Fables by Edward Baldwin: Volume II

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FABLES
ANCIENT AND MODERN.
ADAPTED FOR THE USE OF CHILDREN.
BY EDWARD BALDWIN, ESQ.
SECOND EDITION.
Vol. II.
ADORNED WITH THIRTY-SEVEN COPPER-PLATES.

Published by Tho.s Hodgkins. Hanway Street, Oct.r 6. th 1805.

LONDON: PRINTED FOR THOMAS HODGKINS,
AT THE JUVENILE LIBRARY, HANWAY STREET (OPPOSITE
SOHO SQUARE), OXFORD STREET; AND TO BE HAD
OF ALL BOOKSELLERS.

____________

Printed by B. McMillan,
Bow-Street, Covent-Garden.

Books Published at No. 41, Skinner Street.  [1] 

III.

1.        In one Vol. 12mo, with 32 Heads of the Kings, and a striking Representation of an Ancient Tournament, Price 4s.: or in one Vol. 18mo, with 8 Heads of the Kings, Price 2s. 6d.

THE HISTORY OF ENGLAND.
For the Use of Schools and Young Persons.
By EDWARD BALDWIN, Esq.

2.         "This volume does great credit to the pen of Mr. Baldwin. The style is familiar and playful; and we heartily recommend the work, as well calculated to please and instruct young persons, without fatiguing their attention, or confusing their memory."

Literary Journal for July 1806. [2] 

3.         "We much approved of this author's Fables, and recommended them accordingly. This is also a very suitable book for children; and we particularly like the short characters of the Kings of England, which introduce the work itself." British Critic for July 1806. [3] 

4.         "In this work there is no want either of ability or information; and the bias of the writer is of that sort with which we should least quarrel, since it is in favour of the rights of the subject."

Monthly Review for October 1806. [4] 

IV.

5.        In one Vol. 12mo, with Engravings of the Principal Gods, chiefly taken from the Remains of Ancient Statuary, Price 6s.

THE PANTHEON: OR ANCIENT HISTORY OF THE
GODS OF GREECE AND ROME.
For the Use of Schools and Young Persons of both Sexes.
By EDWARD BALDWIN, Esq.

6.         "There can be no difficulty in pronouncing, that the present work will be found a very convenient as well as agreeable manual, for introducing younger readers to a knowledge of Ancient Mythology, and it seems in all respects a proper book for the use of Schools. It is dedicated, with great propriety, to Dr. Raine, the School-master of the Charter-house, by one of whose predecessors the book commonly known by the name of Tooke's Pantheon, a book still in use, but which is in many ways objectionable, was published about a hundred years ago."

British Critic for April 1807. [5] 

Books published at No. 41, Skinner Street.

V.

7.        In two Vols. 12mo, with 20 Copper-plates, Price 8s. in extra Boards,

TALES FROM SHAKSPEAR.
Designed for the Use of Young Persons.
By CHARLES LAMB.

8.         "We have compared these little volumes with the numerous systems which have been devised for riveting attention at an early age, and conquering the distaste for knowledge and learning which so frequently opposes itself to the instructor of children; and we do not scruple to say, that unless perhaps we except Robinson Crusoe, they claim the very first place, and stand unique, without rival or competitor. We should be at a loss to find any character more perfect than that which has been formed in such a school. Hence the child will be instructed in the usage of terms the most simple, vigorous and expressive; and his mind, stored with the images and words of our greatest poet, will turn with disgust from the sordid trash with which youthful minds are usually contaminated."

Critical Review for May 1807. [6] 

9.        N.B. A specimen of these Tales is just published in six single Numbers, each Number being adorned with three Plates, beautifully coloured, Price Sixpence. The remainder will speedily follow.

IN THE PRESS,
And will be Published before Christmas 1807, [7] 

10.        1. THE ADVENTURES OF ULYSSES, King of Ithaca.

By Charles Lamb.

11.        2. RURAL WALKS; Being an Attempt to Embody the First Impressions of Religion, for the Use of Children.

By Peregrine Brett.

12.        3. THE STORIES OF OLD DANIEL: Or Tales of Wonder and Delight. [8] 

13.        4. DRAMAS FOR CHILDREN. From the French of L.F. Jauffret. [9] 

14.        And several other Instructive and Entertaining Works.

THE LION AND THE MAN.

William Mulready, "The Lion and the Man" [10]  from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

15.         You have been told before that a lion is a generous creature. [11]  He is a fierce fellow; but, as he is strong, so I have heard he is kind and merciful.

16.        A lion and a gentleman happened to fall into company with each other, and, as they were going the same way, they agreed to travel together. Among other conversation to make them forget the weariness of the road, they began to dispute which of the two was the nobler animal.

17.        Said the lion, Of all four-footed beasts I am acknowledged the king. See what a beautiful coat I have; observe the length and majestical appearance of my mane; as to my claws, I dare say you will acknowledge their terrors, without its being necessary that I should make you feel them. All these cost me nothing; I am not obliged to take the wool of the sheep, or the skin of the calf, to make me a covering. Observe on the other hand how naked and two-legged a creature you would be without those artificial coverings. You pretend sometimes to cope with the lion; but then you do not depend upon your own strength or swiftness; you get upon the back of a horse, and arm yourself with a spear and a shield. The consequence of all this is, I am a free creature, and you a slave. I go where I please, and give an account to nobody; but you work hard for your living, and, if at any time you have no money in your pocket, you are afraid of being starved with hunger and cold. [12] 

18.        Said the man to the lion, you must not pretend to compare with me. You are a poor ignorant creature, that can neither read nor write. Remember what fine books men have composed: we can sing and dance, and paint, and act pantomimes: we can make all sorts of machines and instruments: it was a man that made the speeches of Demosthenes, and the plays of Shakespear. The works of human ingenuity cover the earth. Look at our parks, and palaces, and castles, and bridges, and cities. When a lion is dead, he is remembered no more; but Homer and Alexander and Cicero have immortalized themselves by what they performed, or what they wrote. Though they have been dead two or three thousand years, they are still fresh in every one's thoughts.

19.        As the travellers went on, each a good deal warmed with the debate, they happened to come to a public place in the road, where was erected a very fine statue of Hercules, hugging the Nemean lion to death; the terrible creature was just falling lifeless from his arms. [13]  There, there! said the man exulting in triumph, you pretended that a man could not conquer a lion without a spear and a shield; see there one of my species with naked strength subduing one of yours.

20.        Remember, said the lion, that story belongs to the fabulous age, where every page is filled with impossibilities. The victory upon which you are thoughtless enough to pride yourself, belongs not to Hercules, but to the statuary. If we lions were the sculptors we should represent, with more truth, not the man subduing the lion, but the lion subduing the man.

21.        The man saw that he was wrong in this instance. Still however he adhered to his opinion; and the very circumstance that all the sculptors were men, and none of them lions, confirmed him in his sentiment.

THE FOX AND THE MASK.

William Mulready, "The Fox and the Mask"[*] from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

22.         I will tell you now a very short fable, but a very clever one.

23.        A fox once went into a haberdasher's shop. On the ground was lying a very handsome mask, made to be worn by some actor when he played a hero. The masks of the ancients, to whose times this fable belongs, covered the whole head, like a helmet, and no actor ever played without one. It was a strange custom, as by this means we could not see the face of the player, and, whether it was his business to laugh or cry, the mask looked always the same. [14] 

24.        The fox is a sagacious, prying fellow. He turned the mask over and over. He looked at the outside, and looked at the in. The outside was quite sleek and complete; the inside was hollow. What a fine head is here! said the fox: what a pity it is there are no brains!

25.        There are some pretty boys and girls so improperly brought up, that they think of nothing but their beauty, refuse to learn every thing, and turn out coxcombs and flirts. A man might lay his hand upon the head of one of these, and say, as the fox did: What a fine head is here! What a pity it is there are no brains! [15] 

THE LEAP IN RHODES.

William Mulready, "The Leap in Rhodes" from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

26.         A traveller, who had been absent from home several years, and had seen a great many countries, amused his old friends when he returned, with a multitude of stories of the wonderful things he had seen. They were at first exceedingly pleased with his conversation. Whenever he told any thing about himself, it happened somehow or other, that he had done the most extraordinary things of any body he had occasion to speak of. They began to think that he was a wonderful fellow.

27.        But this despicable traveller betrayed himself. He allowed himself to shoot with the long bow. I dare say, by the way, that the proverb arose from some traveller, as naughty as the man I am talking of, who pretended that he had shot with the long bow further than all the world beside.

28.        Well; this travelled gentleman thought in his own mind, My friends here are mere cocknies; [16]  they never saw any thing that I describe; and, if I represent things as more extraordinary than they are, they will not find me out. So he began to tell fibs; and when he once did that, he set less and less guard upon himself, till every body was ready to stare. They thought with themselves, How comes it that this man, who never did any thing wonderful at home, should have been the completest and cleverest man in all the countries that he visited?

29.        One day he said he would treat his friends with an account of his adventures in the island of Rhodes. He described to them the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the seven wonders of the world, that had its two feet on the two moles of the harbour, [17]  so that ships in full sail could pass between its legs: it had a winding stair-case within, by which you could climb up to the chamber of the head, and look out at the windows of the eyes; and few men were so tall, that they could make their two arms meet round the thickness of its thumb. I do not know that the traveller told any fibs about the Colossus; it was not easy to make it in description more extraordinary than it was in reality. [18] 

30.        The traveller observed that the Rhodians particularly excelled in leaping: no nation in the world could leap like them. There were two persons principally in Rhodes, when he came, that could beat the rest: but he determined to try; and in his first attempt he found he could outleap them both. I believe he said that he had leaped forty yards on level ground.

31.        A grave old gentleman who was sitting by, turned up his nose with a sneer, and said, Now I like this story better than any that you have told us before. You must know that there are some young fellows in our town, who are impertinent enough to doubt of the truth of your stories. But you shall convince them in this instance, and I will insist upon their believing all the rest. There are no spring-boards, I suppose, in Rhodes; indeed you told us your leap was performed on common ground. I will therefore measure out the length for you, and you shall exhibit the same leap here that you did in Rhodes.

32.        The traveller was confounded at this proposal; and before the words were well uttered, slunk out of the company. I suppose he set out again upon his travels; till he did so, he was pointed at by the town's people whenever he appeared in the streets, and he could hear them say, There goes the man that performed the wonderful leap in Rhodes!

THE COCK AND THE PRECIOUS STONE.

William Mulready, "The Cock and the Precious Stone" from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

33.         A cock in a farm-yard has a particular pleasure in perching himself upon the dunghill. From this circumstance one sort of cock is called a dunghill-cock, to distinguish him from another sort of a prouder and more courageous temper, which is called a game-cock. [19]  The dunghill-cock however is not destitute of pride; and, though he would run away if attacked by a game-cock, he thinks himself of no little importance when he is surrounded only by hens and chickens. Thus I have seen an ill-tempered, overgrown school-boy crow over the little ones, give one a cuff, and another a box, and keep them all in terror, who, if he met with his match, would have soon shown what a dastard he was, and that the place where he was most properly at home, would be upon a dunghill.

34.        I ought not however to compare the cock of the straw-yard to such a boy; for, though he has not courage enough to face all sort of dangers, I believe he is seldom known to be ill-natured and tyrannical. All cocks however are fond of chuckling and crowing, and making a great splutter as if they were the bravest fellows in the world.

35.        The cock I am speaking of, was just come away from his roost as soon as the morning broke, and had mounted upon his favourite dunghill. The first thing he did was to clear his pipes, and set up a loud, shrill, vigorous crow, to bid welcome to the sun. It was a bright, lively morning, a little inclined to frost, which sharpened the poor gentleman's appetite, and made him recollect that he wanted something for his breakfast. He next therefore began scratching with his claw upon the top of the dunghill. Among the bits of straw, and other refuse of the barn and the stable, which are usually thrown upon the dunghill, it was often his chance to find a few scattered grains of corn, and corn is the proper, favourite food of a barn-door fowl. [20] 

36.        He scratched and scratched again. He did not find a single corn, but, as he scratched with might and main, by and by he turned up a precious stone. It sparkled and was a very pretty one; but the cock looked at it with dissatisfaction and disappointment. If a jeweller had found you, said he, he would have been in ecstacy with his prize: for my part I should prefer one grain of barley to all the precious stones in the world.

37.        Now, thinking of this fable, I must say that, when I have looked at a diamond, a topaz, or an onyx, and been told that it was worth a hundred, or a thousand, pounds, I could not help considering what a whimsical sort of a creature man is. A bit of Derbyshire spar is quite as beautiful; [21]  a rose is a thousand times more so; and I have seen artificial flowers, that would form an infinitely more agreeable ornament for a lady's head, than a row of stones that was valued at a mint of money. But, when men have taken it into their heads to desire such things, then the price must be settled by the trouble it takes to dig them out of the earth, to bring them from the other side of the world, to cut and polish them, and to chase them in gold or silver. The people who do these things must be paid for their time, and for their skill in those parts of the process which require a nicety that few can arrive at. It is to this that the high price of a diamond is owing.

38.        How happy are children, and the inhabitants of certain nations where no people are rich, that they can live without a continual anxiety about jewels and wealth! What ease and lightness of heart does he enjoy, who is as ignorant about these artificial matters as this cock, and can say, I had rather have a grain of barley, or a morsel of wholesome bread, than all the precious stones in the world! [22] 

39.        The cock of my fable had scarcely finished "his meditations upon a precious stone," when the farmer's wife came out with a handful of barley, and gave the poor fellow the very breakfast he wanted, as much as he could eat.

THE MOUNTAIN IN LABOUR.

William Mulready, "The Mountain in Labour" from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

40.         Did you ever see a mountain? It is a grand and noble sight. Some mountains are three miles in perpendicular height, and the path is nine miles long by which you climb up the side of them. The sky seems to rest itself and to be supported upon the top. The sides are irregular; in some places perpendicular for a considerable way, so that you must make a great circuit before you can get any higher: in other places there are wide, black-looking chasms, so deep that nobody knows the bottom of them. In some places again, you can only climb upon your hands and knees, catching hold of the shrubs and tufts of grass you find in your way. In ascending high mountains you pass through the clouds, which are seldom so much as a mile above the plains; and then you may sometimes stand in a clear sunshine, and see the rain pouring down in torrents upon the meadows beneath. On the tops of mountains the air is always very cold. High mountains are capped with snow all the year; and, in crossing the Alps, the mountains which divide France from Italy, you are set astride upon a mule, a species of animal more sure-footed than a horse; and in descending over sheets of snow, you place yourself in a sledge, and sometimes slide down almost a mile in a minute. There are some mountains, which are called volcanic, particularly mount Etna, and mount Vesuvius, which have a fire for ever burning within them, that sometimes blazes out at the top, and throws up a red-hot substance, almost like a metal, which, wherever it falls, destroys every thing it finds in its passage. Previously to the eruptions of this metal, you may hear a terrible noise in the inside of the mountain; it rumbles and roars, with a noise grander and more deafening than thunder.

41.        I suppose it was either at mount Etna or mount Vesuvius, that the thing happened I am going to tell you of. A loud and long noise was heard in the inside of the mountain, and the neighbours, greatly alarmed, were all assembled at the foot of it, to watch what would happen. They said one to the other, What a ruinous eruption took place only five years ago! The noise is now more fearful than it was then; we shall have our corn and our cattle destroyed; and all our houses laid in ashes!

42.        The groans of the mountain were very distressing; it seemed to bellow (if I may compare a great thing with a little one) like a mad bull. Then every thing was silent for a few minutes; and then it began again. While all the people were looking on with painful expectation, presently out crept a mouse, from his hole in the mountain, just below them. Look, said one, our lady-mountain has been terribly ill; and see, if she is not brought to bed of a mouse! [23] 

43.        This is a comical fable; but the meaning of it is, to ridicule large promises and small performances, and to say that, if any one boasts and brags of what he is going to do, and then does something not at all equal to what he had made you expect, he makes as silly a figure, as the mountain in labour, that was brought to bed of a mouse.

44.        As to the people who lived at the foot of Mount Etna, finding that the mountain now became very quiet, they excused their disappointment, and were exceedingly glad, after all the fright they had suffered, to see no enemy march out against them but a mouse.

THE OAK AND THE REED.

William Mulready, "The Oak and the Reed" from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

45.         An oak  [24]  is the king of trees, as a lion is the king of beasts. It is said to be a hundred years before it grows to its full size, and the life of an oak endures for centuries. It is a vast and a noble creature; and one cannot look on the solidity of its trunk and the free lines in which it flings out its gigantic branches, without admiration.

46.        Strong and noble creatures are too apt to be proud, and in their pride, they forget that they are subject to the accidents which beset all earthly things. The oak I am going to tell you of, was full of this foolish pride. He thought of his own strength, and looked with disdain upon every thing round him; he calculated that his roots struck as deep into the earth beneath, as his branches stretched into the air above him.

47.        Among the other neighbours that were accustomed to his sneers, grew a humble reed that he laughed at more than the rest. You poor creature, said he, why do you grow so near my majestic presence? I really pity you from my heart. I know you must be terribly out of countenance, whenever you think of me. Every ass that comes by is in danger of trampling you to pieces. Every wind that blows lays you level with the ground. Poor creature! repeated the oak; not a day passes, that you can say your life is your own.

48.        May it please your majesty, said the reed to the monarch oak, I am quite contented with my humble situation. Nature has planted me in an obscure nook, where not even the asses come. When the wind blows, I suffer its fury to pass over me; I never lose my courage and tranquillity of mind; and, when the storm subsides, I lift my head in as much health, and as little broken down by what has happened, as ever. Might I give my opinion, said the reed, I should think, sir, that your station is much more dangerous than mine.

49.        My station dangerous! rejoiced the oak. You fool, you do not know what you are talking of! My strength is unconquerable, and I can safely defy the rage of the tempests.

50.        It seemed as if the invisible master of us all had heard the insolent brags of the oak. Scarcely a minute elapsed, before a violent storm began to blow. It grew louder and louder; the element roared like the roaring of a lion. The reed was bent to the ground with the first blast. By and by willows and hawthorns were torn up by the roots. At last the oak itself, ponderous and immoveable as it seemed, was rent away from its place, and laid prostrate on the plain. In the mean time, the reed had suffered no injury, but what was entirely over, as soon as the sky cleared, and the weather grew calm.

51.        This fable is intended to show, how much safer the situation of a peasant is, than that of a king. When the world is agitated with revolutions, kings may lose their thrones, their wealth, and sometimes their lives. In the mean time the peasant, that lived not far from the palace-gate, continues undisturbed, and perhaps scarcely knows the name of the monarch who was led away to a prison, or of the despot-usurper who succeeded him. [25] 

THE FOX WITHOUT A TAIL.

