« ZurückWeiter »
titude of both; and would too much unbend their minds from that constancy, which their approaching end required of them. Their separation, she said, would be only for a moment; and they would soon rejoin each other in a scene, where their affections would be for ever united; and where death, disappointment, and misfortunes, could no longer have access to them, or disturb their eternal felicity.
It had been intended to execute the lady Jane and lord Guilford together on the same scaffold, at Tower-hill; but the council dreading the compassion of the people for their youth, beauty, innocence, and noble birth, changed their orders, and gave directions that she should be beheaded within the verge of the Tower. She saw her husband led to execution, and having given him from the window some token of her remembrance, she waited with tranquillity till her own appointed hour should bring her to a like fate. She even saw his headless body carried back in a cart; and found herself more confirmed by the reports, which she heard of the constancy of his end, than shaken by so tender and melancholy a spectacle. Sir John Gage, constable of the Tower, when he led her to execution, desired her to bestow on him some small present, which he might keep as a perpetual memorial of her. She gave him her table-book, in which she had just written. three sentences, on seeing her husband's dead body; one in Greek, another in Latin, a third in English. The purport of them was, "that human justice was against his body, but the Divine mercy would be favourable to his soul; and that if her fault deserved punishment, her youth, at least, and her imprudence, were worthy of excuse; and that God and posterity, she trusted, would show her favour." On the scaffold, she made a speech to the by-standers, in which the mildness of her disposition led her to take the blame entirely on herself, without uttering one complaint against the severity with which she had been treated.
She said, that her offence was, not that she had laid her hand upon the crown, but that she had not rejected it with sufficient constancy : that she had less erred through ambition than through reverence to her parents, whom she had been taught to respect and obey; that she willingly acceived death, as the only satisfaction which she could now make to the injured state; and though her infringement of the laws had been constrained, she would show, by her voluntary submission to their sentence, that she was desirous to atone for that disobedience, into which too much filial piety had betrayed her that she had justly deserved this punishment, for being made the instrument, though the unwilling instrument, of the ambition of others: and that the story of her life, she hoped, might at least be useful, by proving that innocence excuses not great misdeeds, if they tend any way to the destruction of the commonwealth. After uttering these words, she caused herself to be disrobed by her women; and with a steady, serene countenance, submitted herself to the execu tioner.
ORTOGRUL; or, the vanity of riches.
As Ortogrul of Basra was one day wandering along. the streets of Bagdat, musing on the varieties of merchandise which the shops opened to his view; and observing the different occupations which busied the mul titude on every side, he was awakened from the tranquillity of meditation, by a crowd that obstructed his passage. He raised his eyes, and saw the chief vizier, who, having returned from the divan, was entering his palace.
Ortogrul mingled with the attendants; and being supposed to have some petition for the vizier, was permitted to enter. He surveyed the spaciousness of the
apartments, admired the walls hung with golden tapestry, and the floors covered with silken carpets; and despised the simple neatness of his own little habitation. "Surely," said he to himself, "this palace is the seat of happiness; where pleasure succeeds to pleasure, and discontent and sorrow can have no admission. Whatever nature has provided for the delight of sense, is here spread forth to be enjoyed. What can mortals. hope or imagine, which the master of this palace has not obtained? The dishes of luxury cover his table; the voice of harmony lulls him in his bowers; he breathes the fragrance of the groves of Java, and sleeps upon the down of the cygnets of Ganges. He speaks, and his mandate is obeyed; he wishes, and his wish is gratified; all whom he sees obey him, and all whom he hears flatter him. How different, O Ortogrul, is thy condition, who art doomed to the perpetual torments of unsatisfied desire; and who has no amusement in thy power, that can withold thee from thy own reflections? They tell thee that thou art wise; but what does wisdom avail with poverty? None will flatter the poor; and the wise have very little power of flattering themselves. That man is surely the most wretched of the sons of wretchedness, who lives with his own faults and follies always before him; and who has none to reconcile him to himself by praise and veneration. I have long sought content, and have not found it; I will from this moment endeavour to be rich."
Full of his new resolution, he shut himself in his chamber for six months, to deliberate how he should grow rich. He sometimes proposed to offer himself as a counsellor to one of the kings in India: and sometimes resolved to dig for diamonds in the mines of Golconda. One day, after some hours passed in violent fluctuation of opinion, sleep insensibly seized him in his chair. He dreamed that he was ranging a desert country, in search of some one that might teach him to grow rich; and as he stood on the top of a hill,
shaded with cypress, in doubt whither to direct his steps, his father appeared on a sudden standing before him. "Ortogrul," said the old man, "I know thy perplexity; listen to thy father; turn thine eye on the opposite mountain." Ortogrul looked, and saw a torrent tumbling down the rocks, roaring with the noise of thunder, and scattering its foam on the impending woods. "Now," said his father, "behold the valley that lies between the hills." Ortogrul looked, and espied a little well, out of which issued a small rivulet. "Tell me now," said his father, "dost thou wish for sudden affluence, that may pour upon thee like the mountain-torrent; or for a slow and gradual increase, resembling the rill gliding from the well?" "Let me be quickly rich," said Ortogrul; "let the golden stream be quick and violent." "Look round thee," said his father, "once again." "Ortogrul looked, and perceived the channel of the torrent dry and dusty; but following the rivulet from the well, he traced it to a wide lake, which the supply, slow and constant, kept always full. He awoke, and determined to grow rich by silent profit and persevering industry.
Having sold his patrimony, he engaged in merchandise; and in twenty years purchased lands, on which he raised a house, equal in sumptuousness to that of the vizier; to which he invited all the ministers of pleasure, expecting to enjoy all the felicity which he had imagined riches able to afford. Leisure soon made him weary of himself, and he longed to be persuaded that he was great and happy. He was courteous and liberal; he gave all that approached him hopes of plea sing him, and all who should please him, hopes of being rewarded. Every art of praise was tried, and every source of adulatory fiction was exhausted. Ortogrul heard his flatterers without delight because he found himself unable to believe them. His own heart told him its frailties; his own understanding reproached him with his faults. "How long," said he, with a deep sigh,
"have I been labouring in vain to amass wealth, which at last is useless! Let no man hereafter wish to be rich, who is already too wise to be flattered."
The hill of Science.
Ix that season of the year, when the serenity of the sky, the various fruits which cover the ground, the discoloured foliage of the trees, and all the sweet, but fading graces of inspiring autumn, open the mind to benevolence, and dispose it for contemplation, I was wandering in a beautiful and romantic country, till curiosity began to give way to weariness; and I sat down on the fragment of a rock overgrown with moss; where the rustling of the falling leaves, the dashing of waters, and the hum of the distant city, soothed my mind into a most perfect tranquility; and sleep insensibly stole upon me, as I was indulging the agree able reveries, which the objects around me naturally inspired.
I immediately found myself in a vast extended plain, in the middle of which arose a mountain higher than I had before any conception of. It was covered with a multitude of people, chiefly youth; many of whom pressed forwards with the liveliest expression of ardour in their countenance, though the way was in many places steep and difficult. I observed, that those who had but just begun to climb the hill, thought themselves not far from the top; but as they proceeded, new hills were continually rising to their view; and the summit of the highest they could before discern seemed but the foot of another, till the mountain at length appeared to lose itself in the clouds. As I was gazing on these things with astonishment, a friendly instructer suddenly appeared: "The mountain before thee," said he, "is