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3. This hint rekindled the prince's desire of passing the mountains; having seen what the mechanist had already performed, he was willing to fancy that he could do more; yet resolved to inquire further, before he suffered hope to afflict him by disappointment. “I am afraid,” said he to the artist, “that your imagination prevails over your skill, and that you now tell me rather what you wish, than what you know. Every animal has his element assigned him; the birds have the air, and man and beast the earth.”
4. “So," replied the mechanists, " fishes have the water, in which yet beasts can swim by nature, and men by art. He that can swim needs not despair to fly: to swim is to fly in a grosser fluid, and to fly is to swim in a subtiler. only to proportion our power of resistance to the different density of matter through which we are to pass. You will be necessarily upborne by the air, if you can renew any impulse upon it faster than the air can recede from the pressure.
5. “But the exercise of swimming," said the prince,“ is very laborious; the strongest limbs are soon wearied ; afraid the act of flying will be yet more violent; and wings will be of no great use, unless we can fly further than we can swim."
6. “The labor of rising from the ground," said the artist, “ will be great, as we see it in the heavier domestic fowls; but as we mount higher, the earth's attraction and the body's gravity will be gradually diminished, till we shall arrive at a region where the man will float in the air without any tendency to fall : no care will then be necessary, but to move forwards, which the gentlest impulse will effect.
7. “You, Sir, whose curiosity is so extensive, will easily conceive with what pleasure a philosopher, furnished with wings, and hovering in the sky, would see the earth, and all its inhabitants, rolling beneath him, and presenting to him successively, by its diurnal motion, all the countries within the same parallel.
8. “How must it amuse the pendent spectator to see the moving scene of land and ocean, cities and deserts ! To
survey with equal serenity the marts of trade and the fields of battle; mountains infested by barbarians, and fruitful regions gladdened by plenty and lulled by peace! How easily shall we then trace the Nile through all his passage; pass over to distant regions, and examine the face of nature from one extremity of the earth to the other !"
9. “All this,” said the prince,“ is much to be desired; but I am afraid that no man will be able to breathe in these regions of speculation and tranquillity. I have been told, that respiration is difficult upon lofty mountains, yet from these precipices, though so high as to produce great tenuity of air, it is very easy to fall : therefore, I suspect that, from any height where life can be supported, there may be danger of too quick descent."
10. “ Nothing,” replied the artist, “ will ever be attempted, if all possible objections must be first overcome. If you will favor my project, I will try the first flight at my own hazard. I have considered the structure of all volant animals, and find the folding continuity of the bat's wings most easily accommodated to the human form. Upon this model I shall begin my task to-morrow, and in a year expect to tower into the air beyond the malice and pursuit of man. But I will only work on this condition, that the art shall not be divulged, and that you shall not require me to make wings for any but ourselves.”
11. “Why,” said Rasselas, “should you envy others so great an advantage? All skill ought to be exerted for universal good; every man has owed much to others, and ought to repay the kindness that he has received."
12. “If men were all virtuous,” returned the artist, “I should with great alacrity teach them all to fly. But what would be the security of the good, if the bad could at pleasure invade them from the sky? Against an army sailing through the clouds, neither walls, nor mountains, nor seas, could afford any security. A flight of northern savages might hover in the wind and light at once with irresistible violence upon the capital of a fruitful' region that was rolling under them. Even
this valley, the retreat of princes, the abode of happiness, might be violated by the sudden descent of some of the naked nations that swarm on the coast of the southern sea."
13. The prince promised secresy, and waited for the per formance, not wholly hopeless of success. He visited the work from time to time, observed its progress, and remarked many ingenious contrivances to facilitate motion, and unite levity with strength. The artist was every day more certain that he should leave vultures and eagles behind him, and the contagion of his confidence seized upon the prince.
14. In a year the wings were finished, and, on a morning appointed, the maker appeared furnished for flight on a little promontory: he waved his pinions awhile to gather air, then leaped from his stand, and in an instant dropped into the lake. His wings, which were of no use in the air, sustained him in the water, and the prince drew him to land, half dead with terror and vexation.