William Mulready, "The Fox Without a Tail" from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

52.         The fox is in several parts of England dreaded as the most formidable enemy of the farm-yard. The farmer is at a great expence of money and trouble, to hatch and rear his ducks and fowls and turkies and geese: [26]  no wonder therefore that he employs every means in his power to preserve them from being destroyed by the foxes. One of these methods is to put up traps, in which the unfortunate animal is caught, and held by the leg, or some part of his body, till the farmer comes and kills him.

53.        It happened one day that a fox, being very hungry, came prowling into a farm-yard, and unawares fell in with a trap. I do not know whether the farmer will forgive me, but I cannot help hoping that he got his breakfast first; for it would be too bad, to be caught in a trap, and to be famished with hunger, at the same time. He was caught in so strange a way, that the trap just cut off his tail, without doing him any further harm. I dare say the pain was considerable; but the fox did not so much mind the smart, as he was sorry for the loss he experienced. A fox has a fine bushy tail, as long as his whole body from his shoulder to his rump; and I do not know how it happens, but almost all animals that we are acquainted with, are proud of that feature which is most distinguishing and beautiful about them. The cat is careful of her smooth and delicate fur; the horse tosses his flowing mane; the turtle-dove winds her glossy neck in the manner best calculated to display its elegant form and colouring; and the peacock struts, displaying her tail with a hundred eyes. [27]  There was another circumstance which increased the fox's sorrow; animals are very apt to drive out of their company any creature of the same kind, that has met with misfortune, and is maimed or imperfect in any of its parts. This is very naughty of such animals; but, poor creatures! they have never been taught better. The fox I am telling of was sadly distressed when he thought of these things, and, in the anguish of his feelings, wished he had been caught by the neck and killed outright, rather than have lost his tail.

54.        He sneaked back to his hole as fast as he could, and did not venture out in the fields for some days. At length he sent his wife to all the foxes of the neighbourhood, to beg they would meet him behind the willows in a certain place, as he had a proposition of great use to them all to communicate.

55.        The foxes came, and a fine assembly there was of them. Old and young, nimble and lame, lean and fat, they were all there. The farmer would have made terrible havoc, if he had come among them with his gun; but they were aware of that, and held their meeting in a snug, out-of-the-way corner, quite remote from danger and harm.

56.        The company being all met, our fox's wife went to tell him he was waited for. The fox then crept through the bushes, and as soon as he was in the circle, sat down close to the place by which he had entered.

57.        How do you do, gentlemen? says he. I hope, madam your wife is pretty well, and all the pretty little creatures at home. That he-young one of yours promises well; I hear he comes on bravely. The fox had some compliment or other for every one of them.

58.        What I had to propose, was that we should all agree to cut off our tails.

59.        The foxes stared.

60.        The speaker went on. I have devoted a great deal of my time to the study of anatomy, and particularly of that part of anatomy which explains the uses of the different parts of the body. Let me then beg of you to ask yourselves, as I have done, what earthly use we have for our tails? They trail along on the ground. In summer they gather the dust; and in winter the dirt. When I come home from a morning's diversion, I am really quite ashamed to see my wife, and still more the lady-foxes of her acquaintance, with my tail in so filthy a condition as it often is. Man is the wisest creature in the universe. You see he is continually mending nature. He clips his trees, and transplants his flowers. He shortens the tails of his cart-horses, and cuts his own nails and hair. Let us imitate his glorious example.

61.        You have made a wise speech, said an old fox; but before I answer it, be pleased to walk into the middle of the circle.

62.        The orator did not much like the proposal, but he could not help himself. He moved most unwillingly. You cannot think what a ridiculous figure he made. He hung down his head, and his ears, conscious that he was now completely found out. All the young foxes fell upon him, and were going to worry him out of their company. [28] 

63.        Stop, said the old fox; he will go fast enough of himself. And remember, my friend, another time, before you pretend to give advice, to learn to speak plain, and tell the truth. No advice is worth listening to, that is not given with an honest tongue. He that is to teach me what is for my good, must speak because he loves me, and not for any paltry by-ends of his own.

THE WAGGONER AND HERCULES.

William Mulready, "The Waggoner and Hercules" from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

64.         Jesus Christ came into the world not quite two thousand years ago. He taught that there is but one God that makes the trees to grow, and the rain to fall, and the sun to shine. Before his time men believed that there were many Gods, a God of the sea, and a God of the winds, and a God of war, and a God of peace. The Greeks and Romans, who were the wisest of the Heathen nations, believed in Jupiter, who was the son of Saturn, and the father of Mars and Minerva and Venus and Apollo and Hercules; and many ridiculous stories they told about them. Hercules was the God of strength, insomuch that, when he was a baby, he killed two serpents, so vast and fierce that a man could not manage them, which had crept into his cradle to him.

65.        Yet, though the Greeks and Romans were so ignorant, and made so many mistakes, they thought as often of their Gods, and were as thankful for the rain, and the sunshine, and the fruits of the earth, as we can be. [29] 

66.        A Heathen waggoner was once driving his team in a very bad road, when one of the wheels sunk in a deep hole, and stuck fast. It was necessary that his corn should be at market by seven o'clock in the morning, and it was already six. This waggoner was very kind to his horses, and the horses did all they could to drag the waggon out of the hole, but in vain.

67.        The driver now began to be terribly frightened. He had a severe master, who would not hear any excuses, and he knew that, if the corn was not at market in time, his master would turn him out of his employment. Then thought the man, what will become of my poor wife, and my two pretty babies? I shall have no money, and they will have no breakfast to-morrow, and no dinner, and no supper: they will be starved to death. He never thought of himself.

68.        The poor waggoner was almost out of his wits. He looked this way and that. The sun shone, and the birds sung in the hedges; but his waggon stuck fast. He looked at it, and the tears rolled down his cheeks. At length he fell on his knees in the midst of the mud. Oh, Hercules, God of strength, said he, help me in this hour of my distress!

69.        While he was in this attitude, an old philosopher happened to come by. What are you doing there, my honest friend? said he. That is not the way to get your waggon out of the hole. Up, bestir yourself, and put your shoulder to the wheel. I am an infirm old man, but I will do what I can to help you. You look like a good fellow; and I perceive you are in distress. But see, here comes a couple of stout hearty looking young men, and I am sure they will help us. When a human creature has thought seriously of his situation, and done all he can to remove its difficulties, then he has a right to expect that God will bless him, and that his undertakings will prosper.

70.        The young men were by this time come up. The philosopher worked; the waggoner put his shoulder to the wheel; and after some trouble the waggon was once more on even ground. God bless you, sir! said the driver to the philosopher; I see you are right; and another time I will never expect that my affairs will thrive, till I have done all I can on my part to put them in good order.

THE GRASS-GREEN CAT.

William Mulready, "The Grass-Green Cat" from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

71.         There was once a very handsome young boy, the son of a noble Athenian, who was so much indulged by his father and mother that they made quite a fool of him. This poor boy was neither ill-natured nor malicious, but so fantastical that he never knew what he would be at. His mother bought him all sorts of play-things, so that he had a room full of them, and his father gave him horses and hounds. He had gold and silver fish, and twenty different sorts of singing-birds, and a parrot, and an owl; and he had a squirrel and a monkey, and many kinds of beasts. You would think he must be very happy with such a vast fund of amusements; but he got them so easily that he set no value upon them; with him it was but to ask and have. He seemed to himself to have worn out all the pleasures of life, before he grew to be a man; and by the time he was as tall as his father, he could not tell what to do with himself; he yawned all day long; and it was impossible to propose to him an amusement, that he thought it worth his while to cross the street for. Poor young gentleman! [30] 

72.        His father and mother sent messengers into different parts of Greece to procure new pleasures for him; they all returned with things beautiful, costly, and of exquisite workmanship, but to no manner of purpose; they were laid aside as soon as seen. At last a man came to town, who had sailed to the Antipodes, and brought home with him a most marvellous grass-green cat, that was the best mouser ever heard of. This grass-green cat took the young gentleman's fancy; no such creature had been seen in Athens within the memory of man; and at a high price the young gentleman's father bought her of the captain of the ship that had brought her to Athens. What was most extraordinary was that this cat, though so great a destroyer of mice, was exactly of the size of a mouse herself.

73.        Contrary to all his former habits, the young nobleman never grew tired of his grass-green cat. He could not eat his dinner, unless the cat sat by the side of his plate; and when he went in his chariot to his country-seat, the cat was always carried in a sedan along with him (the chariot would have jolted her too much), and he stopped twenty times in his ride, to be sure the cat was not left behind, and that he might fondle and kiss her.

74.        As he was now grown as tall as a man, his father and mother were exceedingly desirous he should marry. They thought it was pity that the breed should be lost of a person of so refined a taste, whom nothing could please but a grass-green cat. They offered him the daughter of the archon or duke of Athens; or they promised to send to Philip, king of Macedon, and procure him in marriage the only sister of Alexander the Great. [31]  But the young nobleman turned up his nose at these princesses; he would none of them. At last he told his father and mother that he would never marry at all, unless he could marry his grass-green cat.

75.        They immediately made vows, and sent costly offerings and presents to Venus, Goddess of Beauty, praying her that she would turn their son's cat into a beautiful lady. Venus, as the story says, took compassion on their distress, and granted their prayer. The cat was turned into a beautiful lady dressed in grass-green velvet, and with a turban of exquisite green gauze upon her head. Her cheeks were as fresh as the damask rose, and her eyes were of the most sparkling black that ever was seen. She swam along the room with inexpressible grace. She offered her cheek for the young nobleman to kiss; she told him, she was his dear Puss, and that Venus had bestowed the greatest of all favours upon her, by giving her the power of speaking her gratitude and love to him. There was not much in what the cat said, but the young nobleman thought them the wittiest and wisest observations that ever he heard. He was eager to marry her.

76.        The wedding-dinner was prepared with all possible magnificence. Every body was charmed with the behaviour of the bride, especially when they considered she had so lately been a cat. She had something obliging to say to all her guests, and they were all happy.

77.        At length the new-married lady was led by the bride-maids to her bed-chamber. She there lay under a canopy of gold, with sheets as white as the driven snow, and a beautiful counterpane over her of grass-green velvet. The bride-groom came into the room with a dressing-gown of grass-green sarsenet in compliment to his wife. [32] 

78.        Just at this moment the bride cried out, Bless me, what scratching is that I hear behind the wainscot! The scratching was repeated. I am sure it is a mouse, said she. In her eagerness the bride forgot she was no longer a cat, jumped out of bed in her nightdress, and ran like lightning to catch the mouse. The bride-maids, who wished to be grave, could not help bursting into a fit of laughter. The bridegroom blushed like scarlet for shame; the lady hung down her head, and fixed her eyes upon the ground. They both agreed to pray to Venus to make her a cat again, who graciously granted their request. The cat was convinced that it was best to be content as nature had made her; and the young nobleman grew ashamed of his perverted inclinations, and gladly took for his second wife the princess of Macedon.

THE WEASEL IN THE GRANARY.

William Mulready, "The Weasel in the Granary" from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

79.         A weasel once got into a granary. The weasel is a beast of prey; his bite is mortal to the object of his pursuit, and he is cunning enough frequently to destroy animals larger than himself. Beasts of prey are sometimes almost famished to death, and at other times gorge themselves with excessive eating. This poor weasel was in the former case; he was so thin and meagre, that you might have counted his ribs; he could well nigh have crept through a thumb-ring.

80.        In the granary he found plenty of rats and mice. These animals had been undisturbed for many a day, and had made fine havoc with the poor farmer's corn. The weasel killed and ate, and ate and killed, you would have thought he would never have done. He seemed almost as good a trencherman as the lion. [33]  Poor fellow, he had not touched a bit for so many days; every morsel was as savoury to him as venison and partridge. [34]  At last he fell asleep, and by the time he woke again he thought he was hungry. This dark granary, with a parcel of dead mice, the victims of his force, strewed on the floor, seemed as beautiful to him, as the gardens of Nero, or the palace of king Solomon, would appear to me. You cannot think how fat he grew.

81.        He had now lived some days at his ease, when he heard the sound of steps approaching the door. It was the farmer; he put his key into the padlock of the door. The yard-dog, and the greyhound, and the spaniel came jumping about him, and kept such a barking, the weasel was frightened out of his wits. He ran as fast as he could, to the hole by which he had come in. But what was his distress, when he found that the crevice through which he had crept with ease in his famished state, would on no account suffer him to pass in his present plump condition!

82.        The door opened. The farmer saw the devastation that had been made, and guessed the truth. He drove the dogs away, who else would have killed the weasel in a moment. Back! he said to one. Lie down! to another.

83.        The farmer then came up to the weasel, and took him gently in his hand. Do not be afraid, my fine fellow! said he. I see you have killed a great many rats and mice; if you had not, they would have eaten up my corn, and I and my children would perhaps have been ruined. Another time however use more discretion with your appetites; eat while you are hungry and no longer; if any body had opened the door but myself, whom the dogs know and obey as their master, you would have paid dear for your intemperance, and have had but one squeak for your life.

WASHING THE BLACKAMOOR [35]  WHITE.

William Mulready, "Washing the Blackamoor White" from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

84.         A very foolish woman once had a black footman. [36]  He had lived servant with her uncle, and as, when he died, he left her his chaise, and a pretty horse to draw it, she thought she could not do better than hire Nango to take care of both. Should you like to live with me? said she to the negro. That I should, answered he. I loved my old master like a father, and it will always do me good to live with any one that comes of the same stock.

85.        Miss Moggridge, that was the young lady's name, looked at Nango. Upon my word, said she, I think him a very handsome man. (That is a thing by no means impossible. The other day I stopped involuntarily to look at a negro I passed in the street. He was telling a story to some one of his acquaintance. I do not know what the story was about; but he was quite animated, and seemed to feel great interest in what he was saying. His features were finely formed. I have seldom seen a more open and manly countenance. His story was a gay one. But there was nothing brutal or insulting or coarse in his manner, while he told it.)

86.        Nango, said the young lady, I like every thing about you but your colour. I much sorry, said the black; me change if me could, to please you. How came of you of that colour? My father and mother were both black. Pugh, pugh, said Miss Moggridge, I dare say they took no pains to wash and clean themselves. I was born, said Nango, many thousand miles off under a burning sun. [37]  Miss Moggridge had never heard of any thing further off than London, and she thought that was the end of the world. Of course she had never seen a globe or a map in her life. [38] 

87.        You have no objection to be washed, Nango?

88.        None in the world; me always loves to be clean.

89.        Miss Moggridge got sponges, and scrubbing-brushes, and soap, and all sorts of materials, enough to wash the linen of a regiment, and their barracks into the bargain. She stripped Nango to the skin down to his middle: she thought when she had shown him how to bleach his arms, and his shoulders, and his breast, he could do the rest for himself. She made him sit down in the middle of a large tub. She had no doubt that he would come out of it as blooming as a rose. She called in three washerwomen she had provided, beside her own maids, and set them to work.

90.        When they began to apply their sponges to Nango's skin, Miss Moggridge was surprised at first to see it look blacker and more glossy than ever. She was not however a lady to be disheartened; she scorned to give out when she had once undertaken a thing. She exhorted her people to go on, and not allow themselves to be tired. Poor Nango was washed from nine o'clock in the morning till noon: Miss Moggridge began to believe that there were people naturally black, as well as others that are born white.

91.        The washerwomen had agreed to do Miss Moggridge's work, because they wanted Miss Moggridge's money for themselves and their families. But secretly they laughed at her ignorance and folly. They told their neighbours what had happened. And when Miss Moggridge's one-horse chaise was brought to the door for the young lady to take an airing, people pointed, and said, That chaise and horse belong to the young lady who undertook to wash a blackamoor white. What a pity that her uncle, who could leave her such a pretty fortune, and who was otherwise so good a man, never thought of sparing a farthing to send her to school! She would then certainly have learned that there were negroes, as well as white people in the world; and would not have been silly enough to try at impossibilities.

INDUSTRY AND SLOTH.

William Mulready, "Industry and Sloth" from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

92.         There was once a very naughty young man, whom his mother, for all that she could say to him, could never persuade to rise betimes in the morning. She said to him, My son, my dear son, you have nothing to depend upon but your industry. Your father was a very good man, but he died unexpectedly, and has left us both unprovided for. As you never get up in the morning, you will never learn any thing properly, and never finish any thing you begin. I foresee that you will be despised by every body, and that I, your poor mother, shall die in a work-house.—I wonder how the son could resist such expostulations from the lips of his mother.

93.        The naughty young man saw that he had no way to bring himself off, but by some joke or another. He had tried this method often: it sometimes made his sad-hearted mother cry, and sometimes it forced her to laugh in spite of all she could do. Still the young man and his mother grew poorer.

94.        One day he said to her, Well, I have many a time put you off with one story or another, but now I will tell you a secret about it. I no sooner open my eyes in a morning, but there come (how they get at me I cannot tell) two girls to my bed-side, who, if I may be allowed to judge, are neither of them destitute of powers to charm.

95.        Two girls! said the astonished mother. Oh, you wicked, ungracious boy! I always believed that it was bad company that was the ruin of you. And you pretend you do not know how they get at you! But why two? two at a time? Do they agree or quarrel?

96.        No, indeed, mother. They do nothing but oppose one another in every thing. The name of one is Industry, and of the other Sloth. Industry is so grave and sedate-looking a girl, that it is impossible for me ever to look at her without having a good opinion of her. Sloth is full of roguery and smiles, but she has a soft, wheedling way with her, that I cannot find it in my heart to be angry with any thing she does. Industry tells me how respectable I shall become, if I do but rise in the morning. She assures me, that the morning is the finest part of the day, and that, if I rise with the lark, I shall be cheerful and happy all day long.

97.        Upon my word, a good girl! said the mother, who now began to understand him. I hope you grow wiser by every thing she says to you.

98.        That I do, mother! I never heard any body talk more sensibly or more to the purpose. But then that sly jade Sloth, she tells me how pleasant it would be to take another nap, and how comfortably one can think over all one's affairs as one lies in bed. Then she pats my pillow, and smooths my bed-clothes, that I can never have the courage to get up.

99.        Son, son! said the mother, you see now all she says is nothing to the purpose, and that the whole strength of the argument is on the other side.

100.        I am quite of your opinion, said the young man. Oh, never think that I give quarter to her wheedling, or forget any of the arguments of Industry: I am too fair a judge for that. But the worst of it is, mother, that they have such a vast deal to say for themselves, and I am obliged to show my fairness by hearing them out, that, by the time the arguments are well concluded, it is time to come to dinner.

