Page images

Where Av'rice usurps sage Economy's look,*
And Humour cracks jokes out of Ribaldry's book:
Till no longer in silence confession can lurk,
That from chaos and cobwebs could spring even Burke.
Thus, 'mong dirty companions conceal'd in the ground,
And unnotic'd by all, the proud metal was found,
Which, exalted by place, and by polish refined,
Could comfort, corrupt, and confound all mankind.


Gigantic in knowledge, in virtue, in strength,
With Johnson our company closes at length:
So the Greeks from the cavern of Polypheme past,
When, wisest and greatest, Ulysses came last,
To his comrades contemptuous, we see him look down
On their wit and their worth with a general frown :
While from Science' proud tree the rich fruit he

Who could shake the whole trunk while they turn'd a few leaves.

Th' inflammable temper, the positive tongue,
Too conscious of right for endurance of wrong,
We suffer from Johnson, contented to find
That some notice we gain from so noble a mind;
And pardon our hurts, since so many have found
The balm of instruction pour'd into the wound.

* Till he got his pension, Burke was always poor; and the wonder is how he managed to make both ends meet at all.

"Tis thus for its virtues the chymists extol
Pure rectified spirit, sublime alcohol.
From noxious putrescence preservative pure,
A cordial in health, and in sickness a cure;
But oppos'd to the sun, taking fire at his rays,
Burns bright to the bottom, and ends in a blaze.



ARABIAN tales, all Oriental tales indeed, are full of imagination, void of common sense. The lady who recounts can scarcely fail to amuse. She is herself so handsome and so charming, the story must please, be it what it will; but they must be listeners like Sir James Fellowes who can feel interest in an old man's narration, and hear attentively the Rabbinical story concerning A search after Asheri.

Four young men, then, stood round their father's death-bed. "I cannot speak what I wish you to hear," whispered the dying parent; "but there is a Genius residing in the neighbouring wood, who pretends to direct mortals to Asheri. Meanwhile, accept my house and lands; they are not large, but will afford an elegant sufficiency. Farewell."

Three of the brothers set out instantly for the wood. The fourth staid at home; and, having performed the last filial duties to a father he revered, began to cultivate his farm, and court his neighbour's daughter to share it with him. She was virtuous, kind, and amiable. We will leave them, and follow the adventurers, who soon arrived at the obscure habitation of the reputed sage, bosomed in trees, and his hut darkened with ivy. Scarce

could the ambiguous mandates be heard; still less could the speaker (Imagination) be discerned through the gloom. "What is this Asheri we are to look out for ?" said one brother. "Oh! when once seen, no eye can be mistaken," replied a voice from within the grot. "Three beautiful forms uniting under one radiant head, compose the sighed-for object." "I am a passionate admirer of beauty," interrupted the youth. "Shall I not find the lovely creature at Grand Cairo ?" "Seek your desire there," was the reply; "the soil will be congenial to your nature." He set off without studying for an answer.

When the next brother made application: "I wonder," said he, "how this renowned Asheri should ever be found without obtaining court-favour, and permission to proceed in the search." "At Ispahan, Sir, you may procure both. Here are letters for the young Sophy of Persia, scarce thirteen years old, and her mother the Sultana Valadi." A respectful bow constituted this youth's adieu, and he put himself immediately on progress.

The third, who till now had been employed in laughing at and mimicking his companions, remained a moment with the Genius of the wood; and “ Well, Sir," said he, "which way shall I take towards finding this fabulous being, this faultless wonder, this non-existent chimera, Asheri?" "Oh, you are a wit: make your début at Delhi; 'tis the only mart for talents." Aboul, willing to try his fortune, soon set out and after fifteen years-for so long my tale lasts-he was

observed by two mendicants of ragged and wretched appearance; who, fainting with hunger and exhausted by disease, addressed him as he sate upon a stone by the wayside leading to Kouristan, 400 miles from Delhi. "I have no money, my honest friends," said he; "but you shall share my dinner of brown bread and goat's milk. You have scarcely strength, I see, to reach the cottage: I will run home and fetch two wooden bowls full." He did so, and they were refreshed, and recognised each other. It was now who should tell his hapless history; but Aboul was ablest and gave the following account :


"You left me," said he, "with that rascally conjuror, Imagination by name, whose delight it is to dress up a phantom for poor afflicted mortals to follow, and he calls it Asheri. My destiny led me to seek in Delhi the bright reward of superior talents; but it was never my intention to claim applause till I had deserved it; so my lamp went not out at night till I had composed a book of tales for publication,- short ones, but wellvaried, for novels were the mode at Delhi. In a week's time the book was in every hand that could hold one. The reviews criticised, but the ladies bought it, and the criticisms did me more good than harm. An ill-spent note called me to the toilette of a great lady ; invitations then crowded round me, suppers without end, and dinners undesired. At first this was not unpleasant, and I began to think Asheri not far distant. I wrote elaborate poems in praise of my protectress, entered into none of her intrigues; but against all the

« PreviousContinue »