« 上一頁繼續 »
These he piled up in a large open basket and having made choice of a very little shop, placed the basket at his feet, and leaned his back against the wall , in expectation of customers. As he sat in this posture, with his eyes upon the basket , he fell into a most amusing train of thought, and was overheard by one of the neighbours, as he talked to himself, in the following man
« This Basket , says he , costs me at » the wholesale merchant's
an hundred » drachmas, which is all I have in the » world. I shall quickly make two hundred » of it, by selling it in retail. These two » hundred drachmas will in a very little » while rise to four hundred which of » course will amount in time to four thou» sand. Four thousand drachmas cannot fail » of making eight thousand. As soon as by » this means I am master of ten thousand ,
I will lay aside my trade as a glassman, » and turn Jeweller. I shall then deal in » diamonds, pearls, and all sorts of rich » stones. When I have got together as much » wealth as I can well desire, I will make » a purchase of the finest house I can find, » with lands , slaves, eunuchs, and horses. » I shall then begin to enjoy myself, and
» make a noise in the world. I will not ; » however, stop there, but continue my » traffic till I have got together an hundred » thousand drachmas. When I have thus » made myself master of an hundred thouv sand drachmas , I shall naturally set my» self on the foot of a prince, and will de» mand the grand Visir's daughter in mar» riage , after having represented to that » minister the information which I have » received of the beauty , wit, discretion , >> and other high qualities which his daugh» ter possesses. I will let him know, at the » same time, that it is my intention to » make him a present of a thousand pieces. » of gold on our marriage day. As soon as >> I have married the grand Visir's daugh» ter, I will buy her ten black eunuchs , » the youngest and the best that can be got » for money. I must afterwards make my » father-in-law a visit with a great train » and equipage. And when I'am placed at » his right - hand, which he will do in. » course, if it be only to honour his daugh» ter, I will give him the thousand pieces
of gold, which I promised him; and af>> terwards to his great surprise, I will pre« sent him with another purse of the same
value, with some short speech; as, Sir , » you see
am a man of my word : I always « give more than I promise.
» When I have brought the princess to » my house, I shall take particular care to » breed in her a due respect for me, beforz » I give the reins to love and dalliance. To » this end I shall confine her to her own >> apartment, make her a short visit, and » talk but little to her. Her women will re» present to me, that she is inconsolable by » reason of my unkindness, and beg me » with tears to caress her, and let her sit * down by me;
but I will still remain in» exorable. Her mother will then come > and bring her daughter to me , as » I am seated on my sofa. The daughter » with tears in her eyes , will sling herself » at my feet, and beg of me to receive her » into my favour. Then will I, to imprint » in her a thorough veneration for my per» son,
her » from me with my foot in such a manner, » that she shall fall down several paces » from the sofa. »
Alnaschar was entirely swallowed up in this chimerical vision, and could not forbear acting with his foot what he had in his
thoughts : so that unluckily striking his basket of brittle ware
which the foundation of all his grandeur, he kicked his glasses to a great distance from him into the street,
and broke them into ten thousand pieces.
This is a humorous ridicule upon the foolish vanity of bailding castles in the air; and idly wasting that time , in empty flattering schemes , which might have been usefully employed in attending our proper business.
THE MOUNTAIN OF MISERIES.
It is a celebrated thought of Socrates , that if all the misfortunes of mankind were cast into a public stock, in order to be equally distributed among the whole species; those who now think themselves the most unhappy , would prefer the share they already possessed of, before that which would fall to them by such a division.
Horace has carried this thought a great deal further, which implies, that the hardships or misfortunes we lie under , are more easy to us than those of any other person would be, in case we could change condition with him.
As I was ruminating on these two remarks, and seated in my elbow chair, I insensibly fell asleep; when, on a sudden , methought, there was a proclamation made by Jupiter, that every mortal should bring in his griefs and calamities, and throw them together in a heap. There was a large plain appointed for this purpose. I took my stand in the centre of it, and saw with a great deal of pleasure the whole human species marching one after another, and throwing down their several loads, which immediately grew into a prodigious mountain, that seemed to rise above the clouds.
There was a certain lady of a thin airy shape, who was very active in this solem, nity. She carried a magnifying glass in one of her hands, and was clothed in a loose slowing robe , embroidered with several figures of fiends and spectres that discovered themselves in a thousand chimerical shapes, as her garment hovered in the wind. There