101.        Learn, from this, son, said the mother, that it is the first business of life to come to an early and firm resolution. He that continues long in uncertainty, and vibrates and varies between one plan and other, will make as ill a figure, and prove as useless a member of the community, as if he came to the worst and most vicious resolution that could be devised.

102.        The son could make no reply to so just a remark; so he confessed he was conquered, and promised that for the future he would rise as early every morning as his mother herself could desire.

THE LABOURER AND HIS SONS.

William Mulready, "The Labourer and his Sons" from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

103.         A poor labourer, who had brought up a large family of children, had no estate to leave them when he died, except the cottage he lived in, and one field, which, by ploughing and harrowing and industrious care, he had contrived to make sufficient for the subsistence of them all. He was now old, and felt that he should live but a short time. His children, though they were very good on the whole, and attentive to what their father told them, had not so much sense and forecast as he to contrive their affairs, and were a little disposed to be idle. He had often sat up whole nights to contrive how he should pay for their schooling and other things they wanted, had gone to all the markets nine miles round to learn the price of commodities, and had always listened to the most experienced farmers, that he might know when to sow, when to reap, and how to manage his crop.

104.        This poor labourer, who loved his children as well as a duke could have done, was very uneasy as to what would become of them when he was dead and gone. He could teach them to work, as I have already told you, but he could not teach them to think.

105.        He was almost at his last gasp, when he called them round his bed, that they might hear his dying words. They were exceedingly grieved to see how weak their father was, and not one of them could forebear crying.

106.        Oh, my dear father, said the youngest, what shall we do without you, you who were always so good to us? I hope you are not dying.

107.        Hush, said the eldest, do not disturb father with your grief; he was going to say something to us; let us listen to his words and instructions. Pray heaven it be not for the last time!

108.        My children, said the old man, may I depend upon your doing what I am now going to tell you?

109.        That you may! answered one. That you may! answered another.

110.        You will find a treasure in the field we have so often cultivated together. —

111.        I do not know what more the old man was going to say. I dare say he only meant to tell them that a field, which had maintained them for so many years, would still prove a treasure, if they did not neglect to make the best of it. But he had no sooner spoken the words I have told you, than he was seized with a violent fit of coughing, after which he lay exhausted and speechless; and about sunset he died.

112.        The poor youths wept exceedingly when they saw their father was dead; they put him in a coffin; and about a week after, having screwed down the coffin, they carried it to the church-yard, where a grave was dug for him, and he was buried. [39]  Still they thought of their father; and every night at supper, and every morning at breakfast, one or another said, How I wish my father was with us!

113.        They were very poor however, and it was necessary they should think of something beside grief, otherwise they would all have been starved.

114.        At last the second son said, Do not you remember the last words of our father about the treasure he had buried in his field?

115.        I am surprised, said the eldest, that he should have buried his money. I have always heard that that was the act of very foolish people. I am sure our father was not a fool.

116.        I wish, cried the second, he had lived a little longer, only to tell us in what part of the field it was hid.

117.        Oh, do not say that! answered the youngest. I wish he was alive now, to call us in the morning, to bless us at night, to tell us stories of what he had seen in his youth, and to give us those advices that it did my heart good to hear.

118.        The young men all agreed to go and search for the treasure. They took with them spades and mattocks, and began to work most diligently. [40]  They searched one corner of the field, and another, and the middle; they could find no money. They did not leave one stone unturned, nor one clod unbroken. At last, after many days incessant labour, they were obliged to give up their hopes.

119.        It is a sad thing, said the second, that our father should have deceived us.

120.        Come, said the eldest, since we have so thoroughly worked the field, we may as well sow it with corn; we shall make something of our labour that way.

121.        They accordingly sowed the field, and it produced as plentiful a crop as their father had ever been able to raise with all his diligence.

122.        I dare say, said the eldest, this is the treasure our father meant; he knew we were idle young fellows, and he thought the best way to make us industrious was to lead us on with a false hope.

123.        Our father could not tell a lie! said the youngest. If he had lived to finish his speech, you would have seen that he could not!

124.        All the brothers learned a lesson of diligence from this adventure. Young people improve twice as much by experience, as they do by precept. They saw the good effects of the hard labour they had performed, and they turned out more sober and respectable than their poor father had feared.

THE LARK AND HER YOUNG ONES.

William Mulready, "The Lark and her Young Ones" from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

125.         The lark is a singing-bird, whose note is more clear, shrill and mellow, than almost any of her tribe. When she rises from her nest, she flies up in nearly a perpendicular line: you would think she never intended to return to the earth any more. Yet she builds her nest, not, as many birds do, among the branches of trees, but upon the ground; and, though so sweet a singer, she has nothing particular in her colour, which is a plain russet brown. Her nest is almost always in the middle of a corn-field, and is securely protected from invasion by the long, stiff, and close-ranked stalks, which like so many palisadoes occupy the field.

126.        A lark, who had a numerous family of young ones, began to think that the ears of corn were fast turning yellow, and that the farmer would soon come into the field to reap. She was obliged to go out every morning to seek for food for her young to live on. At these times she desired her larklings to be very attentive, and to hark out for what the farmer should say; for, added she, the moment he is resolved to reap his field, it will be time for us to seek a new habitation.

127.        The young larks listened for two or three mornings, but all was tranquil and silent. On the fourth morning they had a story to tell. Oh, mother, said they, as soon as they saw her, what you warned us of is come to pass. The farmer came with his son into the field, and said, Upon my word, son, this corn is fit to reap. Go immediately to our two neighbours, that I helped last year, and beg the favour of them to come to me now, and return the obligation.

128.        You are good children, said the old lark, to have listened so carefully, but I do not design to change my lodging to-day. Go on however as you have begun, and tell me every thing you can hear.

129.        The young larks were rather surprised at their mother's boldness, but they took it for granted that every thing she did was right.

130.        The next day the farmer and his son came again into the field. Well, son, said he, neither farmer Jobson nor Hobson have attended to our summons; I take it main unkind of them. Go to-day to your two uncles at the end of the village; they are our own flesh and blood, and sure they will help us. The young larks told all this to their mother; but she replied just as before, Listen and tell me every thing the farmer shall say; I do not intend to change my lodging to-day.

131.        The next day the farmer and his son came into the field for the third time. And so both your uncles sent their excuses, and said they had not time to help us. I see how it is: our corn will spoil for want of the sickle; son, you and I must come to-morrow, and cut it for ourselves.

132.        When the old lark was told this, she said, Come, my young ones, it is time for us to be gone; since the old farmer speaks in so resolute a manner, I have no doubt he will be as good as his word.

133.        In my mind the old lark ventured a little too far. This farmer had very bad neighbours; but the world is not so bad as the old lark thought; I know many warm-hearted men and women, who are almost as eager to do a good turn for their neighbours, as for themselves. The farmer however deserved no better friends, if he was willing to ask their help to do what he and his son could do very well without their assistance. [41] 

THE FAGGOT-BINDER AND DEATH.

William Mulready, "The Faggot-Binder and Death" from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

134.         I am now going to tell you rather a serious fable. I have told you several as diverting as I could, and I hope now you will not turn away, and bid me shut the book, because I am grave. To be merry is a pleasant thing, and truth will often be found hiding herself behind a sportive mask. But we learn things of the most importance, and which are most likely to make us fit company for the wise, when both we and our book are perfectly grave. [42] 

135.        Have you ever thought of death? Do you know that we must all of us die? Perhaps you will have a good many years yet, to learn and be happy in; but you must die at last, and nobody can tell you how soon. We ought to think about death often enough not to be surprised when it comes; but we ought to regulate our tempers and our thoughts so as to be no more frightened at it, than at sleep, or fatigue, or the tooth-ach [sic], or any thing we cannot avoid. If we dislike it ever so much, that will not alter the case a bit.

136.        A poor faggot-binder had all his life worked hard for his living. This he could bear very well when he was young and strong; but he was now grown old, and he was obliged to work still, for he had nothing to eat, but what he earned. This made him dissatisfied, and he sometimes cried out, I can bear this burthen of life no longer.

137.        One evening he had to come home with a heavy load of wood upon his back. He dragged one foot after the other, and said, When shall I be by my own fire-side! At last, when he had got more than half way home, he threw down his load in a fit of despair, and said, Oh, Death! that puttest an end to the miseries of mortal men, why wilt thou not come to my relief?—The words were no sooner out of his mouth, than Death stood before him.

138.        I know not what shape Death has, and I have great doubts whether there is any such person: no matter; this, you know, is a fable. Death is generally represented by the painters under the figure of a skeleton. You have bones in every one of your joints, and, if the skin and the flesh were gone, these bones would still hang together, and make a figure with legs, and arms, and fingers, and ribs, just as you now have. After a man has been dead some years, his skin and flesh waste away, and all that is left of him is a skeleton. A skeleton with a dart in his hand, is the figure that is painted for Death.

139.        The old faggot-binder was terribly startled, when he saw Death standing before him. A minute before he wished to be rid of his life, but now he felt twenty reasons for liking it.

140.        Do you want to die? said the figure.

141.        No, indeed, replied the old man, I think myself vastly well as I am.

142.        Are you not dissatisfied with your condition? Would you not be willing to shake off cares and poverty and infirmity and old age together? I come to your relief.

143.        I feel quite happy, answered the faggot-binder. Cares are the lot of man, and I should be a blockhead to quarrel with them. Poor I have been all my life; use therefore has reconciled me to that. Infirmity I must expect; I have had my turn to be lusty and active and strong. And old age succeeds to youth, as regularly as evening comes after the morning.

144.        Why did you call me then? What do you want of me?

145.        Only if your honour (for the old man began to think he had better talk submissively, to one who had so heartily frightened him)—Only if your honour would condescend just to help me up with this load of wood, which I laid down to rest myself.

146.        Have a care! said the figure. Tell no stories! Do you think you can put the cheat upon Death?

147.        I see, said the faggot-binder, I have been very wrong. Excuse me this once. You have taught me a lesson, that I promise never to forget. I will never again repine and be discontented with human life, till I am quite sure I had rather be dead.

148.        Upon that condition, answered Death, I release you for the present. But, remember, whether looked for or unlooked for, welcome or unwelcome, I shall some day come in earnest. We are acquaintances now, and therefore I beg you will not receive me hereafter, as if you had never looked me in the face.

149.        I wonder whether Death helped the old man up with his load. If he did not, I dare say the old man had put it upon his own shoulder the first time, and could do so again.

THE MURDERER AND THE MOON.

William Mulready, "The Murderer and the Moon" from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

150.         There was a very wicked young man, who had neither father nor mother. They had met with great misfortunes, had lost all their possessions, and at last died with grief and disappointment. The calamity to the young man was the less, as he had a very rich uncle who took him into his house, and treated him as if he had been his own child. The uncle had no children.

151.        Still it is difficult for any thing to make up the loss of a parent. The uncle was very good to his nephew, but he did not think of him so often, and give him such good advice, as a parent would have done. Perhaps the young man had naturally a vicious disposition. He fell into bad company; he played for great sums at cards and dice; he was very extravagant; and, when his generous uncle was tired of giving him money, this wicked young man would steal what his kind relation refused to give. He knew that by his uncle's will the whole estate would come to him, when the old man died; and he thought he should be so happy, when he had the disposal of every thing, instead of asking for a little at a time, as he was used to do. Ungrateful as he was, he was tired of waiting; and he determined to kill his benefactor.

152.        One night that his uncle was engaged to sup with a neighbouring farmer, this wicked nephew resolved, that he would meet him on his return, and that his uncle should never enter his own house again alive. He knew that the old gentleman would come home exactly at twelve; and that he might not miss his object, he determined to be in the way a quarter before.

153.        It happened to be a very fine moon-light night. The dogs had barked, and the owls had hooted a little before; but now every thing was still. You could hear nothing but the rippling of a little brook, which made its way among the rushes by the path-side. A little way out of the path there was a row of tall trees. The night seemed as bright as the day; the trees and the bushes looked quite black; and, as the wind barely moved the leaves, the shadow of them played gently and incessantly upon the grass. Every thing expressed quiet. It seemed as if no angry passions, and ill nature, and wickedness could ever come into such a scene. If I had been there, I should, out of mere happiness and peace of mind, have forgotten all the world, and thought myself in heaven.

154.        How unlike to the stillness of the scene, were all the furious thoughts that passed in the murderer's mind! He could not stand still for a moment. He knitted his brow, and struck his clenched fist upon his forehead, as he passed this way and that. At length he saw his uncle coming. He pulled his hat over his face that he might not be known; he threw the poor old man on the ground, and was just going to kill him.

155.        Who are you? said the uncle; and what is it you intend? I am not afraid to die: no good man is afraid to die. But look up! Does not the moon shining with mild radiance on the dark blue sky, ask you, Whether you can dare to violate the solemn splendours of her reign? No, if you would commit murder, go into the dark alleys of some profligate town, frequented by wretches like yourself, where it is impossible to hear the rippling of the rill, or see the dancing shadows of the leaves.

156.        While the uncle spoke, a sudden change took place in the nephew's mind. Till now he had not looked up and observed the scene. He felt the power of nature, standing before him in all her beauty. The instrument of death dropped from his hand. He hurried away to the next sea-port, took ship, and sailed to foreign countries. The uncle never had the grief to know that it was his nephew who had intended to kill him; and, as the young fellow staid abroad a great many years, I hope he came home at last quite an altered man.

THE ASS AND THE LAP-DOG.

William Mulready, "The Ass and the Lap-dog" from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

157.         A country-farmer had a lap-dog of which he was exceedingly fond. It was a pretty little fellow; and it frisked and jumped about with such genuine expressions of joy, when the farmer came home from his rounds, that he must have had a hard heart who did not feel some kindness for the rogue. The farmer called him into his lap, and patted, and stroked him; you cannot think what good friends they were.

158.        The door of a farm-house is generally open, at least in the summer time. The spacious and hospitable kitchen, where the farmer sits, is not far from the door, and the fowls and the ducks and the turkies will often walk into the kitchen without the least ceremony. The farmer I am speaking of was a very good natured man, and the jack-ass himself would sometimes find his way to the fire-side, along with the other inhabitants of the straw-yard.

159.        The jack-ass, when he was in the kitchen, observed very attentively what passed between the master and the lap-dog. What a happy fellow, thought he to himself, is this little animal! He is caressed and fondled by our master, is fed out of his own plate, and sleeps all night upon a cushion in the chimney-corner. I on the contrary am obliged to carry heavy loads, get nothing in return but blows, and am forced to sleep summer and winter in the fields. I cannot see that the lap-dog does any thing for his living, but play and frisk about, to express his love for his benefactor; and surely I, if I were to try, could do that as well as he.

160.        The ass thought he would not be in a hurry to begin his new trade. He took a great many lessons, and observed the lap-dog over and over. Then he would steal behind the barn-door, and practice his airs and graces. He did them in his own opinion to admiration.

161.        One day, when he thought he was quite perfect, the farmer came home from his rounds later than usual, and threw himself a good deal fatigued into his elbow-chair. The ass walked into the kitchen with an air of self-approbation, like a person conscious of his own abilities. He began to kick and prance about the floor, and, flinging his head in a caressing way to his master, set up a furious bray. A farmer is not easily disturbed by an accidental noise; and this farmer burst into immoderate laughter at what he saw. Conceited people, if they see you are amused, are always willing to take it as a proof of their cleverness; and this was the case with the ass. Encouraged by his first attempt, the ass raised himself upon his hind legs, with his fore-feet pawed against the master's breast, and made an attempt to jump into his lap. The farmer did not relish this rough salute, and called one of his men, who came with a good stick, and with half-a-dozen hard blows drove the ass back into the straw-yard.

162.        The ass murmured in his own mind at the unfairness with which he was treated, not recollecting that there is some one thing for which every creature is more fit than for any other, and that he who attempts something quite contrary to his nature, will often do mischief, and always be an object of ridicule and contempt.

THE SATYR AND THE TRAVELLER.

William Mulready, "The Satyr and the Traveller" from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

163.         The history of the world is about five or six thousand years old. [43]  By the people of Europe it is commonly divided into two parts, the history before, and the history after Christ, or, as we frequently call them, Ancient and Modern History. When we go far back in Ancient History, we come to what are called the fabulous times: [44]  That is, when writing was introduced, and people first put down in books what they knew of human events, [sic] they could only give a certain account of what some persons then living had seen, or had heard and remembered from their fathers, and all beyond that was uncertain and mixed, part true and part false, without its being possible for us clearly to tell which was one and which was the other. In the fabulous times we read of centaurs, people half man and half horse, and giants twenty feet high, and sphinxes, and hydras, and Gods, Jupiter and Apollo and Mercury, visiting the earth, and demigods, who had the Gods for their fathers, but were born upon earth. [45] 

164.        Among the different kinds of demigods, were the satyrs, and fauns, and naiads, and dryads. Many of these beings were said to be able to make themselves visible or invisible to human eyes as they pleased. Every river and every tree had its demigod that loved and took care of it, and in these old times a man never walked out in the forests or the fields, without imagining, whether he could see it or not, that he was in the presence of one of these beings. The satyrs were half man and half goat, their legs were hairy, their feet were cloven, and they had short horns on their heads. I wonder how these ancients, when they dreamed of a sort of creature between a man and a beast, came to call him a demigod. They were thought however, as was natural, to have more wisdom than falls to the lot of any man; and Silenus, the name of one of them, is introduced in the poems of Virgil, prophesying future events, and uttering the finest things in the world. [46]  Proteus, who they said could change himself into all sorts of shapes, is just such another, except that he belonged to the sea, and the satyrs to the woods.

165.         A man happened to be wandering in a desert [47]  in a severe winter, when chance led him near the mouth of a satyr's cave. The man however did not perceive where he was; and being exceedingly tired, and benumbed with the cold, he laid himself down upon the snow, and in a short time would have been frozen to death. The satyr perceived him in this situation, and took compassion upon him. He brought him into his cave, and seated him before a cheerful, blazing fire. The man began to recover. His fingers however were so affected by the frost and snow, that he had lost all feeling in them. As he sat, they recovered a little, and began to ache exceedingly. While they had been quite benumbed, they were in no pain. The traveller now felt them ache, and putting them to his mouth, blowed upon them with his breath. This is a very natural action, and I have seen waggoners, and coachmen, and husbandmen do the like in cold weather. The satyr however, it seems, had never seen it before, and, being rather curious what is meant, asked his guest why he blowed upon his fingers? The traveller answered, it was to warm them.

