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ders which time has spared, we may conjecture, performed. 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 comI 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 the 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. Imlac 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 ignorancs, 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 orian 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 mistress.
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 scen 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 dehaunt 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
The Princess meets with an unexpected Misfore
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 varietics 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 conreturn.
jecture, but iminediately inquired. “You had
scarcely entered into the Pyramid," said one of description be given by which he micht direct the attendants, “when a troop of Arabs rashed 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 lry
success, because we cannot escape the conscious- she desired, he was less and less willing to come ness of our fault; but if we miscarry, the dis- into her presence. She observed his backwardappointment is irremediably embittered. How ness, and commanded him to attend her. “You comfortless is the sorrow of him, who feels at are not,” said she, “ to confound impatience once the pangs of guilt, and the vexation of ca- with resentment, or to suppose that I charge you lamity, which guilt has brought upon him! with negligence, because I repine at your un
“ Consider, Princess, what would have been successfulness. I do not much wonder at your your condition, if the lady Pekuah had entreat- absence. I know that the unhappy are never ed to accompany you, and, being compelled to pleasing, and that all naturally avoid the constay in the tents, had been carried away; or how tagion of misery. To hear complaints is weariwould you have borne the thought if you had some, alike to the wretched and the happy; for forced her into the pyramid, and she had died who would cloud, by adventitious grief, the before you in agonies of terror?”
short gleams of gaiety which life allows us? or “ Had either happened," said Nekayah, “I who, that is struggling under his own evils, could not have endured life till now; I should will add to them the miseries of another? have been tortured to madness by the remem- « The time is at hand, when none shall be brance of such cruelty, or must have pined away disturbed any longer by the sighs of Nekayah: in abhorrence of myself.”
my search after happiness is now at an end. I “ This, at least,” said Imlac, “is the present am resolved to retire from the world with all its reward of virtuous conduct, that no unlucky flatteries and deceits, and will hide myself in consequence can oblige us to repent it.”
solitude, without any other care than to compose my thoughts, and regulate my hours by a
constant succession of innocent occupations, till, CHAP. XXXV.
with a mind purified from earthly desires, I
shall enter into that state, to which all are hastThe Princess languishes for want of Pekuah. ening, and in which I hope again to enjoy the
friendship of Pekuah.” NEKAYAH, being thus reconciled to herself, “ Do not entangle your mind,” said Imlac, found that no evil is insupportable but that “by irrevocable determinations, nor increase the which is accompanied with consciousness of burthen of life by a voluntary accumulation of wrong. She was, from that time, delivered from misery: the weariness of retirement will conthe violence of tempestuous sorrow, and sunk tinue or increase when the loss of Pekuah is forinto silent pensiveness and gloomy tranquillity. got. That you have been deprived of one pleaShe sat from morning to evening recollecting all sure is no very good reason for rejection of the that had been done or said by her Pekuah, rest.” treasured up with care every trifle on which Pe- “ Since Pekuah was taken from me," said the kuah had set an accidental value, and which Princess, “I have no pleasure to reject or to remight recal to mind any little incident or care- tain. She that has no one to love or trust, has less conversation. The sentiments of her whom little to hope. She wants the radical principle she now expected to see no more, were treasured of happiness. We may, perhaps, allow that in her memory as rules of life, and she delibe- what satisfaction this world can afford, must rated to no other end than to conjecture on any arise from the conjunction of wealth, knowledge, occasion what would have been the opinion and and goodness : wealth is nothing but as it is becounsel of Pekuah.