IGNORANCE IN OFFICE: Scene in the Street.-SHAKSPEARE.
DOGBERRY and VERGES with the WATCHMEN.
Dogb. Are you good men and true !
Verg. Yea, or else it were pity but they should suffer salvation, body and soul.
Dogb. Nay, that were a punishment too good for them, if they should have any allegiance in them, being chosen for the prince's watch.
Verg. Well, give them their charge, neighbor Dogberry.
Dogb. First, who think you the most desartless man to be constable ?
1st Watch. Hugh Oatcake, sir, or George Seacoal; for they can write and read.
Dogb. Come hither, neighbor Seacoal : Heaven hath blessed you with a good name: to be a well-favored man is the gift of fortune; but to write and read comes by nature.
2d Watch. Both which, master constable,
Dogb. You have; I knew it would be your answer. Well, for your favor, sir, why, give Heaven thanks, and make no boast of it; and for your writing and reading, let that appear when there is no need of such vanity. You are thought here to be the most senseless and fit man for the constable of the watch; therefore bear you
the lantern : This is your charge ; You shall comprehend all vagrom men; you are to bid any man stand, in the prince's name.
2d Watch. How if he will not stand ?
Dogb. Why, then, take no note of him, but let him go; and presently call the rest of the watch together, and thank Heaven
you are rid of a knave. Verg. If he will not stand when he is bidden, he is none of the prince's subjects.
Dogb. True, and they are to meddle with none but the prince's subjects:—You shall also make no noise in the streets ; for, for the watch to babble and talk, is most tolerable, and not to be endured.
2d Watch. We will rather sleep than talk; we know what belongs to a watch.
Dogb. Why, you speak like an ancient and most quiet watchman; for I cannot see how sleeping should offend: only, have a care that your bills be not stolen :—Well, you are to call at all the ale-houses, and bid those that are drunk, get them to bed.
2d Watch. How if they will not ?
Dogb. Why, then, let them alone till they are sober; if they make you not then the better answer, you may say they are not the men you took them for.
2d Watch. Well, sir. Dogb. If you meet a thief, you may suspect him, by virtue
your office, to be no true man; and for such kind of men, the less you meddle or make with them, why, the more is for your honesty.
2d Watch. If we know him to be a thief, shall we not lay hands on him ?
Dogb. Truly, by your office, you may; but, I think, they that touch pitch will be defiled : the most peaceable way for you,
you do take a thief, is, to let him show himself what he is, and steal out of your company.
Verg. You have been always called a merciful man, partner.
Dogb. Truly, I would not hang a dog by my will; much more a man who hath any honesty in him.
Verg. If you hear a child cry in the night, you must call to the nurse,
and bid her still it. 2d. Watch. How if the nurse be asleep, and will not hear us ?
Dogb. Why, then, depart in peace, and let the child wake her with crying; for the ewe that will not hear her lamb when it baes, will never answer a calf when he bleats.
Verg. 'Tis very true.
Dogb. This is the end of the charge. You, constable, are to present the prince's own person ; if you meet the prince in the night, you may stay him.
Verg. Nay, by'r lady, that, I think, he cannot.
Dogb. Five shillings to one on’t, with any man that knows the statues, he may stay him : marry, not without the prince be willing : for, indeed, the watch ought to offend no man; and it is an offense to stay a man against his will.
Verg. By'r lady, I think it be so.
Dogb. Ha, ha, ha! Well, masters, good night : an there be any matter of weight chances, call up me: keep your fellows' counsels and your own, and good night.—Come neighbor.
2d Watch. Well, masters, we hear our charge: let us go sit here upon the church-bench till two, and then all to bed.
Dogb. One word more, honest neighbors : I pray you, watch about Signior Leonato's door; for the wedding being there to-morrow, there is a great coil to-night: Adieu, be vigilant, I beseech you.