« AnteriorContinuar »
§ 46. Un ange au radieux visage, Penché sur le bord d'un berceau, Semblait contempler son image Comme dans l'onde d'un ruisseau.
Qui se croise les bras, et d'un air ou
trageux, Semble étaler l'orgueil de ses haillons
fangeux; Écoutez-le parler : "Il faut qu'on in
stitue Un magistrat du meurtre, un dictateur
qui tue. C'est Marat, c'est Marat!-Pour le
peindre d'un trait, Il m'a dit de sang-froid, tout comme il
le ferait, Que l'unique moyen de calmer nos
tempêtes, C'est d'abattre deux cent soixante
mille têtes ! Voilà son taux.-Deux cent soixante
seulement ! Jusques à trois cent mille il monte
On l'a bué, flétri, bafoué, confondu; A chaque flétrissure un crime a ré
pondu; Vainement les soufflets sont tombés
sur sa joue, Le crime allait croissant, le sang lavait
la boue, Ceux qui l'ont offensé sont tous morts
ou proscrits, Et l'épouvante enfin l'a sauvé du mépris.
• Charmant enfant qui me ressemble,'
ENGLISH PROSE WRITERS.
1.-Two cats, having stolen some cheese, could not agree about dividing their prize. In order therefore to settle the dispute, they consented to refer the matter to a monkey. The proposed arbitrator very readily accepted the office, and, producing a balance, put a part into each scale. • Let me see,' said he, 'ay! this lump outweighs the other;' and imme. diately he bit off a considerable piece in order to reduce it, he observed, to an equilibrium. The opposite scale was now become the heaviest; which afforded our conscientious judge an
additional reason for a second mouthful. ·Hold! hold !' said the two cats, who began to be alarmed for the event, 'give us our respective shares, and we are satisfied. If you are satisfied,' returned the monkey, 'Justice is not; a case of this intricate nature is by no means so soon determined.' Upon which he continued to nibble first at one piece and then the other, till the poor cats, seeing their cheese gradually diminishing, entreated him to give himself no further trouble, but deliver to them what remained. Not so fast, I beseech you, friends,' replied the
monkey; we owe justice to ourselves as well as to you: what remains is due to me in right of my office.' Upon which he crammed the whole into his mouth, and with great gravity dismissed the court.-R. Dodsley.
not quite so bad with me; for, if one trick should fail, I have a hundred tricks more for them yet. However, if at any time you are reduced to beggary, apply to me, and I will relieve you.' A famine overspread the land; the tailor made shift to live, because his customers could not be without clothes ; but the poor conjuror, with all his hundred tricks, could find none that bad money to throw away. It was in vain that he promised to eat fire, or to vomit pins; not a single creature offered to relieve him, till he was at last obliged to beg from the very tailor whose calling he had formerly despised. To know one profession only is enough for one man to know; and this, whatever the professors may tell you to the contrary, is soon learnt. Be contented, therefore, with one good employment; for if you understand two at a time people will give you no business in either.-0. Goldsmith.
2.-An old man and a little boy were driving an ass to the next market to sell. What a fool is this fellow,' says a man upon the road, to be trudging it on foot with his son, that his ass may go light!' The old man, hearing this, set his boy upon the ass, and went whistling by the side of him. • Why, sirrah!'cried a second man to the boy, 'is it fit for you to be riding, while your poor old father is walking on foot ?' The father, upon this rebuke, took down his boy from the ass, and mounted himself. Do you see,' says a third, how the lazy old knave rides along upon his beast, while his poor little boy is almost crippled with walking?' The old man no sooner heard this than he took up his son behind him. Pray, honest friend,' says a fourth, is that ass your own ?' * Yes,' says the man. • One would not have thought so,' replied the other, by your loading him so unmercifully. You and your son are better able to carry the poor beast than he you.'
Anything to please,' says the owner ; and alighting with his son, they tied the legs of the ass together, and by the help of a pole endeavoured to carry him upon their shoulders over the bridge that led to the town. This was so entertaining a sight that the people ran in crowds to laugh at it; till the ass, conceiving a dislike to the over-complaisance of his master, burst asunder the cords that tied him, slipped from the pole, and tumbled into the river. The poor old man made the best of his way home, ashamed and vexed that, þy endeavouring to please everybody, he had pleased nobody, and lost his ass into the bargain -i. Walpole.
