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tude: it is not retreat, but exclusion from mankind. Marriage has many pains, but celibacy has no pleasures.”
" What then is to be done? said Raffelas; the more we enquire, the less we can resolve. Surely he is most likely to please himself that has no other inclination to regard.”
Hi e conversation had a short pause. The prince,
having considered his sister's observations, told her, that she had surveyed life with prejudice, and supposed misery where she did not find it.
" Your narrative, says he, throws yet a darker gloom upon the prospects of futurity: the predictions of Iilac were but faint sketches of the evils painted by Nekayah. I have been lately convinced that quiet is not the daughter of grandeur, or of power : that her presence is not to be bought by wealth, nor enforced by conquest. It is evident, that as any man acts in a wider compass, he must be more exposed to opposition from enmity or miscarriage from chance; whoever has many to please or to govern, must use the ministry of many agents, some of whoin will be wicked, and some ignorant; by some he will be miled, and by others betrayed. If he gratiñes one he will offend another: those that are not favoured will think themselves injured ; and, fince favours can be conferred but upon few, the greater number will be always discontented.”
« The discontent, said the princess, which is thus unreasonable, I hope that I shall always have spirit to despise, and you, power to repress.”
“ Discontent, answered Rasselas, will not always be without reason under the most just and vigilant administration of publick affairs. None, however attentive, can always discover that merit which indigence or faction may happen to obscure; and none, however powerful, can always reward it. Yet, he that fees inferiour desert advanced above him, will naturally impute that preference to partiality or caprice; and, indeed, it can scarcely be hoped that any man, however magnanimous by nature, or exalted by condition, will be able to perlift for ever in the fixed and inexorable justice of distribution: he will sometimes indulge his own affections, and sometimes those of his favourites; he will permit some to please him who can never serve him; he will discover in those whom he loves, qualities which in reality they do not possess; and to those, from whom he receives pleasure, he will in his turn endeavour to give it. Thus will recommendations fometimes prevail which were purchased by money, or by the more destructive bribery of flattery and servility.
“ He that has much to do will do something wrong, and of that wrong must suffer the confequences; and, if it were possible that he should always act rightly, yet when such numbers are to judge of his conduct, the bad will censure and obstruct him by malevolence, and the good sometimes by mistake.
“ The highest stations cannot therefore hope to be the abodes of happiness, which I would willingly believe to have fled from thrones and palaces to seats of humble privacy and placid obscurity. For what can hinder the satisfaction, or intercept the expe&tations, of him whose abilities are adequate to his employments, who fees with his own eyes the whole circuit of his influence, who chooses by his own knowledge all whom he trusts, and whoin none are tempted to deceive by hope or fear? Surely he has nothing to do but to love and to be loved, to be virtuous and to be happy.”
" Whether perfect happiness would be procured by perfect goodness, said Nekayah, this world will never afford an opportunity of deciding. But this, at least, may be maintained, that we do not always find visible happiness in proportion to visible virtue. All natural, and almost all political evils, are incident alike to the bad and good: they are confounded in the misery of a famine, and not much distinguiihed in the fury of a faction; they sink together in a tempeít, and are driven together from their country by invaders. All that virtue can afford is quietneis of conicience, a feady prospect of a happier state; this may enable us to endure calamity with patience; but remember that patience mult fuppofe pain.”
CH A P. XXVIII.
RASSELAS AND NEKAYAH CONTINUE THEIR CON
EAR princess, said Rasselas, you fall into
the common errours of exaggeratory declamation, by producing, in a familiar disquisition, examples of national calamities, and scenes of extensive misery, which are found in books rather than in the world, and which, as they are horrid, are ordained to be rare. Let us not imagine evils which we do not feel, nor injure life by misrepresentations. I cannot bear that querulous eloquence which threatens every city with a siege like that of Jerusalem, that makes famine attend on every fight of locusts, and suspends peftilence on the wing of every blast that issues from the south.
“On necessary and inevitable evils, which overwhelin kingdoms at once, all disputation is vain : when they happen they must be endured. But it is evident, that these bursts of universal distress are more dreaded than felt; thousands and ten thousands flourish in youth, and wither in age, without the knowledge of any other than domestick evils, and share the same pleasures and vexations, whether their kings are mild or cruel, whether the armies of their country persue their enemies, or retreat before them. While courts are disturbed with inteftine competitions, and ambassadors are negociating in foreign countries, the smith still plies his anvil, and the husbandman drives his plow forward; the necessaries of life are required and ob.
tained; and the successive business of the seasons continues to make its wonted revolutions.
« Let us cease to consider what, perhaps, may never happen, and what, when it shall happen, will laugh at human speculation. We will not endeavour to modify the motions of the elements, or to fix the destiny of kingdoms. It is our business to consider what beings like us may perform; each labouring for his own happiness, by promoting within his circle, however narrow, the happiness of others.
“ Marriage is evidently the dictate of nature; men and women are made to be companions of each other, and therefore I cannot be persuaded but that marriage is one of the means of happiness.”
“I know not, said the princess, whether marriage be more than one of the innumerable modes of human misery. When I see and reckon the various forms of connubial infelicity, the unexpected causes of lasting discord, the diversities of temper, the oppositions of opinion, the rude collisions of contrary desire where both are urged by violent impulses, the obftinate contests of disagreeable virtues, where both are supported by consciousness of good intention, I am sometimes dispoled to think with the leverer casuists of most nations, that marriage is rather permitted than approved, and that none, but by the instigation of a passion too much indulged, entangle themselves with indisoluble compacts.”
“ You seem to forget, replied Rasselas, that you have, even now, represented celibacy as less happy than marriage. Both conditions may be bad, but they cannot both be worst. Thus it happens when