166.        The good-natured demigod did not design to be hospitable by halves. He rightly judged that a man who had been exposed to such severe weather, would not only want a comfortable fire, but something comfortable to take. He therefore set before him a bowl of very nourishing broth. It smoaked upon the table, and the traveller thought it exceedingly inviting. He was however in a hurry to eat it, and, as he lifted it to his mouth, he blowed into the spoon. The satyr, who did not like to see any thing that he could not account for, asked the traveller why he did that? The man answered, he blowed his broth to cool it.

167.        The traveller had no sooner uttered these words, than the satyr flew into a terrible passion. He insisted upon it, that his guest should quit his cave that moment. The satyrs, he said, were an honest, plain-spoken race, and he would not endure that the habitation of one of them should be disgraced with the presence of a creature, that could blow hot and cold with the same breath.

168.        The satyr was in the wrong. The same thing is often found to serve two purposes. Fire will burn, and fire will warm us. Water will drown, and water will revive us, when we are perishing with thirst. In this very case, the breath of the traveller really served to warm his fingers, and as really served to cool his broth.

169.        Though the satyr put himself into so unreasonable a passion, he had done great service to the poor traveller. The man was frightened, and got out of the cave as fast as he could. I wish the satyr had given him time to eat his broth. But he was thoroughly warmed with the fire before which his host had seated him, and had gained so much strength, that he was able to walk the rest of the way, and get home alive to his wife and children.

170.        From this fable it has grown into a custom, to say, as the severest censure we can cast upon a man, when he is very civil to me to my face, and speaks ill of me behind my back, or is guilty of any other piece of duplicity, He blows hot and cold with the same breath.

THE APE AND HER CUBS.

William Mulready, "The Ape and her Cubs" from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

171.         Monkies and apes bear a considerable resemblance to the human form. They are however neither so handsome nor so wise as human beings, and on that account seem as if they had been intended for caricatures or disagreeable representations of the human species. [48] 

172.        Wisdom is of ten thousand greater intrinsic value than beauty. I should like however that you should know what beauty is. There are three ancient statues, which are thought to exhibit the best notions which can be formed on this head, the Hercules, the Apollo and the Venus. Of each of these statues you may see casts at Somerset House. [49]  The Hercules is the model of strength, the Apollo and Venus of delicacy and elegance. It is impossible for human beings to conceive any thing more graceful, than the most exquisite specimens of the human figure, or than the most easy and tasteful attitudes and motions which can be given it. For examples of these I would refer you to the dancers at the Opera House. [50]  I should like you to know something of every thing, and though beauty is not so excellent a thing as wisdom, nor a pumpion as a pine-apple, there is no harm in being acquainted with both. [51] 

173.        Some sorts of monkies are tolerably handsome; I think those most so, that, when we look at them, least remind us of a man. A monkey, with all proper humility be it said, can only lose by the comparison. An ape therefore is ugliest of all, because he has least hair upon his body, and in other respects looks a hideous and deformed sort of manikin. I may as well tell you that all these sorts of creatures do several sly and odd tricks, make ugly faces such as I have seen foolish people make, eat apples, and crack nuts.

174.        An ape had once two cubs at a birth. She loved one of them to distraction, and hated the other. I need not tell you there are foolish mothers of our own kind, who act as sillily as this ape. She thought her favourite the most beautiful and the cleverest creature in the world, though every body else could see that he was uncommonly distorted and stupid. She was however always fondling and coaxing her darling, indulged him in every thing, and was frightened out of her wits every moment that he was not in her sight.

175.        Mamma's darling grew up sickly and peevish, could do nothing for himself, and was intolerable to himself and every body else. As to the other twin, he was left to shift as he could; and, as he saw that there was nobody to indulge him and think for him, he was obliged to think for himself. Hardships made him strong, and nimble, and circumspect. He could climb trees with inconceivable rapidity. There never was an ape that promised to acquire more knowledge and resources, than the young one which was thus unkindly used.

176.        Apes are creatures that are thought of some value in London; they are put into the Tower, and other Museums; and of consequence are hunted by people who try to catch them, that they may sell them for such uses. The hunters once set upon the ape and her cub that I have mentioned: the mother was much more frightened for her darling than she was for herself, though this darling had twenty times behaved undutifully to her, as all spoiled children behave unkindly to the people that spoil them. She did not think for a moment of the other twin, though quite as nearly related to her.

177.        The mother caught up her favourite, and ran as fast as her heels could carry her. In her hurry she stumbled against a stone; and, as she fell with great force, as people always do when they are running hard, the young one got a severe blow upon the head that killed him on the spot. The hunters drew nearer; the mother saw it was to no purpose to carry a dead ape in her arms; she dropped him to be devoured by the dogs, and thought now only of saving herself by flight, which with some difficulty she effected. The neglected one had from the first scrambled up a tree, and thus escaped both the danger and the fear.

178.        When the hunt was over, the mother and her surviving young one came together again. The parent ape was at first inconsolable for the loss of her favourite; but the neglected cub had learned reflection as well as dexterity, when he was obliged to take care of himself, and behaved so considerately and tenderly to his dam, that she at length confessed her error, and was convinced that the sickly and deformed creature she had cockered, [52]  had never possessed the tenth part of the good qualities of the son who cherished her in her old age.

THE TWO JARS.

William Mulready, "The Two Jars" from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

179.         The consequence in some countries of long and heavy rains is called a flood. We read in the Bible of a flood that drowned the world. In that instance we are told, that the windows of heaven were opened, and it rained forty days and forty nights (almost six weeks) without intermission. The flood I am going to tell you of was not quite so terrible as that. The usual history of a flood is, that the waters produced by the rain, run down from the hills, and swell the rivers, till they rise above their banks, and deluge a great portion of the flat country. A flood often begins so suddenly (for people are not always aware of the great quantity of water that has fallen upon the hills, and is coming down to them), that neither men, women nor children have time to escape; the flocks of sheep and oxen are carried away with the tide, and the cottages of the country-people are borne down with its force. Such a flood is a fearful calamity.

180.        It was at the time of a rainy season, that the river Rhone, which is said to be the most rapid river in the world, had overflowed its banks. [53]  The waves came tumbling along, and the vast billows, covered with foam, and throwing a tremendous spray, made a formidable appearance. It was enough to make a sailor recollect what he had seen in a tempest at sea.

181.        I do not know how many valuable articles were carried away by this flood; but among the rest, there were two jars, a china and a brazen one, that were seen on the top of the billows. I almost wonder they did not go to the bottom; but the force of the rushing waters was so great, as to overcome the tendency to sink, which metal or any heavy substance naturally has.

182.        The china jar was terribly frightened with the peril to which she was exposed; but the jar of brass did not partake her fears, and endeavoured to comfort her. My dear friend, be not dismayed! said she. You and I are sisters; and I have a presentiment that we shall come out safe from our present disaster. Depend upon me for assistance. At all events I will keep as close to you as I can, and afford you every support in my power.

183.        Good Mr. [sic] Brass, replied the china jar, the utmost I have to request of you is that you would keep your distance. I doubt of our being so nearly related as you say. I am of a delicate and brittle constitution, and if I am broken, an event which one hearty salute from you would effect, I shall lose my present beauty, for the sake of which I have been placed upon the top of my lord's most valuable cabinet, and shall be thought fit only for the dunghill. But you are of a hardy make, and capable of enduring many severe knocks; and, if you should sustain any damage on the present occasion, a few skilful blows from the smith will set all right again. Of all the things at present washed away by the tide, I perceive none which I have so much reason to fear as yourself.

184.        I hope the china jar was saved from her danger, and placed once more in her favourite situation upon the top of the cabinet. In the mean time you will observe, that the moral or conclusion of this fable is the same as that of the Hermit and the Bear, [54]  that injudicious kindness is in many cases as much to be guarded against, as the most angry and implacable hostility.

THE CRAB AND HER DAUGTHER.

William Mulready, "The Crab and her Daughter"[*] from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

185.         A snail is commonly said to be an animal that carries its house on its back. There are many conveniences in that: if I could do so, I need not consider, when I set out for a long walk, that, after having walked out as far as I like, I shall have just as far to walk home again. A house however, big enough for me to live in agreeably, would be a heavy load, that I should not much like to carry on my back; so I may as well be content as I am.

186.        There is a large portion of the inhabitants of the waters, called fish, that, like the snail, always carry their houses, or in other words, their shells, along with them. Such are oysters, and cockles, and muscles, and lobsters, and crabs. There are however few of them that, like the snail, can come out of their shells and creep back again whenever they like. [55] 

187.         One remarkably quality of the lobster and the crab is that, when they are alive, their shells are black: but, when they are boiled that they may be brought to table, their shells turn red. A witty English Poet, called Butler, therefore says, that a dark night succeeded by a brilliant sunrise, is very like a lobster boiled. [56] 

188.        Lobsters and crabs sometimes walk, or rather crawl, upon the sand of the sea. A crab, I am told, has a very odd sort of walk, for, instead of going straight forward, he walks backward, as I remember I used sometimes to do when I was a school-boy. I never saw a crab walk, but I believe you may depend upon the truth of the account.

189.         A crab and her daughter were once basking themselves on the sand. As they were moving along, the mother cast her eye upon her young one. My dear child, said she, how you walk! I will be boiled (a vulgar woman would have said, I will be hanged), if you do not go backward. Consider, my love, that the success of a young lady in the world greatly depends upon the gracefulness of her carriage. Upon my word you must cure yourself of this ungainly trick of yours, before it grows into a habit. Why do not you attend to these things, my child, without giving me the trouble to tell you of them?

190.         What a foolish mother this was, to object in her child to a practice, which belongs to the very nature of a crab, and which no crab ever yet lived without! But some folks can discover faults, or what they think such, in their neighbours, without the smallest suspicion that they have the same faults themselves. Thus I remember to have heard a miserly old hunks declare, that, of all things in the world, he had the most difficulty to conceive how it was possible for a man to be avaricious. [57] 

191.        The young crab answered her mother with perfect innocence and simplicity, My dear mamma, if you will only show me how I ought to walk, I will endeavour to imitate you as closely as I possibly can.

THE TRAVELLERS AND THE BEAR.

William Mulready, "The Travellers and the Bear"[*] from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

192.         Two men, an old man and a young one, had to travel through a wide forest, infested with wild beasts. It was necessary for them to go, and therefore they were obliged to overlook the dangers which threatened them. Most people who traversed this savage country went in companies or caravans of thirty or forty each, sometimes more; but these two went alone. They agreed however, whatever happened, to stand by each other, and, as far as depended upon them, to run the same fortune, whether for life or death. The old man was noted through all the village where he dwelt, for one of the most honest, kind-hearted, and plain-speaking creatures that ever lived: the young man I do not know so much of: we shall see how he kept his word.

193.        They took leave of their wives and families, and it was a very affecting sight to behold their parting. They kissed them all round, and many tears were shed. God bless you, husband. I God bless you, father! said the women and children, and preserve you through the dangers of this terrible journey!

194.        The beginning of their walk, for they went on foot, was along agreeable lanes, with corn-fields and meadows on each side, in some places cows, in others sheep, with here and there a neat cottage of the people the cattle belonged to; you cannot think how pleasant it was. By and by however they came upon the forest, which sometimes consisted of wide heath, sometimes of sandy desert, and sometimes of trees and bushes so tangled together that it was difficult to force their way through them. There was no path, and the travellers were obliged to consult a compass they carried in their pockets to know in which direction they were to proceed. They also looked at the sun, for they knew that he would be to the east in morning, and to the west in the evening; and this was a great help to them. If you stand with your right hand to the east, or your left hand to the west, you have then the north directly before, and the south behind you. If you do this in London, you will have Cambridge before, and Brighthelmstone behind you, Canterbury will be on your right hand, and Bristol on your left.

195.        At noon the travellers were so lucky as to find a fountain of fresh water, with a few trees growing near it. They sat down at the foot of the trees, and pulled a pasty or a joint of mutton out of their wallet. With this and some water from the spring they made a very comfortable meal.

196.        At night they found some other shelter which answered their purpose. Night is the principal time when wild beasts come out of their dens or coverts, to seek for prey. They had heard however that they should be tolerably secure, if they lighted a fire, and slept by the side of it. The old man got a flint, and with the back of a knife he had in his pocket struck a light. With this he set fire to some dried leaves. The young man in the mean time picked up some sticks, and they contrived to make an agreeable blaze. They settled that one should wake and watch, while one should sleep; and this they took by turns the night through. It is thus that sailors do in ships. They kept up the fire by continually supplying it with fresh fuel; and, though the lions and tigers and bears growled and roared exceedingly with all kinds of noises, not one of them dared come near.

197.        The next morning they pursued their journey, completely refreshed, and thankful that they had thus passed the first night in safety. Nothing particular happened in the course of the second day. The old man had not known much of his young companion before they set out; but now he began to love him. The youth had behaved very well hitherto; and the having passed with any one through a course of the same chances and dangers will always beget in me some portion of kindness for him.

198.        Evening was now coming on, and the travellers were beginning to think where they should rest for the second night, when they saw a bear of an enormous size rush out of a thicket, and run toward them with great swiftness. The young man had a stout club, and the old man a gun. The old man pulled the trigger, but it some how or other missed fire: I suppose the priming had fallen out as they passed along. [58]  The young traveller seeing this, forgot all the engagements into which he had entered, took to his heels, threw down his club as he ran, and, as he was exceedingly nimble and alert, climbed in a trice to the top of a high tree.

199.        There stood the old man. His companion had deserted him in the moment of danger. The youth was a hale, strong fellow, and, as his cudgel was a trusty one, he could very likely, if he had stood by his friend, have knocked out the brains of the bear. The old man could not follow the example of his treacherous associate. Though his strength was not yet worn out with age, his activity was exceedingly lessened. His understanding however was as quick and lively as ever.

200.        In this terrible emergency he recollected that he had been told that lions will not prey upon carcasses. He did not know whether this would apply to a bear of an enormous size; but he could do no better than try. He threw himself on the ground flat upon his face, and held his breath as if he had been dead.

201.        The bear, though he ran directly toward the place where the two travellers had been standing, did not see them, so soon as they saw him. The old man had laid himself motionless on the ground, and the young man climbed up into his tree, unobserved by their common enemy. Had it been otherwise, the tree would have been of very little service to the man who had recourse to it, for bears are expert in climbing trees.

202.        When the bear came up to the unfortunate old man, he made a full stop. He looked at him from head to foot, and smelt him, and pushed against him with his snout. The old man, as the saying is, would have given his life for a farthing. When the bear however had examined him as much as he liked, he ran away as fast as before, toward the place to which he had previously been going: perhaps it was to visit a she-bear that he was in love with.

203.        As soon as the young fellow saw that the bear was quite gone, he slid down from the tree, took up his club, and returned to his companion. He knew he had been doing a despicable thing; but he did not feel duly ashamed of it; and, like many other people who do despicable things, he thought he could carry it off with a joke. Well, old friend, said he, and clapped him on the back, how do you do? Now, my good fellow, do tell me what the bear whispered to you; for I observed he had his nose close in at your ear.

204.        The old man did not think treachery and lying subjects for a joke. He put on therefore a very significant face. Since you ask me, said he, I will tell you: he charged me never again to engage in travel with a wretch, who in the hour of danger would desert his friend.

205.        The bear, you know, said no such thing, for bears cannot speak. But the old man thought that so paltry a fellow deserved no better answer.

206.        On the evening of the third day they arrived at their journey's end. When they had finished their business, they returned with a caravan. But the young fellow was very sorry and very much humbled for what he had done, before the people of the village would forgive him for deserting so honest, kind-hearted, and plain-speaking a man.

IGNORAMUS AND THE STUDENT.

William Mulready, "Ignoramus and the Student"[*] from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

207.         A man who does not love reading and study, who knows nothing of what was done in the world before he was born, who has not studied the accounts of distant countries and climates, and who has not read the books of those who have anatomized the bowels of the earth, and measured the size and distance of the stars, is what we call an Ignoramus. [59] 

208.        An Ignoramus, a stupid, country-bumpkin, who could hardly write his own name, had heard much talk of a cousin of his, who was a very learned man, and familiarly acquainted with most of the arts and sciences. He understood with surprise, that his cousin rose in the morning with the first dawn of the day, and sat alone among his books as many hours as he could consistently with a proper attention to his health. Every body said, that this hard-working student was very wise; but Ignoramus would never believe it. Pooh, pooh! answered he, never tell me: the man must be a downright fool, to sit all his life long poking and poring his eyes out over books. Think how I live, coursing after hares every morning, gaming at the bowling-green every afternoon, [60]  and drinking punch and strong ale at one club or another every night. It is true I do not learn much; but I laugh and grow fat. I spend every hour of my life merrily; and not one wrinkle shall care ever furrow in my brow. At last he resolved he would go and see the old quiz. [61] 

209.        It would have done you good to have seen them both together, when the country-bumpkin was shown into his cousin's study. The eyes of the rustic were starting from his head, and his cheeks were absolutely purple, with the punch and strong ale he had so plentifully drunk. You never saw any thing look so like a booby. The student, his relation, was pale, but not with ill health, for he took care to prevent that by wholesome exercise. His eye was bright, animated, and penetrating, but mild. His hairs were white, and his whole appearance venerable. His face was furrowed with thought, yet he looked calm, contented and happy. He was old; but his were the marks of a vigorous, and what I have seen somewhere called a green, old-age.

210.        Ignoramus looked round upon the library with surprise; it was on every side lined with books. Why, coz, said he, what a power of books you have here? What in the name of wonder can you do with them? I could never read but in one book at a time; and a small book would serve me a month. One of your shelves would last me my whole life.

211.        And what, cousin, do you remember of the books you have read?

212.        Why even, answered Ignoramus, nothing at all. I never read but to amuse myself, or to say the truth, to compose myself to sleep after a hard day's coursing.

213.        I will tell you, replied the student, what books I have got here. Those are Latin, and these Greek; further on are the French, the Italian, and the Spanish. On this side are the English writers, from the time of queen Elizabeth and before, to the reign of George the third. On the right hand of my fire-place are the books that tell me about the sun and the stars, and on the left the books that describe, and the maps that represent, all the nations of the earth.

214.        And now, said Ignoramus, will you be so good as to show me the use of all this?

215.        A great deal, answered the student. I could not bear to be ignorant, and you cannot imagine how great are the pleasures of knowledge. But, beside this, all my neighbours come to me for advice. If they quarrel, I can acquaint them with the decisions of the law, and the counsels of prudence. If one wants to dig a mine, I can inform him how to proceed. If another wishes to sink a well, I can tell him where he will find water. If my neighbour is engaged in merchandize, I can explain to him the productions of the different countries of the world. I can teach him how to farm, and how to build. Those who come to me, say that the advice I give them is better than gold; and yet I sometimes give them that too, for I have a moderate estate, and my modes of life are not expensive.

