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ANTEDILUVIAN STORY. Paper II. (No. 585).
THE letter inserted in my last had so good an effect upon Hilpa, that she answered it in less than twelve months, after the following manner:
“HILPA, MISTRESS OF THE VALLEYs, To SHALUM, MASTER
“In the 789th year of the creation.
“What have I to do with thee, O Shalum ? Thou praisest Hilpa's beauty, but art thou not secretly enamoured with the verdure of her meadows 2 Art thou not more affected with the prospect of her green valleys, than thou wouldst be with the sight of her person? The lowings of my herds, and the bleatings of my flocks, make a pleasant echo in thy mountains, and sound sweetly in thy ears. What though I am delighted with the wavings of thy forests, and those breezes of perfumes which flow from the top of Tirzah: are these like the riches of the valley?
“I know thee, O Shalum! thou art more wise and happy than any of the sons of men. Thy dwellings are among the cedars; thou searchest out the diversity of soils; thou understandest the influences of the stars, and markest the change of seasons. Can a woman appear lovely in the eyes of such an one 2 Disquiet me not, O Shalum; let me alone, that I may enjoy those goodly possessions which are fallen to my lot. Win me not by thy enticing words. May thy trees increase and multiply; mayest thou add wood to wood, and shade to shade; but tempt not Hilpa to destroy thy solitude, and make thy retirement populous.”
The Chinese say, that a little time afterwards she accepted of a treat in one of the neighbouring hills to which Shalum had invited her. This treat lasted for two years, and is said to have cost Shalum five hundred antelopes, two thousand ostriches, and a thousand tons of milk; but what most of all recommended it, was that variety of delicious fruits and pot-herbs, in which no person then living could any way equal Shalum. He treated her in the bower which he had planted amidst the wood of nightingales. This wood was made up of such fruit-trees and plants as are most agreeable to the several kinds of singing-birds; so that it had drawn into it all the music of the country, and was filled from one end of the year to the other with the most agreeable concert in season. He showed her every day some beautiful and surprising scene in this new region of wood-lands; and, as by this means he had all the opportunities he could wish for of opening his mind to her, he succeeded so well, that upon her departure she made him a kind of promise, and gave him her word to return him a positive answer in less than fifty years. She had not been long among her own people in the valleys, when she received new overtures, and at the same time a most splendid visit from Mishpach, who was a mighty man of old, and had built a great city, which he called after his own name. Every house was made for at least a thousand years; nay, there were some that were leased out for three lives; so that the quantity of stone and timber consumed in this building is scarce to be imagined by those who live in the present age of the world. This great man entertained her with the voice of musical instruments, which had been lately invented, and danced before her to the sound of the timbrel. He also presented her with several domestic utensils wrought in brass and iron, which had been newly found out for the conveniency of life. In the meantime Shalum grew very uneasy with himself, and was sorely displeased at Hilpa for the reception which she had given to Mishpach, insomuch that he never wrote to her or spoke of her during a whole revolution of Saturn; but finding that this intercourse went no further than a visit, he again renewed his addresses to her, who, during his long silence, is said very often to have cast a wishing eye upon Mount Tirzah. Her mind continued wavering about twenty years longer between Shalum and Mishpach; for though her inclinations favoured the former, her interest pleaded very powerfully for the other. While her heart was in this unsettled condition, the following accident happened, which determined her choice:—A high tower of wood that stood in the city of Mishpach, having caught fire by a flash of lightning, in a few days reduced the whole town to ashes. Mishpach resolved to rebuild the place whatever it should cost him; and having already destroyed all the timber of the country, he was forced to have recourse to Shalum, whose forests were now two hundred years old. He purchased these woods with so many herds of cattle and flocks of sheep, and with such a vast extent of fields and pastures, that Shalum was now grown more wealthy than Mishpach; and therefore appeared so charming in the eyes of Zilpah's daughter, that she no longer refused him in marriage. On the day in which he brought her up into the mountains, he raised a most prodigious pile of cedar and of every sweetsmelling wood, which reached above three hundred cubits in height; he also cast into the pile bundles of myrrh and sheaves of spikenard, enriching it with every spicy shrub, and making it fat with the gums of his plantations. This was the burnt-offering which Shalum offered in the day of his espousals: the smoke of it ascended up to heaven,
and filled the whole country with incense and perfume. ADDISON.
