Princess meets with an unexpected Misfor
tune. CUP. XXXII.
They rose up, and returned through the ca
vity at which they had entered ; and the PrinThey enter te Pyramid.
cess prepared for her favourite a long narrative
of dark labyrinths and costly rooms, and of the Pekuah descended to the tents, and the rest different impressions which the varieties of the entered the Pyramid ; they r 'sed through the way had made upon her. But when they came galleries, surveyed the rail arba and ex- to their train, they found every one silent and ainined the chest in which. ods of we found- dejected: the men discovered shame and fear er is supposed to have his repinted. They in their countenances, and the women were weepthen sat down in one of the most pacious cham- ing in their tents. bers to rest a while they attempted to What had happened they did not try to conreturn.
jecture, but immediately inquired. “You had
scarcely entered into the Pyramid,” said one of description be given by which he might direct the attendants, “when a troop of Arabs rushed the pursuit. upon us : we were too few to resist them, and It soon appeared that nothing would be done too slow to escape. They were about to search by authority. Governors, being accustomed to the tents, set us on our camels, and drive us hear of more crimes than they can punish, and along before them, when the approach of some more wrongs than they can redress, set themTurkish horsemen put them to fight ; but they selves at ease by indiscriminate negligence, and seized the lady Pekuah with her two maids, and presently forget the request when they lose sight carried them away: the Turks are now pursu- of the petitioner. ing them by our instigation, but I fear they Imlac then endeavoured to gain some intelliwill not be able to overtake them.”
gence by private agents. He found many who The Princess was overpowered with surprise pretended to an exact knowledge of all the and grief. Rasselas, in the first heat of his re- haunts of the Arabs, and to regular correspondsentment, ordered his servants to follow him, ence with their chiefs, and who readily underand prepared to pursue the robbers with his took the recovery of Pekuah. Of these, some sabre in his hand. “ Sir,” said Imlac, “ what were furnished with money for their journey, can you hope from violence or valour? the and came back no more ; some were liberally Arabs are mounted on horses trained to battle paid for accounts which a few days discovered and retreat ; we have only beasts of burthen. to be false. But the Princess would not suffer By leaving our present station we may lose the any means, however improbable, to be left unPrincess, but cannot hope to regain Pekuah.” tried. While she was doing something, she
In a short time the Turks returned, having kept her hope alive. As one expedient failed, not been able to reach the enemy. The Princess another was suggested ; when one messenger burst out into new lamentations, and Rasselas returned unsuccessful, another was dispatched could scarcely forbear to reproach them with to a different quarter. cowardice ; but Imlac was of opinion, that the Two months had now passed, and of Pekuah escape of the Arabs was no addition to their nothing had been heard ; the hopes which they misfortune, for, perhaps, they would have killed had endeavoured to raise in each other grew their captives rather than have resigned them. inore languid ; and the Princess, when she saw
nothing more to be tried, sunk down inconso
lable in hopeless dejection. A thousand times CHAP. XXXIV.
she reproached herself with the easy compliance
by which she permitted her favourite to stay beThey return to Cairo without Pekuah. hind her. “Had not my fondness," said she,
“lessened my authority, Pekuah had not dared There was nothing to be hoped from longer to talk of her terrors. She ought to have feared stay. They returned to Cairo, repenting of their me more than spectres. A severe look would curiosity, censuring the negligence of the go- have overpowered her; a peremptory command vernment, lamenting their own rashness, which would have compelled obedience. Why did foolhad neglected to procure a guard, imagining ish indulgence prevail upon me? why did I not many expedients by which the loss of Pekuah speak, and refuse to hear ?" might have been prevented, and resolving to do “ Great Princess,” said Imlac,“ do not resomething for her recovery, though none could proach yourself for your virtue, or consider that find any thing proper to be done.
as blameable by which evil has accidentally been Nekayah retired to her chamber, where her caused. Your tenderness for the timidity of Pewomen attempted to comfort her, by telling her kuah was generous and kind. When we act that all had their troubles, and that lady Pekuah according to our duty, we commit the events to had enjoyed much happiness in the world for a Him by whose laws our actions are governed, long time, and might reasonably expect a change and who will suffer none to be finally punished of fortune. They hoped that some good would for obedience. When, in prospect of some good, befal her wheresoever she was, and that their whether natural or moral, we break the rules mistress would find another friend, who might prescribed us, we withdraw from the direction supply her place.
of superior wisdom, and take all consequences The Princess made them no answer; and they upon ourselves. Man cannot so far know the continued the form of condolence, not much connection of causes and events, as that he may grieved in their hearts that the favourite was venture to do wrong in order to do right. When lost.