216.        Well but, rejoined Ignoramus, what I wonder at is, how you can spend so great a portion of your life alone. For my part I cannot live an hour to an end, without having somebody to talk to me, and to amuse me.

217.        Excuse my plain-dealing, said the student to Ignoramus, but I never felt myself alone till you came in.—Ignoramus had entered into a great deal of talk which I do not think it necessary to repeat, about dogs, and horses, and rubbers at bowls, and the most approved way of hedging a bet, and the ingredients in good whiskey-punch, and the best receipt for brewing strong ale. [62] 

218.        Since you came in, cousin, my books have been shut. I no longer talk with Plato and Socrates, the wise and the good, the illustrious dead of all ages and countries. They talk like oracles, with the depth of enlightened knowledge, and the kindness of the most affectionate friend. Your talk is hardly worthy of a rational being. Yet among the lessons they have taught me is that of patience and good-humour; and I have listened to your unmeaning impertinence, without being once out of temper.

219.        Ignoramus was abashed. He could not help admiring his learned cousin, and confessed that, if it had not been too late, he would have been a student too. But the man, who aspires to be wise and well-informed, must begin with a love of instruction almost from infancy. [63] 

THE YOUNG MAN AND THE LION.

William Mulready, "The Young Man and the Lion" from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

220.         A certain nobleman had an only son. The father was now grown old, and the son had arrived at the stature of a man. The nobleman, because he was very rich, thought himself very great. He believed that his country must go to ruin, if the race of so illustrious a family as his was, should perish. Besides, he was dotingly fond of his son, and his son deserved his love. I believe he had formerly had several children, and that perhaps was the reason that he did not spoil this one. But now they were all dead, and this was left alone. The son was a good scholar, and loved and understood painting, music, and poetry. This story happened many years ago, when active and robust exercises were esteemed of the highest value. The young gentleman could pitch the bar, and tilt at the ring, to admiration. He was very fond of hunting, and thought it beneath his quality to hunt any but the most ferocious wild beasts. But, above all, his mind continually dwelt on feats of war, and he was desirious to rival Tamerlane, Scanderbeg, and Alexander the Great. [64]  In the mean time every body loved him for his obliging and generous behaviour; he was continually doing good to his father's tenants and servants.

221.        But the more this young gentleman was bent upon encountering dangers, that he might show himself worthy of the high blood that filled his veins, the more his father trembled for the life of his darling. The old nobleman was always miserable with a thousand alarms, whenever his son was out of his sight. They had many arguments on this subject. Though the son always behaved very respectfully to his father, yet he humbly represented to him the necessity there was, that he should distinguish himself in some way or other. By the station of life in which I am born, said he, I cannot go to plough, nor make ploughs and other implements for the husbandman; and I cannot bear to be of no use in the world. Besides, by that way of living, I shall not be fit company for other young gentlemen, my equals, and they will look upon me with merited contempt.—It did not signify: the old nobleman could not conquer his fears.

222.        One night the father happened to dream that he saw his son a hunting. The animal he pursued was a furious lion. The son by some accident fell from his horse, and was devoured by the lion.

223.        The nobleman woke with the imaginary shrieks of his dying son sounding in his ears. His face was covered with sweat, and every joint in his skin trembled. He was sure that his son would in reality one day fall a prey to a lion.

224.        Full of this thought, he built a castle in a remote situation, on purpose to confine his son, that he might not be eaten alive. He adorned it with pictures, and filled it with instruments of music, that he might pass his time as agreeably as possible. He had the young gentleman watched carefully, with a centinel always at his door, though the son had too much respect for his father to thwart him in any thing on which his heart was set.

225.        The young gentleman did not make any remonstrance against this dreary imprisonment; he endeavoured to appear easy and cheerful before his father; but he repined in secret. The thing dwelt so much upon his mind, that he fell into a fit of sickness. The old nobleman sat by his bed-side. What can I do for you, my son? I will do any thing, provided you will not go a hunting. The son promised he would not.

226.        After a time the young gentleman grew better; but, as his health improved, he found the watch set upon him as closely as ever, by the misjudging affection of his father.

227.        One day, that the son was walking alone in a spacious apartment of the castle, he said to himself, How unworthily my father uses me? Why am I shut out from the cheerful enjoyment of the woods, and the hills, and the open face of heaven? I envy even the poor hay-makers, that I perceive yonder singing at their work. Why must I languish for ever in solitude and obscurity? What crime have I committed to merit this treatment?

228.        As he reflected in this manner, he chanced to cast his eye upon a fine picture of a lion. His father had hung this room with pictures of beasts, thinking that they would be particularly agreeable to his son.

229.        Thou ugly wild beast! said he. It is for thy sake that I am shut up a prisoner here. If I had a sword, I would thrust it to thy heart.—In his passion the young gentleman behaved as if it had been a real lion.

230.        He then clenched his fist, and made a furious blow directly at the lion's breast. Behind the picture, just in that place, there was a large rusty nail in the wainscot. The blow tore the picture, and the nail severely lacerated the young gentleman's hand. He was in an ill state of health before; the wound festered; it turned to a mortification; and he died. [65] 

231.        Thus all the old nobleman's excessive cares were vain. He had better have let his son go at large, and employ himself like other young persons of his rank. He would then very probably have surmounted the dangers of real life, and have died at last in a good old age.

THE EAGLE AND THE CROW

232.        The eagle is held to be the king of birds. It is impossible to imagine any thing in the form of a bird more beautiful than he is. His beauty does not consist in gaudy colors, like the jay's, nor in a huge tail, like the peacock's, which, though nature has painted it with an exquisite pencil, must after all be allowed to be somewhat disproportioned and monstrous. The colors of the eagle are a deep and a tawny brown, mottled like those of the partridge, sober, yet highly gratifying to the eye. His form is made for strength and action. His eye is lively and piercing; and the sight of it is so strong, that it is said he can gaze without blenching at the brightest rays of the noon-tide sun.

233.        The eagle builds his nest in the crags of the rock. It hangs over the sea, and remains undestroyed by the most furious tempests. He is a bird of prey, and his scream is terrible to such animals as he is accustomed to devour. He feeds upon serpents, harts, hares, and various other animals, which he discerns from an immense distance, pounces upon them from his elevation in the sky, and carries them away in his talons.

234.        A hungry eagle gazed from a distance upon a flock of sheep. With his eye he singled a lamb from the number, and flapping his wings, came down with immense swiftness, seized the poor animal with his talons, and flew away with him through the air.

235.        A crow who beheld every thing that passed, was filled with admiration of the action of the eagle. He thought he would do the same, and show himself a bird of spirit. He imitated the king of birds in the sweep he had seen him take, and then lighted upon the back of the old ram, the bell-wether of the flock. Determined to do the business as completely as he could, he entangled his feet thoroughly in the fleece of the ram, and then spread his wings to fly away with him. He might as well have thought to fly away with the city of London.

236.        The shepherd remarked his situation. He was exceedingly sorry for the loss of the lamb that the eagle had carried off, but he was not at all apprehensive of what the crow would do. He took him in his hand, disentangled his claws from the back of the ram, clipped his wings, and turned him into the garden for the amusement of his children.

237.        There happened to be a magpye hanging in a cage by the garden-wall. He looked at the crow, and said, as the shepherd's children had taught him to do, What bird are you? The crow could not speak, but he hung down his head, and thought with himself, A very little while ago I mistook myself for an eagle, but I now find I am a very silly crow!

THE HART AND THE VINE.

William Mulready, "The Hart and the Vine" from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

238.         There is scarcely any animal that we read of more in stories and histories than the deer. He deserves to be talked of for his beauty; and he has the misfortune to be talked of, because his flesh, which is called venison, is one of the greatest delicacies that a king can put on his table. [66] 

239.        There are many varieties of this creature, and as many names to call them by. In a former fable we read of the stag and the hind; that is the red deer: there is also the hart and the roe; that is the fallow, or tawny deer: the most ordinary names are buck and doe; those names are common to every kind.

240.        A hart was once singled out by some archers for their prey. I believe these archers had no dogs with them; for dogs, as I told you before, follow the deer by his scent; and that does not seem to be the case in the story I am going to tell you. If a game-keeper shoots a deer in his lord's park, because the lord chuses to have venison for his Sunday's dinner, he does not want dogs to help him in that. The famous Robin Hood, [67]  of whom we have heard so much, and the other outlaw bowmen, who lived in forests which our kings then kept for hunting, and who fed upon the king's deer, had, I believe, no dogs; I do not remember that dogs are once mentioned in all the stories there are about them. [68] 

241.        But do not let us forget the poor hart, that we left the archers just going to shoot at. He discovered the danger in time, and scampered away as fast as his legs could carry him. He ran a mile or two, till he came to a place where there was a treillage, or espalier, covered with vines. [69]  The vines were extremely fine and flourishing, and their leaves were so numerous and thick, that not Argus himself, that I have somewhere read of, who had a hundred eyes (I wonder whether they all grew in his face), could have seen through their shade. [70]  The archers quite lost sight of the hart; they looked on this side and on that, and could discover him no where. It was the best hide and seek you ever knew; and I assure you the poor hart thought so. He was not hiding, poor fellow, for sport, but for his life.

242.        The hart lay as still as a mouse, and the hunters walked by pensive and disappointed. The hart began to be convinced that he was safe; and, alas! security made him wanton. The leaves of the vines were green and fresh and tender; they just touched his nose. He opened his pretty mouth, and cropped one of them; it was very good. Finding one so palatable, he pulled another and another; he quite forgot why he had come there.

243.        The archers, who were very near, heard a rustling of the leaves; they turned their eyes that way. They saw a motion and a shaking; they guessed what was the matter; they shot at a venture, and the poor hart was killed.

244.        Before he died, he could not help thinking within himself with bitterness, I have deserved what has happened. The vine generously protected me with its shade, and I, ungrateful beast that I was, could not refrain from acting injuriously to my benefactor.

THE DYING EAGLE.

William Mulready, "The Dying Eagle" from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

245.         Shall I tell you one other fable of a creature killed? An eagle was sitting on a high rock, and saw a hare running across a field below. She determined to seize this hare for her prey. She rose majestically into the air, and prepared to pounce down upon the poor innocent, who thought no harm.

246.        This was among the mountains; perhaps of Wales. Some archers were descending a neighbouring declivity. The eagle was so intent upon the hare, that she did not perceive them. One of them let fly an arrow, and gave the eagle a mortal wound, and the hare was saved. The archers thought nothing about that; they had only a mind to carry home an eagle.

247.        One end of the arrow pierced this noble bird, the other stuck out from the wound. The eagle looked at it with her dying eyes. Do you know what an arrow is? It is a long, smooth bit of stick. At the end designed to inflict the wound, it has a point of metal, and sometimes this point is barbed or fanged, to make it the more difficult to pull it out of the wound. The other end is feathered, that is, the arrow-maker strips from the quill of some bird the feathery part which grows on each side the quill, and glues it on upon each side of his arrow. It was the feathery end of the arrow that the eagle looked at, and she saw that it was winged with plumage from one of her own quills, which a few weeks before had dropped from her when she moulted. This is double cruelty, said the eagle—I am killed; and they have furnished themselves from my own person with the means of my destruction.

248.        What the eagle felt upon this occasion was merely what people call a sentiment. [71]  It had no distinct foundation in reality. The archer did not consider that he was shooting an eagle with an eagle's feather; and the bird had been guilty of neither fault nor folly in furnishing the archer with the ornament of the weapon that slew her. But, when a man really brings a misfortune upon himself of his own procuring, and, as the saying is, furnishes the rod for his own back, the thought of that must add very much to the anguish which torments him.

THE LYNX AND THE MOLE.

William Mulready, "The Lynx and the Mole" from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

249.         A lynx is a very beautiful animal. His fur is of great value as an article of dress for the ladies. His coat is spotted like a leopard, but he is of a more diminutive size. Many wonderful stories were told of him by the ancients. Bacchus is said to have been drawn in his chariot by a set of these animals, when he returned from the conquest of India. His urine is related to harden into precious stones. [72]  But what is most remarkable about him is his sight. He discovers objects at a greater distance than any other animal in the world. The ancients said, he could see through stone-walls.

250.        A lynx once met with a mole in his path. A mole is an animal that lives entirely under ground; it is somewhat extraordinary that the lynx found him above it. He burrows and makes long passages and caverns in the earth; and he feeds upon worms and other insects that, like himself, dwell out of sight of the sun. His size is about equal to that of a rat. In his subterraneous travels he sometimes, when he comes toward the surface, throws up large heaps of mould, which we call mole-hills. These are injurious to the farmer and the gardener in their labours, and therefore they set traps to catch and kill him. His colour is black, and his coat is softer than the finest velvet. The smell and hearing of the mole are very subtle, but he can see very little; he was formerly thought to be totally blind. [73]  Sight can be but of little use to a creature who lives under ground.

251.        The lynx looked with great contempt upon this inferior animal. Beside other articles of superiority upon which he valued himself, he was particularly proud of the brillancy of his eye and sharpness of his sight.

252.        Alas, poor creature, said the lynx, what a miserable life is thine! How hard to live always in the damp, cold ground, and to wander from mine to mine, [74]  without once seeing the light, or feeling the warmth of the sun. It is however well for thee in one respect, that thou art deprived of the use of sight. If thou couldst behold me as I vault by thy wretched mole-hill, with the vast freedom of my muscles and limbs, joined to a sight which can discover objects invisible to every other creature that lives, thou must needs burst with envy and rage against the partiality of nature, which has assigned thee such a wretched existence. It would be charity in any of us nobler creatures, to put an end to it for thee.

253.        I thank you much for your charity, replied the mole, but I can do extremely well without it. I am contented and tranquil. If nature has denied me some organs and beauties which you possess, she has endowed me with what is better than both, a cheerful temper, enabling me to support my obscure existence without misery or murmuring. But, observe, if you surpass me in some of the senses, I am equally superior to you in others. Want of sight serves to sharpen my sense of hearing. And even at this moment, if I am not mistaken, I hear a sound, which seems to come from beyond you, and gives me notice that an enemy is near, and that it is time for me to fly to the safety of my caverns.

254.        The noise proceeded from the approach of a hunter; and before the lynx could turn round to look, he received a mortal wound from a javelin. The mole was not so far off, but he could hear the last groan of the lynx's expiring agony; and now he felt more than ever thankful to providence, for having blessed him with a mind not to repine at his station.

255.        There is too much about killing in these fables. We kill creatures for their flesh; we kill creatures for their skins; and, which is worst, we kill creatures, when we go a hunting and shooting, for our amusement. Men (though they are very kind and considerate to many animals) appear to most advantage in their conduct to one another. How much care do almost all parents take of their children! How many generous actions do we hear of, that men do for their friends, and even for strangers, giving them money, giving them their time, running into dangers, and sometimes sacrificing their lives to save them! Yes, my dear child, man, though imperfect, is a noble creature; and I hope you will attend to your improvement in your early days, that hereafter you may be worthy to be called, in the best sense of the word, a man.

THE DOG AND HIS CLOG.

William Mulready, "The Dog and his Clog" from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

256.         The animals most important to man, are the horse and the cow; the animals that live with him upon the most familiar terms, are the dog and the cat. The dog is known by the honourable title of the friend of man. He feels a strong attachment for his master; he often gives him information of danger from bad people or from a falling house; he will drag a man or a child out of the water, and prevent their being drowned; he protects our persons, our clothes, and our houses, from people who would hurt the one, or steal from the other. I ought to tell you all this in favour of dogs, when I am going to relate a story of a naughty one.

257.        There was once a dog, who was never contented to stay at home; and, when nobody could tell where he was, he was, as often happens to children, sure to be in mischief. He would run after the sheep, and sometimes half kill them. His master was not willing to turn him out of doors, but all the neighbours said that, if he did any more mischief, they would shoot him. So his master got a great clog, with a transverse bar, as you see it in the picture, and put it upon him. [75]  The clog was to make it uncomfortable for him to wander a great way; and the bar would hinder him from forcing his way through hedges, and between the rounds of stiles and gates, as he had been used to do. He might push his head through, but the bar would hinder his body from following it.

258.        I have told you already that this dog was badly disposed; and I must now tell you that he was very silly beside. These two things are apt to go together. "Show me a naughty boy, and I will show you a silly one;" that is, if you are right, in pointing to him, and saying he is naughty, I will venture to point at the same boy, and say, he is a very silly fellow. To be naughty is to make a blunder, and do something stupid; the naughty creature intends himself good, but he really does himself harm, and is despised. In the fable of the Dog in the Manger, [76]  you saw before you got to the end, that the naughty dog was a silly dog too.

259.        Well; this naughty, silly dog had reason enough you will think to be ashamed of his clog; it told every body he came near, the paltry tricks he had done. But he never thought of that. I dare say his master said to him as he put it on, There, sir, remember how you worry sheep again! but the dog took no heed. He thought he had got a fine ornament. The bar he looked upon no less than a collar of knighthood, and the clog as equal to a king's train. So, instead of hanging down his head, he strutted, and pranced, and insisted upon all the other dogs making way for him. My dear friend, said a sly old codger, it is bad enough to be obliged to carry about every where the marks of one's disgrace; but the dog who mistakes them for emblems of honour, is the most incorrigible puppy I ever heard of.

THE LION AND THE GAD-FLY.

William Mulready, "The Lion and the Gad-Fly"[*] from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

260.         It is foolish to look upon any thing as unworthy of notice, merely because it is little. There is nothing little or great but by comparison. When Gulliver was in Brobdingnag (a country in the story-book where the people were sixty feet high), they could not help saying, Bless me, how little you are! If Homer, or Milton, or Sir Isaac Newton had been there, they would have said the same. Yet a man might be sixty feet high, without knowing more, or having one bit a greater soul, than Homer, and Milton, and Sir Isaac Newton.

261.         Men cannot absolutely despise wasps, or hornets, or gnats, or midges (creatures so little you can hardly see them); [77]  because these animals have all of them the power to sting, which makes our flesh become red, and itching, and inflamed, though it is no great mischief that these animals do us, and, if we are patient, the pain soon goes away. But there is a creature, called the breeze, or gad-fly, which stings the bull, and other strong and powerful beasts, particularly in hot countries, till it drives them mad. Perhaps this is, because these poor beasts are destitute of the understanding of human beings, by which we endure pain, and learn to wait with patience till it is over.

262.        Begone, miserable wretch, offspring of the dunghill! said a lion one day to a gad-fly. He thought it beneath him to suffer the majesty of his nature to be disturbed by such a pitiful insect.