ON DREAMS. (No. 586).
TO THE SPECTATOR.
“It was a good piece of advice which Pythagoras gave to his scholars; that every night before they slept they should examine what they had been doing that day, and so discover what actions were worthy of pursuit tomorrow, and what little vices were to be prevented from slipping unawares into a habit. If I might second the philosopher's advice, it should be mine, that in a morning before my scholar rose, he should consider what he had been about that night, and with the same strictness as if the
condition he has believed himself to be in was real. Such a scrutiny into the actions of his fancy must be of considerable advantage, for this reason, because the circumstances which a man imagines himself in during sleep are generally such as entirely favour his inclinations, good or bad, and give him imaginary opportunities of pursuing them to the utmost; so that his temper will lie fairly open to his view, while he considers how it is moved when free from those constraints which the accidents of real life put it under. Dreams are certainly the result of our waking thoughts, and our daily hopes and fears are what give the mind such nimble relishes of pleasure and such severe 'touches of pain in its midnight rambles. A man that murders his enemy, or deserts his friend, in a dream, had need to guard his temper against revenge and ingratitude, and take heed that he be not tempted to do a vile thing in the pursuit of false, or the neglect of true honour. For my part, I seldom receive a benefit, but in a night or two's time I make most noble returns for it; which though my benefactor is not a whit the better for, yet it pleases me to think that it was from a principle of gratitude in me, that my mind was susceptible of such generous transport while I thought myself repaying the kindness of my friend: and I have often been ready to beg pardon, instead of returning an injury, after considering that when the offender was in my power I had carried my resentments much too far. “I think it has been observed in the course of your papers, how much one's happiness or misery may depend upon the imagination : of which truth those strange workings of fancy in sleep are no inconsiderable instances; so that not only the advantage a man has of making discoveries of himself, but a regard to his own ease or disquiet, may induce him to accept of my advice. Such as are willing to comply with it, I shall put into a way of doing it with pleasure, by observing only one maxim which I shall give them, viz., to go to bed with a mind entirely free from passion, and a body clear from the least intemperance. “They, indeed, who can sink into sleep with their thoughts less calm or innocent than they should be, do but plunge themselves into scenes of guilt and misery; or they who are willing to purchase any midnight disquietudes for the satisfaction of a full meal, or a skin full of wine ; these I have nothing to say to, as not knowing how to invite them to reflections full of shame and horror: but those that will observe this rule, I promise them they shall awake into health and cheerfulness, and be capable of recounting with delight those glorious moments, wherein the mind has been indulging itself in such luxury of thought, such noble hurry of imagination. Suppose a man's going supperless to bed should introduce him to the table of some great prince or other, where he should be entertained with the noblest marks of honour and plenty, and do so much business after, that he shall rise with as good a stomach to his breakfast as if he had fasted all night long : or suppose he should see his dearest friends remain all night in great distresses, which he could instantly have disengaged them from, could he have been content to have gone to bed without the other bottle; believe me these effects of fancy are no contemptible consequences of commanding or indulging one's appetite. “I forbear recommending my advice upon many other accounts until I hear how you and your readers relish what I have already said; among whom if there be any that may pretend it is useless to them, because they never dream at all, there may be others, perhaps, who do little else all day long. Were every one as sensible as I am of what happens to him in his sleep, it would be no dispute whether we pass so considerable a portion of our time in the condition of stocks and stones, or whether the soul were not perpetually at work upon the principle of thought. However, it is an honest endeavour of mine to persuade my countrymen to reap some advantage from so many unregarded hours, and as such you will encourage it. “I shall conclude with giving you a sketch or two of my way of proceeding. “If I have any business of consequence to do to-morrow, I am scarce dropt asleep at night but I am in the midst of it; and when awake, I consider the whole procession of the