3.-A conjuror and a tailor once happened to converse together. “Alas !' cries the tailor, . what an unhappy poor creature am I! If people ever take it into their heads to live without cloches, I ain undone; I have no other trade to have recourse to.' • Indeed, friend, I pity you sincerely,' replies the conjuror; *but, thank heaven, things are
4.--A young cock, who sat on a high branch of a tree, crowed out so loud that he was heard by a fox as he went that way. So up he trots, with a “How do you do, my dear friend? I have not seen you this long while.' 'I thank you,' says the cock, 'I am as well as I can wish to be.' Then pray,' says the sly fox, come down from the tree that I may kiss you.' •No, I thank you,' said the cock; 'that will not do for me; for I have heard my old sire say that a fox is as fond as can be of the flesh of a cock, and will as soon eat him as look at him.' Pshaw, pshaw, child !' says the thief; 'give me leave to tell you that your old sire is an old fool, and there is not a word of truth in what he says; for all the beasts and birds are now at peace.' 'Ay! ay,' cries the cock, and is this true? I am glad to hear it with all my heart;' and with that he held out his reck, as if he saw something a great way off. •What do you look at, my dear?' cries the fox. No harm,' says the cock, "but a pack of hounds that seem to run a race. • Dear me!' said Sly-boots, 'a pack of hounds! then it is high tiine for me to be gone.' Gone!' said the cock, and in time of peace?' · Yes,' cries the fox, and I must run as fast as I can, for it is ten to one, my dear, that those vile curs have not yet heard of the peace.'-Mrs. Trimmer, 5.-As a fine colt, who was of a high breed, and as plump and as sleek as could be, took his tour round the meads, an old bear got sight of him. •O!' said he, that I could but catch the young rague; what a nice meal could I make of him! But the worst of it is, I am now so old that he runs a great deal too fast for me; so I must trust to my wit and not to my heels;' and on this he set to work to find out a sly trick to get bis ends on the poor colt. The trick he invented was this: the next time he saw him, he called out as loud as he could :-Hark you there, my friend! I want to speak to you. Come, come, you need not fear; for I do not mean to do you the least harm in the world. I should not boast of my own good deeds, but I am the grave old Don who cures all the sick or lame beasts who are so wise as to come and ask my help. It seems strange to me that you should not have known this till now.' • Grave sir,' said the colt, who saw through the trick in a trice, .if I have not heard of your fame, you must lay it to my youth and my ill-luck. But I am glad in my heart that I have now heard it from your own mouth; for I have had a thorn in my foot these ten days past, and cannot get rid of it for the life of me. Do pray be so kind as to look at it, and see if you can pull it out. Oh, how it pains me!' When the bear heard this, he thought he was sure of his prize, and so up he got, to look at the foot and pull out the thorn. But when he was within reach of the hoof, the colt gave him a kick on the head, and then left him to roll on the ground, like a fool and a rogue as he was.-Mrs. Trimmer.
here has never been different from what you now behold it. Was there not of old,' said I, a splendid city here?' •Never,' answered he, so far as we have seen, and never did our fathers speak to us of any such.' On my return there, five hundred years afterwards, I found the sea in the same place, and on its shores was a party of fishermen, of whom I enquired how long the land had been covered by the waters? • Is this a question,' said they, ‘for a man like you? This spot has always been what it is now.' I again returned five hundred years afterwards, and tbe sea had disappeared ; I inquired of a man who stood alone upon the spot, how long ago this change had taken place, and he gave me the same answer as I had received before. Lastly, on coming back again after an equal lapse of time, I found there a flourishing city, more populous and more rich in beautiful buildings than the city I had seen the first time; and when I would fain have informed myself concerning its origin, the inhabitants answered me :-Its rise is lost in remote antiquity: we are ignorant how long it has existed, and our fathers were on this subject as ignorant as ourselves.'