263.        Do you despise me? said the gad-fly. I will teach you another time to think twice, before you determine who you shall despise. I declare war against you.

264.        The lion folded his legs under him with great composure, and lay down in the mouth of his den, without deigning to take any notice of what the gad-fly said. The insect began his hum, or drone, the signal that he was going to commence his attack. He took a circuit in the air, then lighted upon the lion's neck, and stung him. With another sweep he fastened on the lion's cheek, and drew blood there. The lion roared terribly; the strongest beasts ran to their hiding-places; all the inhabitants of the forest trembled; the whole was the work of a fly.

265.        The assailant was not yet content. He stung the lion behind his ears. He got within his nostril, and stung him there; that was worst of all. The lion could do nothing to the fly. He lashed his sides with his tail; his eyes struck fire: he gnashed with his teeth; he tossed the foam from his lips. At last, quite exhausted, he fell flat upon the ground, and writhed, and bit the dust with agony.

266.        Was not this an ill-natured insect, to teaze in this obstinate manner so noble and fine-spirited a creature as a lion, that had never done him any harm? I hope, while you are a little boy, you will never teaze a lame or a blind man, or a wild beast shut up in a cage, merely because he has not the power to cope with you. Every body knows that that is the act of a coward.

267.        This coward gad-fly was quite puffed up with his victory, and boasted that he was the greatest hero in the world. Till I came, said he, the lion was acknowledged the king of animals; but see with what ease I have subdued him! I defy all the world; let me see the fool-hardy creature that dares to contend with me!

268.        A spider in her hole heard this gasconading speech with amazement. She would have laughed, if nature had given to spiders the faculty of laughing. She thought she saw further into the darkness of future time, than the gad-fly.

269.        The battle was now finished, and the gad-fly, having sung the song of victory, flew away proudly, to tell the story to his mother and his relations. As he flew, he struck full tilt upon the spider's web, and was entangled in the thinnest and flimsiest net in the world: could any thing be more mortifying? The spider came out of her hole, seized the conqueror of the world, and put him to death in a moment. [78] 

THE ASTROLOGER IN A PIT.

William Mulready, "The Astrologerin a Pit" from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

270.         You have heard I believe what an astronomer is. He is a man that has measured the size and distance of the sun and stars. He has found out the true length of the year, and marked the seasons when to plough, when to sow, and when to reap, which, till he interfered with them, men were continually apt to blunder about. He can tell how long every star, in the orbit it describes, will be before it returns to the same place again. His art teaches men how to steer a ship at sea, and makes the sailor able, when he is out of sight of land, to tell by other means which way the place lies that he wants to go to. What an admirable man is an astronomer!

271.        When you have read this fable, you will never after be in danger of confounding, as some ignorant people do, an astronomer, with an astrologer. An astrologer is a man who pretends to foretell events before they happen, which nobody can really do. This he does by means of the stars, their conjunctions, and oppositions, and ascendants, and trines, and sextiles, and a great many comical things, which he talks of with a very grave face. [79]  So that both these sorts of people look at the same objects, and all the difference is, that one looks at them like a wise man, and the other like a fool.

272.        We know nothing of events before they happen, except as prudence may enable us to foresee the consequences of our own actions and those of others. I know that, if I study hard, I shall be a learned man, and, that, if I behave well, people will love me. But as to when I shall die, and how often I shall marry, and whether I shall win a prize in the lottery, and other foolish things that astrologers and fortune-tellers pretend to foretell, we know nothing at all. It is well for us that we do not. Life would be a very dull business, if we could foresee every calamity before it reached us, and if no agreeable accident ever took us by surprise.

273.        An astrologer was once walking in the fields at midnight, and looking up at the skies. It was a beautiful night, and every little star, which could at any time be discerned by the human eye, was visible now. He walked, and walked, so long, till at last he fell into a pit. A man's eyes cannot be every where; and, as this astrologer was intently gazing upon the stars, he could not see his path. I hope there was no water in the pit. But it was deep, and all that the poor fortune-teller could do, he could not help himself out again. He began to bawl and roar lustily for help. The country-people got out of their beds, and came to assist the poor man in distress. Some of them however said, It is nothing but our astrologer: could he watch the stars, which we are told are millions of miles off, and could not he see what was just under his nose? Does he pretend to tell us what will happen to us for all our lives, when he did not know what was going to happen to him the next moment?—If this had been an astronomer, instead of an astrologer, nobody could have laughed and jeered at him; or, if they had, they would only have exposed their own folly, in not considering how usefully and nobly he was employed.

274.        Most of these people went to bed again. One good-natured man and his son went however, and got a rope, and pulled the poor fortune-teller out of the pit. But this accident spoiled his trade. Nobody after this was foolish enough to enquire of him, how many wives, and how many children they should have. The astrologer was obliged to apply himself to some honest calling, in which he could earn money to buy beef and mutton, without pretending to explain to others what he knew nothing about himself.

THE HERDSMAN AND JUPITER.

William Mulready, "The Herdsman and Jupiter" from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

275.         I have told you several fables about the Heathen Gods, and I like to tell you them, because then, when you come to read the ancients, you will not feel yourself like a man in a strange country, that he never heard of before.

276.        In ancient times there lived a man, whose sole estate consisted in a handsome collection of bulls, oxen and cows. I forgot: he had too some goats, and perhaps a few sheep. I told you in the fable of the Shepherd's Boy and the Wolf, [80]  that, before ploughs were invented, or wheat and barley were cultivated, men lived by the feeding of cattle. The females gave them milk; of the milk they made butter and cheese; and, when they pleased, they killed an animal from their herd, and made a feast. There is a great deal about this way of living in the Bible, in the history of Abraham and the patriarchs. The patriarchs lived in tents; they fixed their abode by the side of a stream or a spring; this served the animals to drink, and the moisture made the grass grow for them to eat. They staid in one place as long as they liked; and then, taking down their tents, went away, and set them up again by another spring.

277.        The herdsman I was mentioning was very careful of his cattle; he counted them every morning when he turned them to pasture, and again every evening when he called them home to sleep. They multiplied and had young ones; the cows had calves, which, when they are a year or two old, are called steers or heifers; the goats had kids; and the sheep had lambs. The herdsman loved them all, and took care of them, and they were all happy.

278.        One day to his great sorrow he found a sweet young heifer was missing from his herd. It was the prettiest creature ever seen. It ate out of its master's hand, and licked the palm, and had a thousand winning, agreeable tricks. The herdsman always loved his heifer very much; and, now it was missing, he thought he loved it better than all his stock. He was not a young man; he had three sons as tall as himself; he left them in the care of his herds; and went far and near, every where he could think of, in search of his heifer.

279.        The Heathen nations, as I have told you, were many of them very pious. They were thankful to the Gods for all the good things of life, and they prayed to them, as you saw the waggoner do to Hercules, for what they had not got, and they thought would make them happy. But what seems strange to us, is their sacrifices. When they were thankful, they sacrificed of the first-fruits of the earth, and the first-born of their flocks; and when they prayed, they made sacrifices, as a sort of presents to the Gods to purchase their favours. They built up a short, broad pillar, like the pedestal of a statue, which was called an altar, and made a fire upon the top of it, and burned the fruits of the earth, and the choicest parts of the victims. They thought the Gods lived in the air a little above them, and that they were pleased when they snuffed the scent of the sacrifices. For this reason they often threw rich perfumes into the fires of the altar. As the Heathen Gods were of a purer and nobler nature than man, they fed upon a lighter and thinner diet, ambrosia, the sustenance of immortality, and were perhaps supposed to derive vigour and health from the smoke of the sacrifices which were offered to them.—I have before told you that the king of the Heathen Gods is Jupiter.

280.        Well; the herdsman we were talking of, despairing to succeed in finding his beloved heifer, and being exceedingly tired and weary with his unsuccessful efforts, fell upon his knees in the midst of the desart [81] , and vowed that, if Jupiter would be so gracious as to help him, and show him what was become of his heifer, he would sacrifice on his altar the tenderest kid of his flock.

281.        Jupiter, says the fable, granted the herdsman's prayer. The weary traveller had not gone many steps in the forest after rising from his knees, when he saw his dear heifer prostrate on the ground, and a furious lion bestriding and devouring him. He was just come up to this terrible object, before he perceived it. It was silly enough of the herdsman to be so curious what was become of his heifer: if it was lost to him for ever, it was no great matter how the thing had happened.

282.        You may think how the poor herdsman was frightened. Though the lion was very busy with his feast, yet the herdsman could not tell how soon he might leave it, and come and tear him to pieces. Besides the herdsman had bolted upon him at unawares. A nobleman does not like to be interrupted at his dinner by the coming in of a common labourer, and the herdsman did not know but the lion might be of the same way of thinking, and punish him accordingly. He fell upon his knees in great terror, prayed more earnestly than before, and as he had then vowed a kid from his flock for a sight of the heifer, so he now promised the best bull from his herd, if Jupiter would be so good as to take him away, and send him home safe to his three sons.

283.        Jupiter never intended any more than to give him a lesson, and therefore granted his second prayer as he had granted his first: and the herdsman remembered as long as he lived, that what ignorant mortals pray and wish for, and believe would make them exceedingly happy, is often the very worst thing that can happen to them.

THE OLD WOMAN AND HER MAIDS.

William Mulready, "The Old Woman and her Maids"[*] from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

284.         There are two purposes for which people keep servants. One is, that they may do the work of the house, keep the rooms clean, and dress the dinner, which rich people are not accustomed to do for themselves, and industrious people who make the most of their time, cannot do, without neglecting something of greater importance. Another purpose for which servants are kept, is that they may perform some sort of work, which, when finished, the master or mistress sells, and maintains the family with the money. This was particularly the custom in ancient times; and we even read of Lucretia, an illustrious and noble Roman matron, who was found late at night spinning among her maids. [82] 

285.        The old woman, whose story I am going to tell you, kept two maids on this plan: I dare say she was a Roman too, though her condition was humble. She did not want them to wait upon her; she could wait very well upon herself; but by their work and her own work, she turned a penny and lived very comfortably. She worked early and late, and she expected them to work too. I never knew a woman more industrious; I believe she was called the notable old woman of Tibur. The maids were by no means of their mistress's mind; they did not love work; as soon as her back was turned, the spinning-wheel stood still, and they began chattering; she persuaded and begged them to mind their work; and I believe sometimes she scolded them too. All was little enough.

286.        The old woman did not make them work late; she sent them to bed, and often sat up two or three hours after them, minding the wool and the yarn, putting away the work of one day, and preparing every thing for the next. And, as she was always the last to go to bed, so she was the first up in the morning. To be sure, with all the pains she took, she deserved to be comfortable.

287.        But, notwithstanding all the old woman's indulgence, the naughty maids did not mind. She thought they would be ashamed to see how much harder she worked: not they. Particularly these idle sluts loved their bed in the morning beyond every thing, and they thought it very hard that their mistress always came and called them early. If I had been she, I would have made them get up before me, and light the fire for me. The young should always do such services for the old.

288.        This old woman had no clock (clocks were unknown in ancient Rome), and there were no watchmen where she lived, to cry the hours. So she kept a very fine cock in her back-court; and, when he crowed (which was about five every morning), the old woman woke herself, and got up. These naughty maids observed this. They said to one another, Every morning, as sure as the morning comes, we are obliged to rise with the peep of day: this is too much. We have but one holiday in the week, to toss our poor limbs in bed, and stretch and tumble as we like. This is all owing to that good-for-nothing, impertinent cock, who will never cease his squalling, till we have stopped his windpipe. So they consulted together; and one evening, wicked creatures that they were, they stole out in the dark, and killed the cock. If the old woman had not found a remedy, there would have been an end of her comforts and theirs too.

289.        What do you think happened now? The first morning I believe the old woman overslept herself; she did not know her poor cock was dead. But, ever after, she rose herself, and called her maids, earlier than ever. All the care of the business was upon her; these idle maids never thought a bit; and, as she was afraid of being too late, she always kept on the right side in the affair. The maids complained; but she told them it was all their own fault; they deserved it for their cruelty; and other people would always find as they did, that "lazy folks take the most pains."

THE COCK AND THE FOX.

William Mulready, "The Cock and the Fox"[*] from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

290.         One more fable to bring us back to our favourite scene of the farm-yard, and to that standing emblem of all hypocrites and deceivers, the fox.

291.        We had a fable of the Fox and Raven. A raven is but a silly sort of a bird, and the fox wheedled him out of his cheese; though he had better have gone without cheese all the days of his life, than have shown himself such a double-tongued, crafty deluder as he did.

292.        I am pretty sure I have told you more than once that the fox is the great enemy of the farm-yard. Fowls, ducks, geese and turkies [83] , nothing come amiss to him. One day a fox saw a dunghill-cock [84]  perched upon a high tree, just where the branches divide themselves from the stem. An old cock is not quite so tender eating as a chicken; but the fox was very hungry, and felt that he had rather dine upon an old cock at two o'clock, than wait for chicken till six. But then how to get at the cock? The cock could fly down to the fox; but the fox could not climb up to the cock. So the fox thought of a strategem.

293.        Says the fox to the cock, Have you heard the news?

294.        What news? answered Mr. Redcrest. I have heard nothing, since Esop told me so much about animals.

295.        Oh, but this is spick and span new, that I have to tell you. A treaty of peace has just been concluded among all the animals.

296.        That is great news indeed, said the cock. Let me hear how it was.

297.        Why, there was a general council, and some one of all animals was there. They agreed how it is to be. The lion is no longer to tear the kid, the wolf is not touch the lamb, and even the spider has promised not to spread cobwebs for the flies.

298.        Brave news truly! cried the cock.

299.        Now all animals, continued the fox, may travel as safely by night as by day. There will be no more tricks upon travellers. The cat will not lie snug in a dark corner, and jump out in a moment to take a mouse in her claws. The weakest animal that lives may wander alone, and not want a stronger friendly one to take care of him. Every thing is holiday and rejoicings. I, who am famous at fire-brands, am to make a bonfire, and the glow-worm is to conduct the illuminations. Come, come down from your perch, my friend, and give me one hearty salute upon it, before I go.

300.        I am coming this moment, said the cock. The cock did not rightly know what to make of it. The fox told the story so plausibly, that he could not well think it was a fib. But he thought it something extraordinary.

301.        Just at that moment, the cock heard a noise at a great distance, and stretched out his neck to see what was the matter.

302.        What do you see? said the fox, who is always upon the alert, and was more afraid than ever just now, when he had been telling a lie.

303.        It is nothing, answered the cock, but a couple of very fine hounds, coming this way as fast as they can. I dare say they are couriers, to tell to their friends afar off, the news of the treaty you were mentioning.

304.        The fox knew that his news was all a lie. As soon as he heard the word hounds, he took to his heels as quick as the wind. He ran the better, because he was hungry and light. He did but just keep his distance. The cock by his true speaking saved the fox's life, and the hounds by accident saved the life of the cock; so there was nobody killed, though the fox had done his best to kill the honest fowl, and while he was telling his cock-and-a-bull story, had nearly been killed himself. I hope he never told a lie any more.

THE LION, THE COCK AND THE ASS.

William Mulready, "The Lion, the Cock and the Ass"[*] from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

305.         There is a comical story a-going in the world, that a lion is afraid of the crowing of a cock. It is not true. It is a tale of ancient times: and people necessarily made mistakes in some things, who lived a long while ago, and had not seen and heard so much as we have done now. I remember I heard this when I was a little boy; and I resolved that, if ever I had occasion to travel alone in the wilds of Africa, I would be sure to take a cock with me. I would not advise you, even with a cock in your company, to venture withinside [sic] a lion's den. In one of our fables we found a mouse frightened with the crowing of a cock; that was very natural; but I do not think a lion would much care for it. A fable however, as I told you before, is only a story very prettily invented: it is as true that a lion would run away from a cock, as that he talks English. Such books as these we write to amuse you; we do not intend to deceive any body.

306.         An ass and a cock then, as the fable says, had occasion to cross the wilds of Africa. I do not know what their business was; I suppose it was something of great importance. As their road lay together, they agreed to be fellow-travellers. They are both good-humoured fellows, and they jogged on very peaceably. The cock is the merrier animal of the two; the ass is very grave. But a merry gentleman and a serious one are often found to suit one another extremely. It would have been a pity that such honest travellers as these should have come to any harm. The cock always called his friend in the morning; and perhaps the ass, when the cock was tired, let him ride a little way; a cock would be no great burthen on the back of an ass.

307.        One morning soon after they set out, they met a lion. They were both frightened. Both however had recourse to the best means of defence with which nature had provided them; they could both make a great noise. The ass brayed so loud, that I wonder the lion could distinguish the crowing of the cock. The cock's note however was the shriller of the two, and well it was for them that it was so. The lion took to his heels, and never stopped till he got safe home to his wife and family.

308.        If the cock crowed and the ass brayed, when they were frightened, you may think what a noise they made, when they found themselves safe. You might have heard it a mile. They opened their pipes, and sung their song of rejoicing with all their hearts. They did not mind much about the harmony of their respective notes. It was something like a club I have heard of, where every man sings his own song, and the concert is all made up of discords. [85]  This among animals is well enough; but it is foolish for men to amuse themselves so absurdly.

309.        The ass began to reflect, as a grave gentleman should do, upon the adventure he had just met with. He had never heard the story of the lion being frightened with the crowing of a cock. Which of us was it, said he to himself, that drove the lion to flight? To be sure the cock makes a fine noise of his own; but so do I too. My braying is as good as the crowing of a cock at any time; I will bray with him for a wager. Suppose however we are upon a level in this; next comes the consideration of our figures. There is no comparison in that. When I see myself in the river, I think I look very like a judge: I am ten times as big as the cock, and therefore ten times as terrible. The ass was satisfied with this argument. If he had asked the cock, the cock could have told him better.

310.        On the strength of this the ass rose the next day before the cock. It was something difficult to do that; but he was determined upon his experiment. He was now in the very heart of the forest, where lions were as plenty as rabbits in a warren. I shall not go above a hundred yards, said the ass, before I shall see whether I am in the right. I will then wait for my fellow-traveller, or come back to him, and tell him what I have done.

311.        The ass had not gone above a hundred yards, when he met four very furious lions. Furious as you are, said he, I do not value you at a farthing. He then began one of his very best brays. The lions did not mind, and one of them had already marked him for his breakfast. He had not two minutes to live.

