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thing like a sin against self-restraint; and this confusion was increased by observing that the eyes of mine host had followed the act, as if they would inquire into it, and ascertain its true meaning, and, perhaps, set it down over against the credit side of my character.
4. I was ever afraid that I had the weakness of too much covetousness of the creature comforts in my disposition, and that I had now betrayed it to a man who, though lenient and charitable, and inclined to think well of slight faults, would nevertheless weigh it in the balance of estimation, and think of it and me accordingly. I deserved to blush for it, and I did, to the bottom of the stairs, as I descended with him, chewing the sweet fruit of my offense, and the bitter consequence of it-an uneasy sense of shame.
5. But out of the greatest evils we may deduce good; and from the knowledge of our weakness derive strength. I have never forgotten this little incident of my incidental life; it has served as a moral check when I have coveted things which I did not want. And now, when I learn that some one, always famous for his covetousness, has at last been detected in a flagrant dereliction from honesty, I do not wonder at it; for I attribute it to an unrestrained habit of taking the other fig.
6. When I am told that a great gourmand of my acquaintance has died over his dessert-table, I am not surprised; for I have myself noticed that he always would eat the other fig. When I hear that a man, once celebrated for the luxuriousness of his living, now wants a plain dinner, I say, “It is a pity; but he always would have the other fig on the table.” When I see a sensible man staggering through the streets in a drunken forgetfulness of himself and of “ the divine property of his being," or behold him wallowing in “ a sensual sty," and degrading the godlike uprightness of man to the grovel. ing attitude of the brute, I sigh, and say: “This fellow, too, can not refrain from the other fig." 7. When I look on the miser, who, though possessed of gold
and land, lives without money or house, using not the one as it should be used, and enjoying not the other as it should be enjoyed; and when I see that, though having more than he uses, he covets more, that he may have still more than he can use,
scorn him as a robber of the poor, not to make himself richer than they, but poorer, more thankless and comfortless; and I pity the rich poor wretch, still grasping at the other fig.
8. When I hear of some wealthy trader with the four quarters of the world venturing forth again from the ark of safety and the home of his old age, on his promised last voyage, and perishing through the peril of way, I cannot but pity the man who could not lie quietly in the safe harbor of home, because he still craved after the other fig.
9. When I behold some heavy-pursed gamester entér one of those temples where fortune snatches the golden offerings from the altars of her blind fools, to fling them at the feet of her knaves who have eyes; and behold him issuing thence without a “beggarly denier,” to bless him with a dinner or a rope, I cannot help pitying him, that he should risk the fortune he had for the other fig which he has lost.
10. When I see a mighty conqueror, having many thrones under his dominion, and many sceptres in his hand, struggling for new thrones and sceptres, and one after the other losing those he held, in his rapacious eagerness to snatch at those he would have, I cannot pity him, if he loses so many fine figs in the hand to possess the other fig on the tree. When I behold a rich merchant made poor by the extravagance and boldness of his trading speculations, when, if he could have been content with the wealth he had, he might have lived sumptuously and died rich, I cannot help thinking it a pity that he could not be content without the other fig.
11. When I hear that a rich man has done a paltry action for the sake of some petty, penny-getting gain, I scorn him that should so much covet the other fig. When I see a man already high in rank, and ennobled by descent more than
desert, cringing and stooping to a title-dispenser's heels for some new honor, (which is but a new disgrace where it is un. deserved,) it is difficult not to despise him, though ever so honored, who will so degrade himself for the sake of the other fig. And, to conclude, when I see the detected thief dragged in fetters to a dungeon, I think to myself: “Ay, this is one of the probable consequences of a wilful indulgence in the other fig!!”
1. No plate had John and Joan to hoard,
Plain folk in humble plight;
And that was fill'd each night :
2. Along whose inner bottom sketched,
In pride of chubby grace,
A baby's angel-face.
3. John swallowed first a moderate sup;
But Joan was not like John;
She drank till all was gone.
4. John often urged her to drink fair,
But she ne'er changed a jot;
And therefore drained the pot.
5. When John found all remonstrance vain,
Another card he played ;
Had Satan's form portrayed.
6. Joan saw the horns, Joan saw the tail,
Yet Joan as stoutly quaffed ;
She clear'd it at a draught.
7. John stared, with wonder petrified,
His hair stood on his pate;
“ At this enormous rate ?"
8. “Oh! John,” she said, “ am I to blame ?
I can't, in conscience, stop:
To leave the devil a drop!"
Thus Pleasure, in angelic form,
Oft lures to drink and revel:
You'll drink despite the devil.
THE POET'S REWARD.
1. A whimsical story is told of a king, who denied to poets those rewards, to which usage had almost given them a claim. This king, whose name is not recorded, had the faculty of retaining in his memory an ode after having only once heard it; and he had a very talented male servant, who could repeat an ode which he had twice heard, and a female slave who could repeat one that she had heard thrice. Whenever a poet came to compliment him with a panegyrical ode, the king used to promise him, that if he found his verses to be his original composition, he would give him a sum of money equal in weight to what they were written upon.
2. The poet, consenting, would recite his ode; and the king would
“ It is not new ; for I have known it some years ;" and he would repeat it as he had heard it; after which he would add : 6 And this servant also retains it in his memory;" and would order the servant: to repeat it; which, having heard it twice, from the poet and king, he would do. The king would then say to the poet: “I have also a female slave who can repeat it;" and ordering her to do so, stationed behind the curtains, she would repeat what she had thus thrice heard: so the poet would go away empty-handed. The famous poet, El-Asmaee, having heard of this proceeding, and guessing the trick, determined upon outwitting the king; and accordingly composed an ode made up of very difficult words.
3. Being disguised, he went to the palace, and, having asked permission, entered and saluted the king, who said to him : " Whence art thou, O brother of the Arabs, and what dost thou desire ?" The poet answered: “May God increase the power of the king! I am a poet of such a tribe, and have composed an ode in praise of our lord the Sultan.”—“O brother of the Arabs," said the king, “hast thou heard of our condition ?? No," answered the poet; “and what is it, O king of the age ?” “It is,” replied the king," that if the ode be not thine, we give thee no reward ; and if it be thine, we give thee the weight in money of what it is written upon.”
How,” said El-Asmaee, “ should I assume to myself that which belongs to another, and knowing, too, that lying before kings is one of the basest of actions ?
4. “But I agree to this condition, O our lord the Sultan.” So he repeated his ode. The king, perplexed, and unable to remember any of it, made a sign to the servant—but he had retained nothing; and called to the female slave, but she also was unable to repeat a word. “O brother of the Arabs,” said he, “thou hast spoken truth, and the ode is thine without doubt: I have never heard it before: produce, therefore, what it is written upon, and we will give thee its weight in money, as we have promised."