Ch. Lyall. 7.-My eldest son had reached his fifth or sixth year, knew the alphabet, and could read a little; but had received no particular information with respect to the Author of his being ; because I thought he could not yet understand such information, and because I had learnt, from my own experience, that to be made to repeat words not understood is extremely detrimental to the faculties of a young mind. In a corner of a little garden, without infirming any person of the circumstance, I wrote in the mould, with my finger, the three initial letters of his name, and, sowing garden cresses in the furrows, covered up the seed, and smoothed the ground. Ten days after he came running to me, and, with astonishment in his countenance, told me that his name was growing in the garden. I smiled at the report, and seemed inclined to disregard it; but he insisted on my going to see what had happened. “Yes, said I carelessly, on coming to the place; 'I see it is so; but there is
6.-- I passed one day, says Khidhz in the Arab allegory, by a very ancient and wonderfully populous city, and asked one of its inhabitants how long it had been founded. It is indeed a mighty city,' replied he,' we know not how long it has existed, and our ancestors were on this subject as ignorant as ourselves.' Five centuries afterwards, as I passed by the same place, I could not perceive the slightest vestige of the city. I demanded of a peasant who was gathering herbs upon its former site, how long it had been destroyed. In sooth, a strange question !' replied he, “The ground
nothing in this worth notice; it is mere chance,' and I went away. He followed me, and taking hold of my coat, said with some earnestness, • It could not be mere chance, for somebody must have contrived matters so as to produce it.' I pretend not to give his words or my own, for I have forgotten both, but I give the substance of what passed between us in such language as we both understood.
"So you think,' I said, “that what appears so regular as the letters of your name cannot be by chance?'
Yes,' said he with firmness, 'I think so.' • Look at yourself,' I replied, and consider your hands and fingers, your legs and feet, and other limbs; are they not regular in their appearance, and useful to you?' He said they were. •Came you then hither,' said İ, .by chance?' No,' he answered,
that cannot be; something must have made me.' • And who is that something?' I asked. He said he did not know. I had now gained the point I aimed at, and saw that his reason taught him (though he could not so express it) that what begins to be must have a cause; and that what is formed with regularity must have an intelligent cause. I therefore told him the name of the Great Being who made him and all the world, concerning whose adorable nature I gave him such information as I thought he could in some
measure comprehend. The lesson affected him deeply, and he never forgot either it or the circumstance that introduced it. - J. Beattie.
wherein one emperor lost his life and another his crown. These civil commotions were constantly fomented by the monarchs of Blefuscu; and when they were quelled, the exiles always fled for refuge to that empire. It is computed that eleven thousand persons have at several times suffered death rather than submit to break their eggs at the smaller end. Many hundred large volumes have been published upon this controversy ; but the books of the Big-endians have been long forbidden, and the whole party rendered incapable by law of holding employments. Now the Bigendian exiles have found so much credit in the emperor of Blefuscu's court, and encouragement from their party at home, that a bloody war has been carried on between the two empires for six-and-thirty moons, with various success...
I communicated to his majesty of Lilliput a project I had formed of seizing the enemy's whole fleet, which, as our scouts assured us, lay at anchor in the harbour, ready to sail with the first fair wind. I consulted the most experienced seamen upon the depth of the channel, which they had often plumbed, who told me that in the middle at high water it
was seventy, glumgluff's deep, which is about six feet of European measure; aud the rest of it fifty glumgluffs at most. I walked towards the northeast coast, over against Blefuscu, where, lying down behind a hillock, I took out my small perspective glass, and viewed the enemy's feet at anchor, consisting of about fifty men-of-war, and a great number of transports. I then came back to my house, and gave orders (for which I had a warrant) for a great quantity of the strongest cable and bars of iron. The cable was about as thick as pack-thread, and the bars of the length and size of a knittingneedle. I trebled the cable to make it stronger, and for the same reason I twisted three of the iron bars together, bending the extremities into a hook. Having thus fixed fifty hooks to as many cables, I went back to the northeast coast, and pulling off my coat, shoes, and stockings, walked into the sea, in my leathern jerkin, about half an hour before high water. I waded with what haste I could, and swam in the middle about thirty yards, till I
8.-Two mighty powers have been engaged in a most obstinate war for six and-thirty moons past. It began upon the following occasion : it is allowed on all hands that the primitive way of breaking eggs, before we eat them, was upon the larger end; but his present majesty's grandfather, while he was a boy, going to eat an egg, and breaking it according to the ancient practice, happened to cut one of his fingers. Whereupon, the emperor his father published an edict commanding all his subjects, upon great penalties, to break the smaller end of their eggs. The people so bigbly resented this law that, our histories tell us, there have been six rebellions raised on that account,
first arrival. I then took off my spectacles, and waiting about an hour till the tide was a little fallen, I waded through the middle with my cargo, and arrived safe at the royal port of Lilliput.-J. Swift (Gulliver's Travels).
