« ПредишнаНапред »
genius is surely now no more. In every region I find enemies in arms to oppress him. Avarice in Europe, jealousy in Persia, ceremony in Persia, poverty among the Tartars, and lust in Circassia, are all prepared to oppose his power. The genius is certainly banished from earth, though once adored under such a variety of forms. He is no where to be found; and all that the ladies of each country can produce, are but a few trifling relics as instances of his former residence and favour.
The genius of love, says an eastern apologue, had long resided in the happy plains of Abra, where every breeze was health, and every sound produced tranquillity. His temple at first was crouded, but every age lessened the number of his votaries, or cooled their devotion. Per. ceiving, therefore, his altars at length quite deserted, he was resolved to remove to some more propitious region; and he apprized the fair sex of every country, where he could hope for a proper reception, to assert their right to his presence among them. In return to this proclamation, embassies were sent from the ladies of every part of the world to invite him, and to display the superiority of their claims.
And first the beauties of China appeared. No country could compare with them for modesty, either of look, dress, or behaviour; their eyes were never lifted from the ground; their robes of the most beautiful silk, hid their hands, bosom, and neck, while their faces only were left uncovered. They indulged no airs that might express loose desire, and they seemed to study only the graces of inanimate beauty. Their black teeth and plucked eyebrows were, however, alledged by the genius against them. but he set them entirely aside, when he came to exa. mine their little feet.
The beauties of Circassia next made their appearance, They advanced hand in hand, singing the most immodest air, and leading up a dance in the most luxurious attitudes. Their dress was but half a covering; the neck, the left breait, and all the limbs were exposed to view, which after some time seemed rather to satiate than in. flame desire. The lily and the rose contended in form. ing their complexions; and a soft sleepiness of eye added irresistible poignancy to their charms; but their beauties were obtruded, not offered to their admirers; they seemed to give rather than receive courtship; and the genius of love dismissed them as unworthy of his regard, since they exchanged the duties of love, and themselves not the pursued, but the pursuing sex.
The kingdom of Kashmire next produced its charm. ing deputies. This happy region seemed peculiarly sequestered by nature for his abode. Shady mountains fenced it on one side from the scorching sun; the sea born breezes, on the other, gave peculiar luxuriance to the air. Their complexions were of a bright yellow, that appeared almost transparent, while the crimson tulip seem. ed to blossom on their cheeks. Their features and limbs were delicate beyond the statuary's power to express; and their teeth whiter than their own ivory. He was almost persuaded to reside among them, when un. fortunately one of the ladies talked of appointing his feraglio.
In this procession the naked inhabitants of Southern America would not be left behind; their charms were found to surpass whatever the warmest imagination could
conceive; and served to shew that beauty could be perfect, even with the seeming disadvantage of a brown complexion. · But their savage education rendered them utterly unqualified to make the proper use of their power, and they were rejected as being incapable of uniting men. tal with sensual satisfaction. In this manner the deputies of other kingdoms had their suits rejected: the black beauties of Benin, and the tawny daughters of Borneo, the women of Widn, with well scarred faces, and the hideous virgins of Cafraria; the squab ladies of Lapland, three feet high, and the giant fair ones of Patagonia.
The beauties of Europe at last appeared : grace was in their steps, and sensibility fat smiling in every eye. It was the universal opinion, while they were approaching, that they would prevail; and the genius seemed to lend them his most favourable attention. They opened their pretensions with the utmost modesty; but unfortunately, as their orator proceeded, she happened to let fall the words, house in town, settlement and pin-money. These seemingly harmless terms had instantly a surprising effect: the genius with ungovernable rage burst from amidst the circle; and waving his youthful pinions, left this earth, and flew back to those etherial mansions from whence he descended. .
The whole assembly was struck with amazement: they now justly apprehended that female power would be no more since love had forsaken them. They continued some time thus in a state of torpid despair, when it was proposed by one of the number, that since the real genius had left them, in order to continue their power, they should set up an idol in his stead; and that the ladies of every country should furnish him with what each liked best. This proposal was instantly relished and agreed to. An idol was formed by uniting the capricious gifts of all the assembly, though no way resembling the departed genius. The ladies of China furnished the monster with wings; those of Kashmire supplied him with horns ; the dames of Europe clapped a purse in his hand; and the virgins of Congo furnished him with a tail. Since that time, all the vows addressed to love are in reality paid to the idol ; but, as in other false religions, the adoration seems most fervent where the heart is least fincere. Adieu.
TO THE SAME.
TANKIND have ever been prone to expatiate in the praise of human nature. The dignity of man is a subject that has always been the favourite theme of humanity; they have declaimed with that oftentation which usually accompanies such as are sure of having a partial audience; they have obtained victories, because there were none to oppose. Yet from all I have ever read or seen, men appear more apt to err by having too high, than by having too despicable an opinion of their nature; and by attempting to exalt their original place in the creation depress their real value in society.
The most ignorant nations have always been found to think most highly of themselves. The Deity has ever been thought peculiarly concerned in their glory and preservation; to have fought their battles, and inspired
their teachers: their wizzards are said to be familiar with Heaven ; and every hero has a guard of angels as well as men to attend him. When the Portuguese first came among the wretched inhabitants of the coast of Africa, these savage nations readily allowed the strangers more skill in navigation and war; yet still considered them, at best, but as useful servants brought to their coasts by their guardian serpent, to supply them with luxuries they could have lived without. Though they could grant the Portuguese more riches, they could never al. low them to have such a king as their Tottimondelem, who wore a bracelet of shells round his neck, and whose legs were covered with ivory.
In this manner examine a savage in the history of his country and predecessors, you ever find his warriors able to conquer armies, and his fages acquainted with more than possible knowledge: human nature is to him an unknown country; he thinks it capable of great things, because he is ignorant of its boundaries; whatever can be conceived to be done, he allows to be possible, and whatever is possible, he conjectures must have been done. He never measures the actions and powers of others by what himself is able to perform, nor makes a proper estimate of the greatness of his fellows by brings ing it to the standard of his own incapacity. He is fatisfied to be one of a country where mighty things have been ; and imagines the fancied power of others reflects a lustre on himself. Thus, by degrees, he loses the idea of his own insignificance, in a confused notion of the extraordinary powers of humanity, and is willing to grant extraordinary gifts to every pretender, because unacquainted with their claims.