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much will still remain undone. He can never know all the crimes that are committed, and can seldom punish all that he knows."
“ This," said the prince, “I do not understand, but I had rather hear thee than dispute. Continue thy narration."
“My father," proceeded Imlac,“ originally intended that I should have no other education, than such as might qualify me for commerce; and, discovering in me great strength of memory, and quickness of apprehension, often declared his hope, that I should be, some time, the richest man in Abissinia.”
Why,” said the prince, “ did thy father desire the increase of his wealth, when it was already greater than he durst discover or enjoy? I am unwilling to doubt thy veracity, yet inconsistencies cannot both be true.”
“ Inconsistencies,” answered Imlac, “cannot both be right, but, imputed to man, they may both be true. Yet diversity is not inconsistency. My father might expect a time of greater security. However, some desire is necessary to keep life in motion, and he, whose real wants are supplied, must admit those of fancy.”
This,” said the prince, “I can, in some measure, conceive. I repent that I interrupted thee.”
“ With this hope," proceeded Imlac,“ he sent me to school; but when I had once found the delight of knowledge, and felt the pleasure of intelligence and the pride of invention, I began, silently, to despise riches, and determined to disappoint the purpose of my father, whose grossness of conception raised my pity. I was twenty years old before his tenderness would expose me to the fatigue of travel, in which time I had been instructed, by successive masters, in all the literature of my native country. As every hour taught me something new, I lived in a continual course of gratifications; but, as I advanced towards manhood, I lost much of the reverence with which I had been used to look on my instructers; because, when the lesson was ended, I did not find them wiser or better than common men.
" At length my father resolved to initiate me in commerce, and, opening one of his subterranean treasuries, counted out ten thousand pieces of gold. This, young man, said he, is the stock with which you must negotiate. I began with less than the fifth part, and you see how diligence and parsimony have increased it. This is your own, to waste or to improve. If you squander it by negligence or caprice, you must wait for my death, before you will be rich: if, in four years, you double your stock, we will thenceforward let subordination cease, and live together as friends and partners; for he shall always be equal with me, who is equally skilled in the art of growing rich.
“We laid our money upon camels, concealed in bales of cheap goods, and travelled to the shore of the Red sea. When I cast my eye on the expanse of waters, my heart bounded like that of a prisoner escaped. I felt an unextinguishable curiosity kindle in my mind, and resolved to snatch this opportunity of seeing the manners of other nations, and of learning sciences unknown in Abissinia.
“I remembered that my father had obliged me to the improvement of my stock, not by a promise, which I ought not to violate, but by a penalty, which I was at liberty to incur; and, therefore, determined to gratify my predominant desire, and, by drinking at the fountains of knowledge, to quench the thirst of curiosity.
As I was supposed to trade without connexion with my father, it was easy for me to become acquainted with the master of a ship, and procure a passage to some other country. I had no motives of choice to regulate my voyage; it was sufficient for me, that, wherever I wandered, I should see a country, wbich I had not seen before. I, therefore, entered a ship bound for Surat, having left a letter for my father, declaring my intention.
THE HISTORY OF IMLAC CONTINUED,
“When I first entered upon the world of waters, and lost sight of land, I looked round about me with pleasing terrour, and, thinking my soul enlarged by the boundless prospect, imagined that I could gaze round for ever without satiety; but, in a short time, I grew weary of looking on barren uniformity, where I could only see again what I had already seen. I then descended into the ship, and doubted, for awhile, whether all my future pleasures would not end like this, in disgust and disappointment. Yet, surely, said I, the ocean and the land are very different; the only variety of water is rest and motion, but the earth has mountains and valleys, deserts and cities; it is inhabited by men of different customs and contrary opinions ; and I may hope to find variety in life, though I should miss it in nature.
“ With this thought I quieted my mind, and amused myself during the voyage, sometimes by learning from the sailors the art of navigation, which I have never practised, and sometimes by forming schemes for my conduct in different situations, in not one of which I have been ever placed.
“I was almost weary of my naval amusements, when we landed safely at Surat. I secured my money, and, purchasing some commodities for show, joined myself to a caravan that was passing into the inland country. My companions, for some reason or other, conjecturing that I was rich, and, by my inquiries and admiration, finding that I was ignorant, considered me as a novice, whom they had a right to cheat, and who was to learn, at the usual expense, the art of fraud. They exposed me to the theft of servants, and the exaction of officers, and saw me plundered, upon false pretences, without any advantage to themselves, but that of rejoicing in the superiority of their own knowledge.”
Stop a moment," said the prince. “Is there such depravity in man, as that he should injure another, without benefit to himself? I can easily conceive, that all are pleased with superiority: but your ignorance was merely accidevtal, which, being neither your crime nor your folly, could afford them no reason to applaud themselves; and the knowledge which they had, and which you wanted, they might as effectually have shown by warning, as betraying you."
“Pride," said Imlac, “is seldom delicate; it will please itself with very mean advantages; and envy feels not its own happiness, but when it may be compared with the misery of others. They were my enemies, because they grieved to think me rich; and my oppressors, because they delighted to find me weak."
"Proceed,” said the prince: “I do not doubt of the facts which you relate, but imagine that you impute them to mistaken motives."
" In this company,” said Imlac, “ I arrived at Agra, the capital of Indostan, the city in which the great mogul commonly resides. I applied myself to the language of the country, and, in a few months, was able to converse with the learned men; some of whom I found morose and reserved, and others easy and communicative; some were unwilling to teach another what they had, with difficulty, learned themselves; and some showed, that the end of their studies was to gain the dignity of instructing.
“To the tutor of the young princes I recommended myself so much, that I was presented to the emperour as a man of uncommon knowledge. The emperour asked me many questions concerning my country and my travels; and though I cannot now recollect any thing that he nttered above the power of a common man, he dismissed me astonished at his wisdom, and enamoured of his good
My credit was now so high, that the merchants, with whom I had travelled, applied to me for recommendations to the ladies of the court. I was surprised at their confidence of solicitation, and gently reproached them with their practices on the road. They heard me with cold indifference, and showed no tokens of shame or sorrow.
“ They then urged their request with the offer of a bribe; but what I would not do for kindness, I would not do for money; and refused them, not because they had injured me, but because I would not enable them to injure others; for I knew they would have made use of my credit to cheat those who should buy their wares.
“ Having resided at Agra till there was no more to be learned, I travelled into Persia, where I saw many remains of ancient magnificence, and observed many new accommodations of life. The Persians are a nation eminently social, and their assemblies afforded me daily opportunities of remarking characters and manners, and of tracing human nature through all its variations.
“ From Persia I passed into Arabia, where I saw a nation at once pastoral and warlike; who live without any settled habitation; whose only wealth is their flocks and herds; and who have yet carried on, through all ages, hereditary war with all mankind, though they neither covet nor envy their possessions."
IMLAC'S HISTORY CONTINUED. A DISSERTATION
Wherever I went, I found that poetry was considered as the highest learning, and regarded with a veneration, somewhat approaching to that which man would pay to the angelick nature. And yet it fills me with wonder, that, in almost all countries, the most ancient poets are considered as the best: whether it be that every other kind of knowledge is an acquisition gradually attained, and poetry is a gift conferred at once; or that the first poetry of
every nation surprised them as a novelty, and retained the credit by consent, which it received by accident at first: or whether, as the province of poetry is to describe nature