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THE OLD MAN AND HIS ASS.
An old man and a little boy were driving an ass to the next market to sell. What a fool is this fellow, says a man upon the road, to be trudging it on foot with his son, that his ass may go light! The old man, hearing this, set his boy upon the ass, and went whistling by the side of him. Why, sirrah! cries a second man to the boy, is it fit for you to be riding, while your poor old father is walking on foot? The father, upon this rebuke, took down his boy from the ass, and mounted himself. Do you see, says a third, how the lazy old knave rides along upon his beast, while his poor little boy is almost crippled with walking! The old man no sooner heard this, than he fook up his son behind him. Pray, honest friend, says a fourth, is that ass your own? Yes, says the man. One would not have thought so, replied the other, by your loading him so unmercifully. You and your son are better able to carry the poor beast, than he you. Any thing to please, says the owner; and alighting with his son, they tied the legs of the ass together, and by the help of a pole endeavoured to carry him upon their shoulders over the bridge that led to the town.' This was so entertaining a sight, that the people ran in crowds to laugh at it; till the ass, conceiving a dislike to the over-complaisance of his master, burst asunder the 'cords that tied him, slipped from the pole, and tumbled into the river. The poor old man made the best of his way home, ashamed and vexed, that by endeavouring to please every body, he had pleased nobody, and lost his ass into the bargain.
THE CHOICE OF HERCULES.
Wuen Hercules was in that part of his youth, in which it was natural for him to consider what course of life he
ought to pursue, he one day retired into a desert, where the
much divided in your own thoughts upon the way of life that you ought to choose : be my friend, and follow me; I will lead you into the possession of pleasure, and out of the reach of pain, and remove you from all the noise and disquietude of business. The affairs of either war or peace shall have no power to disturb you. Your whole employment shall be to make your life easy, and to entertain every sense with it's proper gratifications. Sumptuous tables, beds of roses, clouds of perfumes, concerts of music, crowds of beauties, are all in readiness to receive you. Come along with me into this region of delights, this world of pleasure, and bid farewel for ever to care, to pain, to business.
Hercules hearing the lady talk after this manner, desired to know her name; to which she answered, my friends, and those who are well acquainted with me, call me Happiness;
but my enemies, and those who would injure my reputation, have given me the name of Pleasure.
By this time the other lady was come up, who addressed herself to the young hero in a very different manner.
Hercules, says she, I offer myself to you, because I know you are descended from the Gods, and give proofs of that descent by your love to virtue, and application to the studies proper for your age. This makes me hope you will gain, both for yourself and me, an immortal reputation. But before I invite you into my society and friendship, I will be open and sincere with you, and must lay down this as an established truth, that there is nothing truly valuable, which can be purchased without pains and labour. The Gods have set a price upon every real and noble pleasure. If you would gain the favour of the Deity, you must be at the pains of worshipping him; if the friendship of good men, you must study to oblige them; if you would be honoured by your country, you must take care to serve it. In short, if you would be eminent in war or peace, you must become' master of all the qualifications that can make you so.
These are the only terms and conditions, upon which I can propose happiness. The Goddess of Pleasure here broke in upon her discourse : You see, said she, Hercules, by her own confession, the way to her pleasures is long and difficult, whereas that which I propose is short and easy. Alas! said the other lady, whose visage glowed with passion made up of scorn and pity, what are the pleasures you propose! To eat before you are hungry, drink before you are athirst, sleep before you are tired : to gratify appetites before they are raised, and raise such appetites as nature never planted. You never heard the inost delicious music, which is the praise of one's self; or saw the most beatiful object, which is the work of one's own hands. Your votaries pass away their youth in a dream of mistaken pleasures, while they are hoarding up anguish, torment, and remorse for old
age. As for me, I am the friend of Gods, and of good men, an agreeable companion to the artizan, a household guardian to the fathers of families, a patron and protector of servants, an associate of all true and generous friendships. The banquets of my votaries are never costly, but always delicious; for none eat or drink at them, who are not invited by hunger
and thirst. Their slumbers are sound, and their wakings
We know, by the life of this memorable hero, to which of these two ladies he gave up his heart; and, I believe, every one who reads this, will do him the justice to approve his choice.
In the happy period of the golden age, when all the ce-
and worm wood. From this union sprung a virgin, in whom inight be traced a strong resemblance to both
her parents ; but the sullen and unamiable features of her mother were so mixed and blended with the sweetness of her father, that her countenance, though mournful, was highly pleasing. The maids and shepherds of the neighbouring plains gathered round, and called her Pity. A red breast was observed to build in the cabin where she was born; and while she was yet an infant, a dove pursued by a hawk flew into her bosom. This nymph had a dejected appearance, but so soft and gentle a mien, that she was beloved to a degree of enthusiasın. Her voice was low and plaintive, but inexpressibly sweet; and she loved to lie for hours together on the banks of some wild and melancholy stream, singing to her lute. She taught men to weep, for she took a strange delight in tears ; and often, when the virgins of the hamlet were assembled at their evening sports, she would steal in among them, and captivate their hearts by her tales full of a charming sadness. She wore on her head a garland composed of her father's myrtles twisted with her mother's cypress.
One day as she sat musing by the waters of Helicon, her tears by chance fell into the fountain ; and ever since the Muses' spring has retained a strong taste of the infusion. Pity was commanded by Jupiter to follow the steps of her mother through the world, dropping balm into the wounds she made, and binding up the hearts she had broken. She follows with her hair loose, her bosom bare and throbbing, ber garments torn by the briers, and her feet bleeding with the roughness of the path. The nymph is mortal, for her mother is so; and when she has filled her destined course upon the earth, they sball both expire together, and Love be again united to Joy, his immortal and long-betrothed bride.
THE DEAD ASS.
And this, said he, putting the remains of a crust into his wallet-and this should have been thy portion, said he, hadst thou been alive to have shared it with me. I thought,