stowed, and knowledge nothing but as it is comThe women, by whom she was attended, knew municated : they must therefore be imparted to nothing of her real condition, and therefore she others, and to whom could I now delight to imcould not talk to them but with caution and re- part them? Goodness affords the only comfort serve. She began to remit her curiosity, having which can be enjoyed without a partner, and no great desire to collect notions which she had goodness may be practised in retirement." no convenience of uttering. Rasselas endeavour “ How far solitude may admit goodness, or ed first to comfort, and afterwards to divert her; advance it, I shall not,” replied Imlac, “ dishe hired musicians, to whom she seemed to list- pute at present. Remember the confession of en, but did not hear them; and procured mas- the pious hermit. You will wish to return inters to instruct her in various arts, whose lec- to the world when the image of your companion tures, when they visited her again, were again has left your thoughts.”_" That time," said to be repeated. She had lost her taste of plea- Nekayah, “ will never come. The generous sure, and her ambition of excellence. And her frankness, the modest obsequiousness, and the mind, though forced into short excursions, al- faithful secrecy of my dear Pekuah, will always ways recurred to the image of her friend. be more missed, as I shall live longer to see vice
Imlac was every morning earnestly enjoined and folly." to renew his inquiries, and was asked every night “ The state of a mind oppressed with a sudwhether he had yet heard of Pekuah ; till, not den calamity,” said Imlac, * is like that of the being able to return the Princess the answer that fabulous inhabitants of the new-created earth, who, when the first night came upon them, sup- important and pressing avocation to delay the posed that day would never return. When the tribute of daily tears. She then yielded to less clouds of sorrow gather over us, we see nothing occasions; and sometimes forgot what she was beyond them, nor can imagine how they will indeed afraid to remember; and, at last, wholly be dispelled: yet a new day succeeded to the released herself from the duty of periodical af night, and sorrow is never long without a dawn fliction. of ease. But they who restrain themselves from Her real love of Pekuah was not yet diminishreceiving comfort, do as the savages would have ed. A thousand occurrences brought her back done, had they put out their eyes when it to memory, and a thousand wants, which nowas dark. Our minds, like our bodies, are in thing but the confidence of friendship can supcontinual flux ; something is hourly lost, and ply, made her frequently regretted. She, theresomething acquired. To lose much at once is fore, solicited Imlac never to desist from inquiry, inconvenient to either, but while the vital powers and to leave no art of intelligence untried, that remain uninjured, nature will find the means of at least she might have the comfort of knowing reparation. Distance has the same effect on the that she did not suffer by negligence or sluggishmind as on the eye ; and while we glide along ness. “ Yet what,” said she, “is to be expectthe stream of time, whatever we leave behind ed from our pursuit of happiness, when we find us is always lessening, and that which we ap- the state of life to be such that happiness itself proach increasing in magnitude. Do not suffer is the cause of misery? Why should we endealife to stagnate ; it will grow muddy for want vour to attain that of which the possession canof motion. Commit yourself again to the current not be secured? I shall henceforward fear to of the world ; Pekuah will vanish by degrees; yield my heart to excellence, however bright, or you will meet in your way some other favour to fondness, however tender, lest I should lose ite, or learn to diffuse yourself in general con again what I have lost in Pekuah.” versation."
" At least,” said the Prince, “ do not despair before all remedies have been tried : the inquiry
CHAP. XXXVII. after the unfortunate lady is still continued, and shall be carried on with yet greater diligence, on
The Princess hears news of Pekuah. condition that you will promise to wait a year for the event, without any unalterable resolu In seven months, one of the messengers, who tion.”
had been sent away upon the day when the proNekayah thought this a reasonable demand, mise was drawn from the Princess, returned, and made the promise to her brother, who had after many unsuccessful rambles, from the borbeen advised by Imlac to require it. Imlac had, ders of Nubia, with an account that Pekuah was indeed, no great hope of regaining Pekuah; but in the hands of an Arab chief, who possessed a he supposed, that if he could secure the inter- castle or fortress on the extremity of Egypt. The val of a year, the Princess would be then in no Arab, whose revenue was plunder, was willing danger of a cloister.
to restore her, with her two attendants, for two hundred ounces of gold.
The price was no subject of debate. The CHAP. XXXVI.
Princess was in ecstasies when she heard that
her favourite was alive, and might so cheaply Pekuah is still remembered. The Progress of be ransomed. She could not think of delaying Sorrow.
for a moment Pekuah's happiness or her own,
but entreated her brother to send back the mesNEKAYAH, seeing that nothing was omitted senger with the sum required. Imlac being confor the recovery of her favourite, and having, by sulted, was not very confident of the veracity of her promise, set her intention of retirement at a the relater, and was still more doubtful of the distance, began imperceptibly to return to com- Arab's faith, who might, if he were too liberalmon cares and common pleasures. She rejoiced ly trusted, detain at once the money and the without her own consent at the suspension of captives. He thought it dangerous to put themher sorrows, and sometimes caught herself with selves in the power of the Arab, by going into indignation in the act of turning away her mind his district; and could not expect that the rofrom the remembrance of her, whom yet she re- ver would so much expose himself as to come solved never to forget.
into the lower country, where he might be seiShe then appointed a certain hour of the day zed by the forces of the Bassa. for meditation on the merits and fondness of It is difficult to negociate where neither will Pekuah, and for some weeks retired constantly trust. But Imlac,' after some deliberation, diat the time fixed, and returned with her eyes rected the messenger to propose that Pekuah swollen and her countenance clouded. By de- should be conducted by ten horsemen to the mogrees she grew less scrupulous, and suffered any nastery of St Anthony, which is situated in the