312.        The cock awoke as usual with the first ray of the sun, and missed his bedfellow. He began to fear all was not right, and flew from his roost as fast as possible. Just as he came in sight, the lion had given the ass his first hug. He had not hurt him, but he had laid him at his length upon the ground. The cock saw the danger; he set up a lusty crow; and the four lions ran away, just as their brother-lion had done the day before. It is a good thing to try experiments sometimes; but we should not get into such as are attended with too much hazard. If the cock had not been so wakeful and alert, this would have been the last experiment the ass would have made. I suppose the poor ass was less daring and more modest all his life afterward.

THE CONTRACTOR [86]  AND THE COBBLER.

William Mulready, "The Contractor and the Cobbler"[*] from Fables Ancient and Modern, Second Edition (1807); Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

313.         Once on a time there was a cobbler, the merriest fellow in the world. He was very poor; he bought his clothes in Monmouth Street, and was sometimes obliged to wear them till they were in rags. [87]  But he did not care; he owed nobody a shilling; he was honest and punctual in his dealings; he lived upon the labour of his own hands; and nobody had a right to frown at or to scold him. This cobbler sung from morning till night; he knew more merry and frolicksome songs than any other man in town; and, if you went by his stall, he sung with so careless and pleasant a note, you could not have helped stopping a minute or two on purpose to hear him.

314.        This cobbler worked in a stall; he was a dapper little fellow, but his stall was so narrow, that for the life of him he could not stand upright in it. It was at the corner of a street, and rested close against the wall of a magnificent mansion, which had just been bought by a contractor.

315.        A contractor is a man whose trade it is to furnish commodities for the fleets and armies. He does not patch up old shoes like a cobbler; but, if he has ever any thing to do with that article, he sends out fifty thousand pairs of shoes at a time to furnish twenty regiments. A man who sells things in these large quantities soon grows rich. But I do not know how it is, nobody much likes a contractor. He thrives upon the misfortunes of mankind. When ten thousand men are killed at a time, and the people at home are oppressed with taxes and well nigh starved, then he is comfortable. If it is war-time, he prays it may last; and if it is peace, he is afraid that, if war does not break out soon, he shall never be able to make the money he wants. What makes him happy, makes all other people miserable.

316.        As people had an evil eye upon this contractor, and wherever he met a human face, he met a frown; you may think he did not feel very comfortable. He had ornaments of diamonds, and services of gold: all would not do. Particularly he had very bad nights. I should think he had done something worse, than merely contracting for arms and accoutrements. I am afraid he had cheated the poor soldiers of the clothes that should have made them warm, and the victuals that should have made them strong. He lay hour after hour tossing and tumbling, fearful every day that some news would come that would make all the nation happy. Besides, he thought it was very ill-natured of people to look unkind upon him who had got so much money. He would have given a guinea for a smile; but a smile that is bought, is nothing like a smile that a man gives me for nothing.

317.        The contractor especially took a dislike to his neighbour, the cobbler. You never saw two countenances so unlike. The contractor's brow was always furrowed with care; the cobbler's always smoothed with content. The merry songs which the cobbler sung from morning to night vexed the contractor to the heart; he could not be merry, and the contentment of the cobbler he thought was a reproach to him. But what was worst of all was this: the contractor could never get to sleep till about six in the morning; and just at that hour the cobbler opened his stall, and began his carrol which might have awoke the dead. So the contractor sent to the cobbler to desire to speak to him. The cobbler came.

318.        My friend, said the rich man, I do not like you for a neighbour.

319.        I am surprised at that, said the cobbler; I have always been noted for my sociable and neighbourly qualities.

320.        Good-man cobbler, replied the contractor, how much may you earn by the year at your trade?

321.        Pize [88]  take me, if I can tell, said he. I get a few pence every day, enough to buy meat and drink, but I never learned to read and write, and how much it comes to by the year I never enquired.

322.        My friend, said the contractor, we cannot live together. Will you give up your stall to me?

323.        What good would that do you? answered the cobbler. Your worship does not mean to mend shoes. Besides, I cannot spare my stall. All my old customers live within a run of me; and if I were to go away, I should lose them all. I think it is better that you should remove. Any palace in any street will suit you. Your friends, if you have any, will come to you in their coaches. But I must live just where I do. All my friends walk a-foot.

324.        The contractor would not have condescended to parley thus with the cobbler in any country but England. But in England there are laws to defend the poor; and his rich neighbour would not have been suffered to take his stall by violence from the poor cobbler. It is true, the law is rather expensive; but this cobbler had always behaved well; and there were some gentlemen close by, that loved his merry heart, and would not have allowed him to be put upon.

325.        I will give you a hundred guineas for your stall, said the contractor; and spread them upon the table. [89] 

326.        The cobbler was tempted; he could not tell what was the matter with him. He would part with his stall, and he would not. At last, fool that he was, he took the money. Farewell, poor stall, said he, where I have worked, and my father before me! The stall was pulled down before his face.

327.        From this day the cobbler could not sing one merry song. He tried; but he could never get beyond the third note. Something seemed to stick in his throat. He did no work, but lived upon his hundred guineas. He walked about, like a restless ghost; he came every day to the place where his stall had stood; and I believe a tear generally swelled in his eye when he looked up, and saw it was gone.

328.        The contractor did not sleep a bit better, now that he had got rid of the singing cobbler. He removed to the warm climates of Italy, and thought he should be happier where nobody knew how he had come by his money. But he was deceived. In the mean time the good gentlemen I mentioned saw how the cobbler was altered, and asked him the reason. They built up his stall for him again. He stood every day to see the carpenters at work upon it; and the first time he sat down in it, he felt himself an altered man. He returned to his work just as before; he got paid for it in halfpence and shillings; but he could never after see a guinea, without stopping in his song, and feeling a twinge in his heart.

THE END.

NEW BOOKS FOR CHILDREN,

Published at the Juvenile Library, 41, Skinner Street, Snow Hill, and to be had of all Booksellers.

I.
NEW EDITIONS.
In two vols. 12mo, with 73 Engravings, Price 8s: and in one vol. 12mo, with 7 Engravings, Price 4s.
FABLES, ANCIENT AND MODERN,
By EDWARD BALDWIN, Esq.

329.        "These Fables are better calculated to excite the attention of Children, to amuse and instruct them, than any we have ever perused. We recommend them without reserve."

British Critic for November 1805.

330.         "They are unquestionably written on a much better plan for making an impression on, and conveying instruction to, those for whose use they are designed, than any other Fables, which have fallen under our cognizance."

Anti-Jacobin Review and Mag. for December 1805. [90] 

331.        "This is not a common-place collection, but possesses much novelty and interest. The style is far superior to that of any Fables in our language. The Engravings are all made from original designs, many of which abound with character."

General Review for February 1806.

332.        "The object of the author had been to adapt his style of composition to the gay and volatile tempers of the earliest youth, at the same time that it should tend to enrich the mind with knowledge, and to engage the affections on the side of virtue. Such a design is in the highest degree laudable, and the execution is worthy of so excellent a purpose."

Monthly Review for January 1807.

II.
En 12mo, avec sept Gravûres, Prix 4s.
FABLES, ANCIENNES et MODERNES,
Traduites de l'Anglois de M. Baldwin.

Notes

[1] No. 41, Skinner Street: This is the address of the Godwins' bookshop. BACK

[2] Literary Journal for July 1806: Though laudatory, the full review is not as glowing as this excerpt might suggest. While it praises the work for a number of reasons, it reacts ambivalently to its presentation of facts: "The style is familiar and playful; the facts are for the most part represented in a very proper light" (emphasis ours). See Review of The History of England, for the Use of Schools and Young Persons, by Edward Baldwin, Literary Journal 2, no. 1 (July 1806): 112. BACK

[3] British Critic for July 1806: Similar to the Literary Journal, the British Critic praised the book overall but offered some criticism of its illustrations: "of the engravings we cannot speak in very high terms; but the book is remarkably well printed." See Review of The History of England, for the Use of Schools and Young Persons, by Edward Baldwin, British Critic 28 (July 1806): 98. BACK

[4] Monthly Review for October 1806: In the excerpted portion of this review Godwin selectively chooses from what is, in fact, rather weak praise: "If this gentleman be not a happy and successful preceptor of youth, the failure is not owing to a want of either ability or information, but, we apprehend, to a misconception of the nature of the function. He appears to be of opinion that what is easy in the perusal is composed with facility, the directly opposite of which is known to be the case by persons of sound taste and judgment; in no performances, not excepting those of the most scientific and didactic kind, ought accuracy and precision to be more sedulously observed than in those which are destined for children; and in no works are aukward [sic] playfulness, coarse expressions, and dubious sentiments to be more carefully avoided. We also think that authors, who devote their labours to children, should be sparing of opinions, and confine themselves very much to facts. If the bias of a writer, however, should tinge productions of this sort, we should least quarrel with it when, like that of Mr. B. it is in favor of the rights of the subject." See Review of The History of England, for the Use of Schools and Young Persons, by Edward Baldwin, Monthly Review 51 (October 1806): 205. BACK

[5] British Critic for April 1807:The British Critic enthusiastically praised The Pantheon; or, Ancient History of the Gods of Greece and Rome. Intended to Facilitate the Understanding of the Classical Authors, and of the Poets in General; for the Use of Schools and Young Persons of Both Sexes. While most literary reviews contained at least one criticism, the British Critic offers only commendation. See Review of The Pantheon; or, Ancient History of the Gods of Greece and Rome, by Edward Baldwin, British Critic 29 (April 1807): 452. BACK

[6] Critical Review for May 1807: The Critical Review's assessment of Lamb's work is much longer than other periodical reviews, consisting of three pages rather than the scant paragraph or two devoted, for example, to the British Critic's reading of The Pantheon or the Monthly Review's assessment of The History of England. The Critical Review praises Tales from Shakspeare [sic] in very strong terms as not only a rival to Robinson Crusoe in terms of popularity but also as an alternative to the didactic fiction by women writers currently sold to children: "We will not scruple to say, that these little volumes are more calculated to conquer the distaste in children for learning, than any, excepting the excellent work of De Foe above mentioned which have yet appeared; that in suppressing the bad passions 'envy, hatred, and malice' and in humanizing and correcting the heart, they will effect more than all the cant that ever was canted by Mrs. Trimmer and Co. in all their most canting and lethargic moments" (98). See Review of Tales From Shakspeare [sic], by Charles Lamb, Critical Review 11 (May 1807): 97-99. BACK

[7] And will be Published before Christmas 1807: With the exception of Rural Walks (for which no record of publication exists), the works listed under this heading were all published in 1808. BACK

[8] The Stories of Old Daniel: Written by Margaret King Moore (1772-1835). Moore had been a pupil of Mary Wollstonecraft, and she served as a model for one of Mrs. Mason's pupils in Wollstonecraft's Original Stories, from Real Life; with Conversations, Caluclated to Regulate the Affections, and Form the Mind to Truth and Goodness (1788). BACK

[9] Dramas for Children: Translated by Mary Jane Godwin. Like the other works in this list, Dramas for Children was not published until 1808. BACK

[10] A note on the illustrations to volume II: Nine of the illustrations in the Pforzheimer Collection’s copy of volume II were graffitied by an unknown, certainly juvenile hand sometime before the collection acquired this copy. Some of the illustrations – like those to "The Lion and the Man" and "The Fox and the Mask" – have been carefully filled in, as one might see in a child’s coloring book. In "The Contractor and the Cobbler," "The Ignoramus and the Student," "The Cock and the Fox," and "The Lion, the Cock and the Ass," the young artist has applied some details with a reddish-brown crayon or pencil: highlights on human cheeks, colored feathers on roosters, and similar, minor additions. In "The Old Woman and Her Maids," he or she has added what appears to be blood pooling below the "good-for-nothing, impertinent cock" that the lazy maids have killed, a change which calls attention to the violence of the fable’s villains. The additions to "The Travellers and the Bear" and "The Lion and the Gad-fly" are decidedly scatological in tone; in both illustrations, the former owner has used the same reddish-brown crayon for humorous, rather than editorial, effects. All of this graffiti emphasizes that this book, like all of the Juvenile Library books, were meant to be used and loved – sometimes even destructively – by actual children. BACK

[11] You have been told before that a lion is a generous creature: See "The Lion and the Mouse" in volume one. BACK

[12] I go where I please...you are afraid of being starved with hunger and cold: Also known as the "Forrester and the Lion," "The Lion and the Hunter" and "The Old Man and the Lion," this narrative takes up a short paragraph in Samuel Croxall's and Sir Roger L'Estrange's Fables. The dispute between the lion and the man is merely noted: the two cannot agree on who is the superior creature. Godwin's version, however, nuances the discussion: the question of superiority is not determined by brute strength but by each creature's level of dependence on others to sustain life. The lion's reasoning that he is a free creature and man a slave mirrors Godwin's discussion of fortitude in An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice. For further discussion, see William Godwin, An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, and Its Influence on Morals and Happiness, vol. 2, 3rd ed. (1798), 8-10. For older versions of Aesop's Fables, see Samuel Croxall, Fables of Aesop and Others: Translated into English. With Instructive Applications; and a Print Before Each Fable, 16th ed. (London: 1798) and Sir Roger L'Estrange, Fables of Aesop and Other Eminent Mythologists: With Morals and Reflections (London: 1738). All references are to these editions. BACK

[13] Hercules and the Nemean Lion: In Greek mythology, the Nemean lion is one of the ten labors of Hercules. Finding his weapons useless against the great lion of Nemea, Hercules chokes the lion with his bare hands. Croxall and L'Estrange do not name the subject of the statue in their versions of this fable. BACK

[14] The masks of the ancients...the mask looked always the same: In ancient Greece, actors wore masks (or Prosopon) when performing onstage. While no masks have survived from classical antiquity, it is thought that Prosopon were made of linen and plaster. Surviving images on pottery show that theatrical masks fit over the head and featured a stylized expression, with holes for the pupils and mouth. BACK

[15] There are some pretty boys and girls...What a pity it is there are no brains: Godwin expresses an oft-repeated concern among didactic educators about the long-term developmental effects of fashionably educating children or exposing them to society at too young an age. This topic is explored in explicit detail in children's stories and educational treatises, including but not limited to: Stéphanie de Genlis's Adelaide and Theodore; or Letters on Education: Containing All the Principles Relative to Three Different Plans of Education (1783) and Tales of the Castle: or, Stories of Instruction and Delight (1785); Thomas Day's The History of Sandford and Merton (1786); Mary Wollstonecraft's Thoughts on the Education of Daughters: with Reflections on Female Conduct, in the More Important Duties of Life (1787); Elizabeth Pinchard's The Blind Child, or Anecdotes of the Wyndham Family (1791) and The Two Cousins, a Moral Story (1794); Charlotte Smith's Rural Walks (1795) and Rambles Farther (1796); and Maria Edgeworth's The Parent's Assistant; or, Stories for Children (1796) and Moral Tales for Young People (1800). This issue is also treated in a number of sentimental novels, ranging from Frances Burney's Cecilia, or Memoirs of an Heiress (1782) and Camilla, or a Picture of Youth (1796) to Jane Austen's Emma (1815). Maria Edgeworth extensively cogitates the miseries of fashionable education in Belinda (1800). BACK

[16] Cocknies: In Godwin's time (as now), "Cockneys" were residents of East London born within in the sound of the bells of St Mary-le-Bow. The term carried negative connotations of brashness, courseness, and effeminacy. BACK

[17] The two moles of the harbor: According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a part of the harbor's structure, most likely part of the breakwater or jetty leading into the harbor. BACK

[18] Colossus of Rhodes: The traveller could not have seen the Colossus, as it was destroyed in 226 BCE. BACK

[19] A cock in a farmyard...game cock: According to the Oxford English Dictionary, dunghill cocks are common barn fowl and, therefore, distinguished from game cocks, which are either specifically bred for and trained to fight or descended from a breed suitable for fighting. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the term dunghill cock also could be used to refer to a cowardly or spiritless man. BACK

[20] Barn door fowl: According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term barn-door fowl refers to common breeds of domestic chickens or turkeys. BACK

[21] Derbyshire Spar: According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Derbyshire spar was a piece of flourite—a transluscent, typically crystalline mineral—often sold as souvenirs to domestic tourists. BACK

[22] What ease and lightness of heart does he enjoy...all the precious stones in the world: Croxall's version contains an entirely different moral upon the value of education: "There are several People in the World, that pass, with some, for well-accomplished Gentlemen, and very pretty Fellows, though they are as great Strangers to the true uses of Virtue and Knowledge, as the Cock upon the Dunghill is to the real Value of the Jewel. He palliates his Ignorance, by pretending that his Taste lies another Way: But whatever gallant Airs People may give themselves upon these Occasions, without Dispute, the solid Advantages of Virtue, and the durable Pleasures of Learning, are as much to be preferred before other Objects of the Senses, as the finest brilliant Diamond is above a Barley-Corn" (2). BACK

[23] Brought to bed: An expression for childbirth, specifically meaning to give birth. BACK

[24] Oak: The national tree of England and often used to symbolize England or its monarchy. BACK

[25] This Fable is intended to show... the despot-usurper who succeeded him: Godwin discusses the vulnerability of kings in his chapter "The Private Life of a Prince" in the second volume of An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice. BACK

[26] Turkies: Godwin likely meant a guinea fowl, a ground nesting bird that resembles a partridge. BACK

[27] Peacock: Female peacocks do not have the brightly plumed tails with "a hundred eyes;" only male peacocks do. BACK

[28] Worry him out of their company: According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word "worry" refers to violent attacks ranging from harrassment (in menacing word or action) to injury or even death through biting and shaking (in particular for animals such as wolves or dogs) or otherwise choking or strangling. BACK

[29] Yet, though the Greeks and Romans were so ignorant... as we can be: Godwin later wrote a textbook of Greek and Roman mythology entitled The Pantheon; or, Ancient History of the Gods of Greece and Rome. Intended to Facilitate the Understanding of the Classical Authors, and of the Poets in General. For the Use of Schools, and Young Persons of Both Sexes (1806). He takes a similar approach in The Pantheon in historizing Greek and Roman mythology as a precursor to Christianity rather than simply rejecting or vilifying it. As he writes in the 1810 edition of The Pantheon: "If the Greeks were unacquainted with the Christian God, the 'Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth,' the omniscient author of the universe; if their Gods appear limited, fantastic, and in this tremendous comparison contemptible;—yet they had the happiness to regard all nature, even the most solitary scenes, as animated and alive, to see every where around them a kind and benevolent agency, and to find on every side motives for contentment, reliance and gratitude" (82). BACK

[30] There was once a very handsome young boy... Poor young gentleman: The child beset with ennui because of overindulgent parents was a common figure in late eighteenth-century children's books, seen in works such as Stéphanie de Genlis's Tales of the Castle: or Stories of Instruction and Delight (1785) and Thomas Day's Sanford and Merton, a Work Intended for the Use of Children (1786). These children often are indistuinguishable from those whose manners have been spoiled by permissive parents, though the former tend to be more restless and easily bored. For an example of how childhood wealth breeds adult apathy, see Maria Edgeworth's Ennui (1809). BACK

