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business to consider what beings like us may Heaven? The world must be peopled by marperform ; each labouring for his own happiness, riage, or peopled without it.” by promoting within his circle, however nar- “ How the world is to be peopled,” returned row, the happiness of others.
Nekayah, “ is not my care, and needs not be “ Marriage is evidently the dictate of nature; yours. I see no danger that the present genemen and women were made to be the compaa ration should omit to leave successors behind nions of each other; and therefore I cannot be them: we are not now inquiring for the world, persuaded but that marriage is one of the means but for ourselves." of happiness."
“ I know not,” said the Princess, “ whether marriage be more than one of the innumerable
CHAP. XXIX. modes of human misery. When I see and reckon the various forms of connubial infelici. The Debate on Marriage continued. ty, the unexpected causes of lasting discord, the diversities of temper, the oppositions of opi- “ The good of the whole,” says Rasselas, nion, the rude collisions of contrary desire where “ is the same with the good of all its parts. If both are urged by violent impulses, the obsti- marriage be best for mankind, it must be evinate contest of disagreeing virtues where both dently best for individuals ; or a permanent and are supported by consciousness of good inten- necessary duty must be the cause of evil, and tion, I am sometimes disposed to think, with some must be inevitably sacrificed to the convethe severer casuists of most nations, that mar- nience of others. In the estimate which you riage is rather permitted than approved, and have made of the two states, it appears that the that none, but by the instigation of a passion incommodities of a single life are, in a great too much indulged, entangle themselves with measure, necessary and certain, but those of the indissoluble compacts.”
conjugal state accidental and avoidable. I can“You seem to forget,” replied Rasselas, not forbear to flatter myself that prudence and " that you have, even now, represented celi- benevolence will make marriage happy. The bacy as less happy than marriage. Both con- general folly of mankind is the cause of general ditions may be bad, but they cannot both be complaint. What can be expected but disapworst. Thus it happens when wrong opinions pointment and repentance from a choice made are entertained, that they mutually destroy each in the immaturity of youth, in the ardour of deother, and leave the mind open to truth.' sire, without judgment, without foresight, with
“I did not expect,” answered the Princess, out inquiry after conformity of opinions, simi“ to hear that imputed to falsehood, which is the larity of manners, rectitude of judgment, or puconsequence only of frailty. To the mind, as rity of sentiment? to the eye, it is difficult to compare with exact- « Such is the common process of marriage. ness objects, vast in their extent, and various in A youth and maiden meeting by chance, or their parts. When we see or conceive the whole brought together by artifice, exchange glancés, at once, we readily note the discriminations, and reciprocate civilities, go home and dream of one decide the preference: but of two systems, of another. Having little to divert attention, or which neither can be surveyed by any human diversify thought, they find themselves uneasy being in its full compass of magnitude and mul- when they are apart, and therefore conclude tiplicity of complication, where is the wonder, that they shall be happy together. They marry, that, judging of the whole by parts, I am al- and discover what nothing but voluntary blindternately affected by one and the other, as either ness before had concealed; they wear out life presses on my memory or fancy? We differ in altercations, and charge nature with cruelty. from ourselves just as we differ from each other, “ From those early marriages proceeds likewhen we see only part of the question, as in the wise the rivalry of parents and children : the multifarious relations of politics and morality : son is eager to enjoy the world before the father but when we perceive the whole at once, as in is willing to forsake it, and there is hariliy room numerical computations, all agree in one judg- at once for two generations. The daughter bement, and none ever varies in his opinion.” gins to bloom before the mother can be content
“Let us not add,” said the Prince, “ to the to fade, and neither can forbear to wish for the other evils of life, the bitterness of controversy, absence of the other. nor endeavour to vie with each other in subtil- “ Surely all these evils may be avoided by ties of argument. We are employed in a search that deliberation and delay which prudence preof which both are equally to enjoy the success, scribes to irrevocable choice. In the variety and or suffer by the miscarriage. It is therefore jollity of youthful pleasures, life may be well fit that we assist each other. You surely con- enough supported without the help of a partner. clude too hastily from the infelicity of marriage Longer time will increase experience, and wider against its institution; will not the misery of views will allow better opportunities of inquiry life prove equally that life cannot be the gift of and selection : one advantange at least will be certain ; the parents will be visibly older than “ From their children, if they nave 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 these, 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 inind 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 you, make 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 car 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; & day.
country where the sciences first dawned that il“ Those 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 domestic 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 inodern builders, and froin the won
ders which time has spared, we may conjecture, perforined. 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 coinI 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 tho 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. Innlac explained to them “There is no part of history so generally use- the principles upon which the pyramidal form 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 stabicissitudes 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 of volutions of the intellectual world. If accounts natural violence. A concussion that should 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 interior 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 by unquiet souls. The ori- an active mind is to the means by which it was ginal possessors of these dreadful 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 inistress.
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 de haunt 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!" a purpose as that of entering the recesses of the Pyramids. “ Though I cannot teach courage,' said Nekayah, “I must not learn cowardice;
CHAP. XXXIII. nor leave at last undone what I came hither only to do."
The Princess meets with an unerpected Misfor.
tune. CHAP. XXXII.
They rose up, and returned through the ca
vity at which they had entered ; and the PrinThey enter the 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 passed through the way had made upon her. But when they came galleries, surveyed the vaults of marble, and ex- to their train, they found every one silent and amined the chest in which the body of the found- dejected : the men discovered shame and fear er is supposed to have been reposited. They in their countenances, and the women were weepthen sat down in one of the most spacious cham- ing in their tents. bers to rest a while, before they attempted to What had happened they did not try to con· return.
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. more 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 catch them ; nor indeed could any account or right and wrong, we cannot be happy even by