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tion which my studies have enabled me to afford. To live according to nature, is to act always with due regard to the fitness arising from the relations and qualities of causes and effects; to concur with the great and unchangeable scheme of universal felicity: to cooperate with the general disposition and tendency of the present system of things."
The prince soon found that this was one of the sages whom he should understand less as he heard him longer. He therefore bowed and was silent, and the philosopher, supposing him satisfied, and the rest
vanquished, rose up and departed with the air of a · man that had co-operated with the present system.
The Prince and his sister divide between them the Work
RASSELAS returned home full of reflections, doubting how to direct his future steps. Of the way to happiness he found the learned and simple equally ignorant; but, as he was yet young, he flattered himself that he had time remaining for more experiments, and farther inquiries.
He communicated to Imlac his observations and his doubts, and remarked that he gave him no comfort. He therefore discoursed more frequent
ly and freely with his sister, who had yet the same hope with himself, and always assisted him to give some reason why, though he had been hitherto frustrated, he might succeed at last.
“ We have hitherto,” said she, “known but little of the world; we have never yet been either great or mean. In our own country, though we had royalty, we had no power, and in this we have not yet seen the private recesses of domestic peace. Imlac favours not our search, lest we should in time find him mistaken. We will divide the task between us : you shall try what is to be found in the splendour of courts, and I will range the shades of humbler life. Perhaps command and authority may be the supreme blessings, as they afford the most opportunities of doing good: or, perhaps, what this world can give may be fonnd in the modest habitations of middle fortune: too low for great designs, and too high for penury and distress.”
The Prince examines the happiness of high stations.
RASSELAs applauded the design, and appeared next day with a splendid retinue at the court of the Bassa. He was soon distinguished for his magnificence, and
admitted, as a prince whose curiosity had brought him from distant countries, to an intimacy with the great officers, and frequent conversation with the Bassa himself.
He was at first inclined to believe, that the man must be pleased with his own condition, whom all approached with reverence, and heard with obedience, and who had the power to extend his edicts to a whole kingdom-“ There can be no pleasure,” said he,
equal to that of feeling at once the joy of thousands all made happy by wise administration. Yet, since, by the law of subordination, this sublime delight can be in one nation but the lot of one, it is surely reasonable to think that there is some satisfaction more popular and accessible, and that millions can hardly be subjected to the will of a single man, only to fill his particular breast with incommunicable content.”
These thoughts were often in his mind, and he found no solution of the difficulty. But as presents and civilities gained him more familiarity, he found that almost every one who stood high in employment hated all the rest, and was hated by them, and that their lives were a continual succession of plots and detections, stratagems and escapes, faction and treachery. Many of those who surrounded the Bassa were sent only to watch and report his conduct; every tongue was muttering censure, and every eye was searching for a fault.
At last the letters of revocation arrived, the Bassa was carried in chains to Constantinople, and his name was mentioned no more.
" What are we now to think of the prerogatives of power,” said Rasselas to his sister :“ is it without any efficacy to good? or, is the subordinate degree only dangerous, and the supreme safe and glorious? Is the Sultan the only happy man in his dominions? or, is the Sultan himself subject to the torments of suspicion, and the dread of enemies?”
In a short time the second Bassa was deposed. The Sultan that had advanced him was murdered by the Janizaries, and his successor had other views or different favourites.
The Princess pursues her inquiry with more diligence
find its way.
The Princess, in the mean time, insinuated herself into many families : for there are few doors through which liberality, joined with good-humour, cannot
The daughters of many houses were airy and cheerful, but Nekayah had been too long accustomed to the conversation of Imlac and her brother, to be much pleased with childish levity and prattle which had no meaning. She found their thoughts narrów, their wishes low, and their merriment often arti. ficial. Their pleasures, poor as they were, could not
be preserved pure, but were imbittered by petty competitions and worthless emulation. They were always jealous of the beauty of each other; of a quality to which solicitude can add nothing, and from which detraction can take nothing away. Many were in love with triflers like themselves, and many fancied that they were in love when in truth they were only idle. Their affection was not fixed on sense or virtue, and therefore seldom ended but in vexation. Their greif, however, like their joy, was transient; every thing floated in their mind unconnected with the past or future, so that one desire easily gave way to another, as a second stone, cast into the water, effaces and confounds the circles of the first.
With these girls she played as with inoffensive ani. mals, and found them proud of her countenance, and weary of her company.
But her purpose was to examine more deeply, and her affability easily persuaded the hearts that were swelling with sorrow to discharge their secrets in her ear; and those whom hope flattered, or prosperity delighted, often courted her to partake their plea
The Princess and her brother commonly met in the evening in a private summer-house on the banks of , the Nile, and related to each other the occurrences of the day. As they were sitting together, the Princess cast her eyes upon the river that flowed before her. Answer,”
,” said she," great father of waters, thou that rollest thy floods through eighty nations, to the invocations of the daughter of thy native king, tell me