[31] The only sister of Alexander the Great: Cleopatra of Macedon (ca. 357 BCE – 308 BCE), the daughter of King Philip of Macedon and Olympias of Epirus, was Alexander's only full sibling. She was married to her uncle, Alexander I of Epirus, the brother of her mother. BACK

[32] Sarcenet: a very fine, soft silk cloth. BACK

[33] Trencherman: According to the Oxford English Dictionary, an eater or feeder, in some instances refering to a dependent or hanger-on of a wealthy patron. BACK

[34] Venison and partridge: See footnote 25 of volume 1. Venison would have been rare, if not unobtainable, for the majority of British people in this period because of legal restrictions on hunting. Deer hunting without permission was punishable by law. It also was illegal to buy or sell deer meat. Wild partridges would also have been difficult to obtain: like deer and rabbits, these birds gradually came to be seen in law as private property. In addition, after 1762, partidges could only be hunted between 1 February and 1 September. For more information see P.B. Munsche, Gentlemen and Poachers: The English Game Laws 1671-1831 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981). BACK

[35] Blackamoor: Though an offensive term today, the word "blackamoor" was used in the eighteenth century to refer to a black African or, more generally, anyone with dark skin. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word likely stems from the term "moor," which came into usage in the Middle Ages to describe native North Africans, especially Muslims of mixed Berber and Arab heritage. Despite the recognition as early as the sixteenth century that "white Moors" existed, Moors were typially thought to have very dark complexions. BACK

[36] A very foolish woman once had a black footman: In Croxall's version, the black footman is described explicitly as a slave. Godwin, however, describes him as a servant, thereby sidestepping the issue of whether he is enslaved or free. If Nango lived in England in 1805, he would have been a free man. Slavery was effectively abolished in England following the June 1772 ruling by Lord Mansfield, Chief Justice of the King's Bench, that a slave could not legally be compelled to return to the colonies once on English soil. While his decision was perceived as having outlawed slavery in England, slavery remained legal in many colonial islands and the American south, and Britain still participated in the slave trade until the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833. BACK

[37] How came you of that colour?... many thousand miles off under a burning sun: While Nango explains to Miss Moggridge that his skin color is the result of having been born in Africa, their dispute reflects differing perceptions of race in the late eighteenth century. As Dror Wahrman explains, in the early part of the eighteenth century, differences in skin color were thought, in large part, to result from environmental differences: African people had dark skin because they lived in a hot and sunny place (or, as Nango describes it, "under a burning sun"); thus their skin could become lighter if they moved to a cooler, less sunny area. Beginning the 1770s and 1780s, however, differences in skin color were not only increasingly described as inherent but also as indicative of mental or moral difficiencies. See Dror Wahrman, The Making of the Modern Self: Identity and Culture in Eighteenth-Century England (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004), 88-117. BACK

[38] Miss Moggridge had never heard of anything further off than London... she had never seen a globe or a map in her life: In Croxall's version, the master is a man. Changing the gender to a young woman, Godwin then offers a pointed—if commonly expressed—critique of women's education as too focused on fashionable accomplishments at the expense of intellectual engagement. Miss Moggridge's education appears to have been unusually deficient. According to Mary Wollstonecraft in Thoughts on the Education of Daughters: With Reflections on Female Conduct, in the More Important Duties of Life (London: 1787), young women typically learned some geography, albeit—she complains—in too facile a manner (25). Miss Moggridge, though, has had no access to maps or globes and has no knowledge of geography outside of England. BACK

[39] The poor youths wept exceedings... he was buried: While burial customs varied by region and socioeconomic status in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, it was common—in fact, almost universal—for the body to be laid out for public view for a few days. This period of time allowed community members and friends to pay their final respects to the deceased before burial. While many bodies were buried in coffins, this was not always the case. The poor often could not afford a coffin, in which case they would use a communal parish coffin for the funeral and then return it after the burial. It is not clear whether the young men in this story have purchased a coffin for their father; the fact that they screw the coffin down suggests that they may have done so. BACK

[40] Mattock: According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a gardening tool with a chisel edge on one side of the head and and adze-like blade on the other, used for breaking up ground. BACK

[41] In my mind... without their assistance: Godwin's moral differs in many ways from that of Croxall, who stresses independence not for its own sake but because of the unpredictability of friends: "Never depend upon the Assistance of Friends and Relations in any Things which you are able to do yourself, for nothing is more fickle and uncertain" (72). BACK

[42] I am now going to tell you a rather serious fable...when both we and our book are perfectly grave: Eighteenth-century children's books and educational treatises frequently stressed the importance of integrating pleasure and instruction. John Locke's Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1693) recommended this pedagogical method, and John Newbery's books are celebrated as exemplifying it. In a famous letter to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charles Lamb railed against "the cursed Barbauld crew" for blighting children's imaginations with dull moralizing and scientific fact (see the Introduction). Yet, Anna Barbauld, Mary Wollstonecraft, Maria Edgworth, and others equally sought to educate children through delighting their imaginations. BACK

[43] The history of the world is about five or six thousand years old: Godwin was writing at a time in which the emergent science of geology threw into question the traditional biblical timeline. In 1731 Conyers Middleton became the first Woodwardian Professor of Geology (or "Professor of Fossils") at Cambridge and lectured that fossil records could be used to question the veracity of biblical accounts of the Flood. Scottish geologist James Hutton (1726-1797) is credited with establishing the basis of modern geology with his Theory of the Earth or an Investigation of the Laws Observable in the Composition, Dissolution, and Restoration of Land upon the Globe (read at meetings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1785 and published in 1788) and examinations of Siccar Point in Berwickshire, Scotland, the location of "Hutton's Unconformity" (or break in the sedimentary record). Excavations of Siccar Point and Hutton's discovery of fish fossils in the Salisbury Crags of Edinburgh helped support the theory of uniformitarianism, in which the Earth (indeed, the universe) is understood as operating by a self-maintaining, cyclical series of events based on natural history instead of a biblical chronology. See Keith Montgomery, "Siccar Point and Teaching the History of Geology" Journal of Geoscience Education, 51 no. 5 (November 2003): 500-505. For more on the role of geology in contemporary politics, see Alan Bewell's Wordsworth and the Enlightenment: Nature, Man, and Society in Experimental Poetry (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989). BACK

[44] The fabulous times: According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the era in which people told and/or listened to fables or myths. Here, Godwin uses the term to locate as a point in ancient Greco-Roman history when individuals began writing down oral stories that traditionally had been told to explain natural phenomena. He uses this term in a similar way in The History of England (1806). BACK

[45] In the fabulous times... upon earth: See Godwin's The Pantheon. BACK

[46] Silenus, the name of one of them, is introduced in the poems of Virgil: Godwin refers to Virgil's sixth Eclogue, in which he relates ancient myths to a group of shepherds. BACK

[47] Desert: Godwin most likely uses "desert" in this instance to refer to an uninhabited and/or wild region rather than to the barren, arid, sandy landscape we associate with deserts. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word did not acquire its modern connotation until recently; in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, it still referred more generally to uncultivated areas of land. BACK

[48] Monkie and apes... disagreeable representations of the human species: The similarities between monkeys and humans were well recognized in the eighteenth century, usually with varying degrees of anxiety. In Barr's Buffon. Buffon's Natural History, Containing a Theory of the Earth, a General History of Man, of the Brute Creation, and of Vegetables, Minerals, &c., vol. 5 (London: 1792), Georges Buffon, for example, sees monkies and humans as having the same origins but argues that monkies have degenerated (184). Similarly, the yahoos of Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels (1726) resemble monkeys in appearance and are meant to signify the moral deterioration of humanity. BACK

[49] Of each of these statues you may see casts at Somerset House: See footnote 74 in volume 1. BACK

[50] Opera house: In the early nineteenth century, operas and ballets were performed at the King's Theatre. Ballet and opera both underwent significant developments in the eighteenth century in England and Europe, including but not limited to their gradual separation into distinct performance genres. For further information on the history of the King's Theatre and the opera see Ian Woodfield's Opera and Drama in Eighteenth-Century London: The King's Theatre, Garrick, and the Business of Performance (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001). BACK

[51] Pumpion: An archaic spelling for "pumpkin." BACK

[52] Cockered: According to the Oxford English Dictionary, to indulge someone's whims or otherwise to pamper. BACK

[53] It was at that time in the rainy season, that the river Rhone...had overflowed its banks: The Rhone river is one of the great rivers of Europe, running from Switzerland through France and emptying into the Mediterranean. While other rivers are recognized today as faster than the Rhone, this river is, in fact, known for its strong currents. BACK

[54] the Hermit and the Bear: See the fable of the "Hermit and the Bear" in Volume 1. BACK

[55] There are however few of them that, like the snail... whenever they like: Snails' shells are attached to their bodies, so they cannot, despite Godwin's claim, "come out of their shells and creep back again whenever they like." BACK

[56] Butler: Godwin is referring to Samuel Butler's Hudibras, Part II (1664), Canto II:

The sun had long since in the lap
Of Thetis taken out his nap,
And, like a lobster boil'd, the morn
From black to red began to turn.
BACK

[57] Hunks: According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a derogatory epithet for a grumpy, miserly old man. BACK

[58] Priming: A gun would have been prepared for firing by placing gunpowder in the pan of the firearm. Godwin suggests that the old man has been walking with his gun primed (ready to discharge at a moment's notice), but is unable to fire because his gunpowder had fallen out along the way. BACK

[59] A man who does not love reading and study... is what we call an Ignoramus: Teaching children to love reading and studying is the foundation to Godwin's system of education in The Enquirer, Reflections on Education, Manners, and Literature (1797) and "Letter of Advice to a Young American," and it provides the impetus for William Rouffigny's escape in Fleetwood: or, the New Man of Feeling (1805). As Godwin states in The Enquirer: "The true object of juvenile education [is] to teach no one thing in particular, but to provide, against the age of five and twenty a mind well regulated, active, and prepared to learn" (5). BACK

[60] Bowling-green: A smooth, level lawn or green for playing bowls upon. These activities connote that Ignoramus is a n'er-do-well who fritters away his time in drinking and sports. BACK

[61] Quiz: According to the Oxford English Dictionary, this term refers either to an eccentric person whose appearance is strange or ridiculous or to a person who ridicules or mocks others. BACK

[62] Rubbers at bowls: According to the Oxford English Dictionary, rubbers are a set of games (usually three or five), the last of which is used to decide the winner when the opponents have won an equal number of games. BACK

[63] But the man who aspires to be wise... almost from infancy: Godwin discusses the importance of early education at great length in The Enquirer. As Godwin argues: "an awakened mind is one of the most important purposes of education" (5), and should be encouraged as soon as possible in children. "When a child is born, one of the earliest purposes of his institutor ought to be, to awaken his mind, to breathe a soul into the, as yet, unformed mass" (3). BACK

[64] Tamerlane, Scanderbeg and Alexander the Great: Tamerlane or Timur (1336 –1405 BCE) was a Mongol-Turkic ruler and founder of the Timurid dynasty. Scanderbeg or George Kastrioti Skanderbeg (1405 – 1468 BCE) was an Albanian national hero who defended Albania from the Ottoman empire. He was later the subject of Vivaldi's Scanderbeg (1718). BACK

[65] The wound festered; it turned to a mortification; and he died: At first glance, Godwin appears to describe what we would today call tetanus, now a preventable and treatable bacterial infection. (Eighteenth-century medical practitioners also used the word "tetanus" but did so to refer to the involuntary twitching and spasms associated today with the early stages of the disease). However, given that he uses the terms "fester" and "mortification," Godwin more likely attributes the young man's death to gangrene. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the term "mortification" referred to localized tissue death caused by gangrene. Furthermore, medical practitioners in this period recognized that lacerations could lead to gangrene. For more information about eighteenth-century conceptions of tetanus and gangrene, see William Nisbet's The Clinical Pharmacopoia [sic]; or, General Principles of Practice and Prescription (1800). BACK

[66] He deserves to be talked of for his beauty...one of the greatest delicacies that a king can put on his table: While venison was certainly a rare and expensive meat in the eighteenth century, Godwin may be exaggerating when he describes it as "one of the greatest delicacies that a king can put on his table." According to Munsche, the Game Act of 1671 effectively transferred the ownership of deer from the king to the aristocracy and landed gentry. This law meant that qualified gentry who owned deer could hunt them, though the near extinction of wild deer meant that the majority of deer hunted in England in the eighteenth-century were "carted deer," who often were not killed but reused for hunts. BACK

[67] Robin Hood: Then as now, Robin Hood was a popular symbol of defiance, or what in a 3 February 1818 letter John Keats calls the "Spirit of Outlawry." BACK

[68] If a game-keeper... I do not remember that dogs are once mentioned in all the stories there are about them: After 1671 deer were considered private property; large estates, therefore, often employed game keepers to prevent unlawful hunting and theft. It not only was illegal for people to hunt deer without permission, but it was also illegal to own a pack of dogs. According to Munsche, the Game Act of 1671 forbade the ownership of hunting dogs among people who did not meet the property requirements for hunting. A 1707 statute specified that unlawful ownership of certain hunting dogs was punishable by a £5 fine or imprisonment without bail for up to three months (for the first offence). While this statute does not appear to have been repealed, statutes in 1796 and 1808 imposed taxes on individuals who owned more than two hunting dogs (182). BACK

[69] Treillage or Espalier: According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a trellis or a lattice. An espalier can refer either to the lattice work itself or to the fruit trees trained to grow upon the lattice. It can also refer to a row of trees that have been trained to grow into a lattice-like form. BACK

[70] Argus: Argus Panoptes, the mythical giant with a hundred eyes, was Hera's servant and watchman. BACK

[71] Sentiment: While this word denoted an opinion or an expressed feeling, the Oxford English Dictionary observes that in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it typically connoted those feelings confined to intellectual subjects or ideal objects. BACK

[72] His urine... precious stones: The mythic Lapis lyncurius, otherwise known as a hyacinth or yellow zircon, was thought to derive from lynx urine. See Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book 15, 391-417: "Vanquished India gave lynxes to Bacchus of the clustered vines, and they say that whatever their bladder emits, changes to stone, and solidifies on contact with air." BACK

[73] He was formerly thought to be totally blind: In the sixth volume of Barr's Buffon. Natural History, Containing a Theory of the Earth, a General History of Man, of the Brute Creation, and of Vegetables, Minerals, &c. (1792) Buffon asserts that moles can see despite the small size of their eyes (234). In Natural History, for the Use of Schools (1800), William Fordyce Mavor makes a similar claim. As he explains: "It was long the vulgar opinion, that the mole was wholly blind; but by the assistance of the microscope it has been found, that though its eyes are small, and almost concealed, they possess every part requisite for distinct vision" (103). BACK

[74] Mine: In this instance, the word "mine" most likely describes a subterraneous passageway burrowed by the mole rather than a manmade cavern built for the extraction of coal and other resources. See the Oxford English Dictionary for further information. BACK

[75] Clog: According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a heavy block or piece of wood attached to the head or neck of a man or a beast to impede motion. BACK

[76] Dog in the Manger: See the fable of the "Dog in the Manger" in Volume 1. BACK

[77] Midge: According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a small insect that resembles a gnat. BACK

[78] The spider came out...put him to death in a moment: In Dodsley's version, the fly is merely caught in the spider's web. Godwin discusses the vulnerability of tyrants and kings at length in An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice. BACK

[79] Trines and Sextiles: According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a trine is an astrological term denoting two heavenly bodies, which are 120 degrees distant from each other and therefore take up one third of the zodiac; the word sextile is used both in astrology and astronomy to describe two celestial objects that are 60 degrees apart from one another in the sky or that take up one sixth of a circle. BACK

[80] Shepherd's Boy and the Wolf: See the fable of the "Shepherd's Boy and the Wolf" in Volume 1. BACK

[81] Desart: According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a commonly accepted spelling of desert in the eighteenth century. See also footnote 47 above. BACK

[82] Lucretia: Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus relate the story of how virtuous Lucretia (who stayed at home spinning with her maids while other matrons caroused) was raped by Sextus Tarquinius, son of the last king of Rome. She committed suicide as a result, and her death sparked the series of events that led to the overthrow of the monarchy and establishment of the Roman Republic. BACK

[83] Turkies: See footnote 26 above. BACK

[84] Dunghill-cock: See footnote 19 above. BACK

[85] Club I have heard of: Godwin could use the word "club" to refer to an association of people joined together in a common interest and/or to the building used exclusively by this group for gatherings. The Oxford English Dictionary notes that both senses of the word existed in late eighteenth-century England. The exact meaning in this passage is unclear, as the editors have found no evidence of a musical club of this nature in this period. BACK

[86] Contractor: According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a contractor is someone who provides labor, supplies, or services by contractual agreement usually for the government or other public entities. The contractor in this story supplies basic goods to armies and navies; thus, Godwin argues, he makes money on the personal and financial sufferings of others. BACK

[87] Monmouth Street: A relatively down-market street in Covent Garden known for its second-hand clothing trade. BACK

[88] Pize: An exclamatory expression. The Oxford English Dictionary observes that it may derive from the word "pest," but its origin is ultimately unknown. BACK

[89] A hundred guineas: According to measuringworth.com, a hundred guineas in 1805 would have the purchasing power of £6,650 in 2012. It would have given the cobbler the relative "prestige status" of someone earning £106,000 today. BACK

[90] Anti-Jacobin Review and Mag. for December 1805: The Anti-Jacobin Review praises Fables for truly delighting children with its method of narration: "These fables are unquestionably written on a much better plan for making an impression on, and for conveying useful instruction to the minds of those infants for whose use they are designed, than any other fables which have fallen under our cognizance. The dry conciseness, and abrupt terminations of other fables are judiciously avoided in these, which are told in a manner particularly well calculated to interest the feelings, and to amuse the fancy, while they inform the mind of the child. But as an example is better than a thousand observations, we shall extract the common fable of the Dog in the Manger, that our readers may be able to compare it with the same fable as usually told, and from such comparison deduce the advantages of this new mode of narration" (420-421). What follows, however, is not the type of comparison modern readers might expect, but a long quote from Godwin's story. See Review of Fables Ancient and Modern, Adapted to the Use of Children from Three to Eight Years of Age, by Edward Baldwin, The Anti-Jacobin Review and Magazine 22 (December 1805): 420-421. BACK

Original publication date

1805
1807

Published @ RC

July 2014