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others. I waited for the time when the gate of the bappy valley should open, that I might bid farewell to hope and fear: the day came; my performance was distinguished with favour, and I refigned myself with joy to perpetual confinement.”
“ Hast thou here found happiness at last ? said Rasselas. Tell me without reserve; art thou content with thy condition? or, doft thou wish to be again wandering and enquiring? All the inhabitants of this valley celebrate their lot, and at the annual visit of the emperour, invite others to partake of their felicity."
“ Great prince, said Imlac, I shall speak the truth; I know not one of all your attendants who does not lament the hour when he entered this retreat. I am less unhappy than the rest, because I have a mind replete with images, which I can vary and combine at pleasure. I can amuse my solitude by the renovation of the knowledge which begins to fade from my memory, and by recollection of the accidents of my past life. Yet all this ends in the sorrowful consideration, that my acquirements are now useless, and that none of my pleasures can be again enjoyed. The rest, whose minds have no impression but of the present moment, are either corroded by malignant passions, or fit ftupid in the gloom of perpetual vacancy.'
“What passions can infest those, said the prince, who have no rivals? We are in a place where impocence precludes malice, and where all envy is repressed by community of enjoyments.”
“ There may be community, said Imlac, of material possessions, but there can never be com
munity of love or of esteem. It must happen that one will please more than another; he that knows himself despised will always be envious; and still more envious and malevolent, if he is condemned to live in the presence of those who despise him. The invitations, by which they allure others to a ftate which they feel to be wretched, proceed from the natural malignity of hopeless misery. They are weary of themselves, and of each other, and expect to find relief in new companions. They envy the liberty which their folly has forfeited, and would gladly see all mankind imprisoned like themselves.
“From this crime, however, I am wholly free. No man can say that he is wretched by my persuafon. I look with pity on the crowds who are annually foliciting admission to captivity, and with that it were lantul for me to warn them of their danger.”
“ My d«ar Imiac, said the prince, I will open to chce ny whole heart. I have long meditated an ccape from the happy valley. I have examined Lie mountains on every side, but find myself insuperably barred: teaci me the way to break my prition; thou shalt be the companion of my light, the guide of my rambles, the partner of my fortune, and my sole director in the choice of life.''
“Sir, answered the poet, your escape will be difficult, ani), perhaps, you may soon repent your curiesity. The world, which you figure to yourself finouch and quiet as the lake in the valley, you will find a sea foaming with tempefts, and boiling with whirlpools: you will be sometimes overwhelined by the waves of violence, and sometimes dashed
against the rocks of treachery. Amidst wrongs and frauds, competitions and anxieties, you will with a thousand times for these seats of quiet, and willingly quit hope to be free from fear.”
“Do not seek to deter me from my purpose, said the prince: I am impatient to see what thou haft seen; and, since thou art thyself weary of the valley, it is evident, that thy former state was better than this. Whatever be the consequence of my experiment, I am resolved to judge with mine own eyes of the various conditions of men, and then to make deliberately my choice of life.”
“ I am afraid, said Imlac, you are hindered by stronger restraints than my persuasions ; yet,
your determination is fixed, I do not counsel you to despair. Few things are impossible to diligence and skill.”
CH A P. XIII,
RASSELAS DISCOVERS THE MEANS OF ESCAPE,
The prince now dismissed his favourite to rest,
but the narrative of wonders and novelties filled his mind with perturbation. He revolved all that he had heard, and prepared innumerable questions for the morning.
Much of his uneasiness was now removed. He had a friend to whom he could impart his thoughts, and whose experience could assist him in his des figns. His heart was no longer condemned to (well with filent vexation. He thought that even the bappy valley might be endured with such a com
panion, and that if they could range the world together, he should have nothing further to defire.
In a few days the water was discharged, and the ground dried. The prince and Imlac then walked out together to converse without the notice of the rest. The prince, whose thoughts were always on the wing, as he passed by the gate, faid, with 2 countenance of sorrow, Why art thou so strong, and why is man so weak?"
“ Man is not weak, answered his companion ; knowledge is more than equivalent to force. The master of mechanicks laughs at strength. I can burit the gate, but cannot do it fecretly. Some other expedient must be tried.”
As they were walking on the side of the mountain, they observed that the conies, which the rain had driven from their burrows, had taken shelter among the bushes, and formed holes behind them, tending upwards in an oblique line. “It has been the opinion of antiquity, said Imlac, that human reason borrowed many arts from the instinct of ani. mals; let us, therefore, not think ourselves de. graded by learning from the coney. We may escape by piercing the mountain in the same direction. We will begin where the summit hangs over the middle part, and labour upward till we shall ifiue up beyond the prominence.”
The eyes of the prince, when he heard this proposal, sparkled with joy. The execution was easy, and the success certain.
No time was now loft. They haftened early in the morning to chuse a place proper for their mine. They clanbered with great fatigue among crags
and brambles, and returned without having difcovered any part that favoured their design. The second and the third day were spent in the same manner and with the same frustration. But, on the fourth, they found a small cavern, concealed by a thicket, where they resolved to make their experiment.
Imlac procured instruments proper to hew stone and remove earth, and they fell to their work on the next day with more eagerness than vigour. They were presently exhausted by their efforts, and fat down to pant upon the grass. The prince, for a moment, appeared to be discouraged. “Sir, said his companion, practice will enable us to continue our labour for a longer time; mark, however, how far we have advanced, and you will find that our toil will some time have an end. Great works are performed, not by strength, but perseverance : yonder palace was raised by single stones, yet you see its height and spaciousness. He that shall walk with vigour three hours a day, will pass in seven years a space equal to the circumference of the globe.”
They returned to their work day after day, and, in a short time, found a fissure in the rock, which enabled them to pass far with very little obstruction. This Raffelas considered as a good omen. « Do not disturb your mind, said Imlac, with other hopes or fears than reason may fuggeft: if you are pleased with prognosticks of good, you will be terrified likewise with tokens of evil, and your whole life will be a prey to superftition. Whatever facilitates our work is more than an omen, it is a cause of fuccess. This is one of those pleasing surprises which often