we pursue our ends by lawful means, we may alNext day, the Prince presented to the Bassa a ways console our miscarriage by the hope of fumemorial of the wrong which he had suffered, ture recompense. When we consult only our and a petition for redress. The Bassa threatened own policy, and attempt to find a nearer way to to punish the robbers, but did not attempt to good, by overleaping the settled boundaries of eatch them ; nor indeed could any account or right and wrong, we cannot be happy even by success, because we cannot escape the conscious- she desired, he was less and less willing to come ness of our fault; but if we miscarry, the dis- into her presence. She observed his backwardappointment is irremediably embittered. How ness, and commanded him to attend her. “ You comfortless is the sorrow of him, who feels at are not,” said she, “ to confound impatience once the pangs of guilt, and the vexation of ca- with resentment, or to suppose that I charge you lamity, which guist has brought upon him ! with negligence, because I repine at your un
“ Consider, Princess, what would have been successfulness. I do not much wonder at your your condition, if the lady Pekuah had entreat- absence. I know that the unhappy, are never ed to accompany you, and, being compelled to pleasing, and that all naturally avoid the constay in the tents, had been carried away; or how tagion of misery. To hear complaints is weariwould you have borne the thought if you had some, alike to the wretched and the happy; for forced her into the pyramid, and she had died who would cloud, by adventitious grief, the before you in agonies of terror ?”
short gleams of gaiety which life allows us? or “ Had either happened,” said Nekayah," I who, that is struggling under his own evils, could not have endured life till now ; I should will add to them the miseries of another? have been tortured to madness by the remem- “ The time is at hand, when none shall be brance of such cruelty, or must have pined away disturbed any longer by the sighs of Nekayah: in abhorrence of myself.”
my search after happiness is now at an end. I “ This, at least," said Imlac, “is the present am resolved to retire from the world with all its reward of virtuous conduct, that no unlucky flatteries and deceits, and will hide myself in consequence can oblige us to repent it.” solitude, without any other care than to com
pose my thoughts, and regulate my hours by a
constant succession of innocent occupations, till, CHAP. XXXV.
with a mind purified from earthly desires, I
shall enter into that state, to which all are hastThe Princess languishes for want of Pekuah. ening, and in which I hope again to enjoy the
friendship of Pekuah." NEKAYAH, being thus reconciled to herself, “ Do not entangle your mind,” said Imlac, found that no evil is insupportable but that “by irrevocable determinations, nor increase the which is accompanied with consciousness of burthen of life by a voluntary accumulation of wrong.
was, from that time, delivered from ‘misery: the weariness of retirement will conthe violence of tempestuous sorrow, and sunk tinue or increase when the loss of Pekuah is forinto silent pensiveness and gloomy tranquillity: got. That you have been deprived of one pleaShe sat from morning to evening recollecting all sure is no very good reason for rejection of the that had been done or said by her Pekuah, rest.” treasured up
every trifle on which Pe- “Since Pekuah was taken from me," said the kuah had set an accidental value, and which Princess, “ I have no pleasure to reject or to remight recal to mind any little incident or care- tain. She that has no one to love or trust, has less conversation. The sentiments of her whom little to hope. She wants the radical principle she now expected to see no more, were treasured of happiness. We may, perhaps, allow that in her memory as rules of life, and she delibe- what satisfaction this world can afford, must rated to no other end than to conjecture on any arise from the conjunction of wealth, knowledge, occasion what would have been the opinion and and goodness : wealth is nothing but as it is becounsel of Pekuah.
stowed, and knowledge nothing but as it is comThe women, by whom she was attended, knew municated : they must therefore be imparted to nothing of her real condition, and therefore she others, and to whom could I now delight to imcould not talk to them but with caution and re- part them? Goodness affords the only comfort serve. She began to remit her curiosity, having which can be enjoyed without a partner, and no great desire to collect notions which she had goodness may be practised in retirement." no convenience of uttering. Rasselas endeavour- “ How far solitude may admit goodness, or ed first to comfort, and afterwards to divert her; advance it, I shall not,” replied Imlac,“ dishe hired musicians, to whom she seemed to list- pute at present. Remember the confession of en, but did not hear them; and procured mas- the pious hermit. You will wish to return inters to instruct her in various arts, whose lec- to the world when the image of your companion tures, when they visited her again, were again has left your thoughts.”_" That time," said to be repeated. She had lost her taste of plea- Nekayah, “ will never come.
The generous sure, and her ambition of excellence. And her frankness, the modest obsequiousness, and the mind, though forced into short excursions, al- faithful secrecy of my dear Pekuah, will always ways recurred to the image of her friend. be more missed, as I shall live longer to see vice
Imlac was every morning earnestly enjoined and folly.” to renew his inquiries, and was asked every night “ The state of a mind oppressed with a sudwhether he had yet heard of Pekuah ; till, not den calamity,” said Imlac, ^ is like that of the being able to return the Princess the answer that fabulous inhabitants of the new-created earth,