felt ground. I arrived at the fleet in less than half an hour.
The enemy was so frightened when they saw me that they leaped out of their ships, and swam to shore, where there could not be fewer than thirty thousand souls: I then took my tackling, and, fastening a hook to the hole at the prow of each, I tied all the cords together at the end. While I was thus employed, the enemy discharged several thousand arrows, many of which stuck in my hands and face; and, beside the excessive smart, gave me much disturbance in my work. My greatest apprehension was for mine eyes, which I should have infallibly lost if I bad not suddenly thought of an expedient, I kept, among other little necessaries, a pair of spectacles in a private pocket, which had escaped the emperor's searchers. These I took out, and fastened as strongly as I could upon my nose; and thus armed, went on boldly with my work, in spite of the enemy's arrows, many of which struck against the glasses of my spectacles, but without any other effect further than a little to discompose them.
I had now fastened all the hooks, and, taking the knot in my hand, began to pull; but not a ship would stir, for they
all too fast held by their anchors, so that the boldest part of my enterprise remained.
I therefore let go the cord, and leaving the hooks fixed to the ships, I resolutely cut with my knife the cables that fastened the anchors, receiving about two hundred shots in my face and hands; then I took up the knotted end of the cables to which my hooks were tied, and with great ease drew fifty of the enemy's largest men-of-war after me. The Blefuscudians, who had not the least imagination of what I intended, were at first confounded with astonishment. They had seen me cut the cables, and thought my design was only to let the ships run adrift, or fall foul of each other; but when they perceived the whole fleet moving in order, and saw me pulling at the end, they set up such a scream of grief and despair as it is almost impossible to describe or conceive. When I had got out of danger, I stopped awhile to pick out the arrows that stuck in my hands and face; and rubbed on some ointment that was given me at my
9.-A Dervise, travelling through Tartary, being arrived at the town of Balk, went into the king's palace by mistake, as thinking it to be a public inn or caravansary. Having looked about him for some time, he entered into a long gallery, where he laid down his wallet, and spread his carpet, in order to repose himself upon it, after the manner of the Eastern nations. He had not been long in this posture before he was discovered by some of the guards, who asked him what was his business in that place ? The Dervise told them he intended to take up his night's lodging in that caravansary. The guards let him know, in a very angry manner, that the house he was in was not a caravansary but the king's palace. It happened that the king himself passed through the gallery during this debate, and, smiling at the mistake of the Dervise, asked him how he could possibly be so dull as not to distinguish a palace from a caravansary ? • Sir,' says the Dervise, 'give me leave to ask your majesty a question or two. Who were the persons that lodged in this house when it was first built ?' The king replied, his ancestors. •And who,' says the Dervise, 'was the last person that lodged here?' The king replied, bis father. · And who is it,' says the Dervise, “that lodges here at present?'. The king told him that it was he himself. “And who,' says the Dervise, will be here after you?' The king answered, the young prince, his son. Ah! sir,' said the Dervise, • a house that changes its inhabitants so often, and receives such a perpetual succession of guests, is not a palace but a caravansary.' – J. Addison (Spectator).
10.- Schacabac, being reduced to great poverty, and having eaten nothing for two days together, made a visit to a noble Barmecide in Persia, who was very hospitable, but withal a great humourist. The Barmecide was sitting at his table, that seemed ready