תמונות בעמוד

were on the eve of a bloody battle." The Alban general, to prevent the effusion of blood, sproposed to Hostilius, then king of Rome, to refer the destiny of both nations to three combatants of each side, and that empire should be the prize of the conquering party. The propofal was accepted. The Albans named the Curiatii, three brothers, for their champions. The three'lons of Horatius were chosen for the Romans.

The treaty being concluded, the three brothers, on each side, arrayed themselves in armour, according to agreement. Each fide exhorts its respective champi. ons; representing to them, that their gods, their country, their parents, every individual in the city and army, now fixed their eyes on their arms and valour. The generous combatants, intrepid in themfelves, and animated by such exhortations, march forth, and stood between the two armies. The armies placed themselves before their respective camps, and were less solicitous for any present danger than for the consequence of this action. They therefore gave their whole attention to a fight, which could not but alarm them. The signal is given. The combatants engage with hostile weapons, and show themselves inspired with the intrepidity of two mighty armies. Both parties, equally insensible of their own danger, had nothing in view but the slavery or liberty of their country, whose destiny depended upon their conduct. At the firit onset, the clashing of their armour, and the terrific gleam of their swords, filled the fpectators with such trepidation, fear, and horrour, that the faculty of speech and breath seemed totally fufpended, even while the hope of fuccess inclined to neither side. But, when it came to a closer engagement, not only the motion of their bodies, and the furious agitation of their weapons, arrested the eyes of the spectators, but their opening wounds, and the streaming blood. Two of the Romans fell, and expired at the feet of the Albani, who were all three wounded. · Upon their fall, the Al ban army shouted for joy, while the Roman legions remained without hope, but not without concern, be. ing eagerly anxious for the surviving Roman, then surrounded by his three adversaries. Happily he was not wounded; but not being a match for three,


though fuperioor to any of them fingly, he had recourle to a ttratagem for dividing them. He betook himself to flight; rightly supposing, that they would follow him at unequal distances, as their trength, after lo much loss of blood, would permit. Having fled a confiderable way from the spot where they fought, he looked back, and saw the Curiatii pursuing at a considerable distance from one another, and one of them very near him. He turned with all his fury upon the foremost ; and, while the Alban army, were crying out to his brothers to tuccour him, Horatius, having presently difpatched the first enemy, rushed forward 10 a second victory. The Romans encourage their champion by. such acclamations, as generally proceed from unexpected success. He, on the other hand, haftens to put an end to the second combat, and Dew another, before the third, who was not far off, could come up to his afliftance. There now remained only one combatant on each side. The Roman, who had still received no burt, fired by gairing a double victory, advances with great confidence to his third combat. His antagonist, on the other hand, being weakened by loss of blood, and spent with running so far, could scarce drag his legs after him, and, being already dispirited by the death of his brothers, presents his breast to the victor, for it could not be called a conteft. Two, (lays the exulting Roman) two I have sacrificed to the manes of my

brothers ;-the third I will offer up to my country, that henceforth Rome may give laws to Alba. Upon which he transfixed him with his sword, and stripped him of his armour. The Ronians received Horatius, the victor, into their camp with an exultation, great as their former fear. After this each army buried their respective dead, but with very different sentiments; the one reflect. ing on the fovereignty they had acquired, and the other on their subjection to llavery, to the power of the Ro


This combat became still more remarkable, Horatius, returning to Rome with the arms and spoils of his enemy, met his fifter, who was bave been married to one of the Curiatii. Seeing her brother dreifed in her


lover's coat of armour, which she herself liad wrought, the could not contain her grief. She thed a flood of tears; flie tore her hair; and, in tlie transports of her forrow, littered the most violent imprecations against her brother. Horatius, warm with his victory, and enraged at the grief which his fifter expressed with such unseafonable paffion in the midst of the public joy, in the lieat of his anger drove a poniard to her lieart.* Begone to thy lover,' says be, and carry him that degenerate paffion, which makes thee prefer a dead e. nemy to the glory of thy country. Every body detested an action fo cruel and inhuman. The murderer was immediately seized, and dragged before the Duumviri, the proper judges of fuch crimes. · Horatius was condemned to lose his life ; and the very day of his triumph had been that of his punisument, if he had not, by the advice of Tullus Hoftilius, appealed from that judgment to the assembly of the people. He appeared there with the same courage and resolution, that he had thown in his coinbar with the Curiatii. The people thought so great a service might justly excuse them, if for once they. moderated the rigour of the law; and, accordingly, he was acquitted, rather through' admirativn of bis courage, than for the justice of his cause.

XIV. On the Power of Cuftom. THERE is not a common saying which has a better

turn of sense in it, than what we often hear in the mouths of the vulgar, that Custom is a second Nature. It is indeed able to form the man anew, and give him inclinations and capacities altogether different from those he was born with. A person who is addicted to play or gaming, 'though he took but little delight in it at first, by degrees contracts fo strong an inclination towards it, and gives himself up fo entirely to it, that it seems the only end of his being. The love of a retired or busy life will grow upon a man insensibly, as he is conversant in the one or "the other, till he is utterly unqualified for relishing that to which he has been for some time difused. Nay, a man may smoke, or drink, or take fnuff, till he is unable to pass away his time without it ; not to mention how our delight in any particular fndy, art, cr science, I


fure, it

rises and improves in proportion to the application which we bestow upon it. Thus what was at firit an exercise, becomes at length an entertainment. Our employments are changed into diversions. The mind grows fond of those actions it is accustomed to, and is drawn with reluctancy from those paths in which it has been used to walk. If we consider attentively this property of human namay instruct us in very

fine moralities. In the first place, I would have no man discouraged with that kind of life or series of action, in which the choice of others, or his own necessities may have engaged him. It may perhaps be very disagreeable to him at first ; but ufe and application wir: certainly render it not only lel's painful, but pleasing and satisfactory.

In the second place, I would recommend to every one the admirable precept which Pythagoras is faid to have given to his disciples, and which that philosopher must have drawn from the observation I have enlarged upon; “ Pitch upon that course of life which is the moit ex. cellent, and custom will render it the most delightful.” Men, whose circumstances will pernit them to choose their own way of life, are inexcusable if they do not

pursue that which their judgment tells them is the most laudable. The voice of reason is more to be regarded than the bent of any prefent inclination, since, by the Tule above-mentioned, inclination will at levgili come over to reason, though we can never force reason to comply with inclination.

In the third place, this observation may teach tlie most sensual and irreligious man to overlook those hardthips and difficulties, which are apt to difcourage him from the prosecution of a virtuous life. “ The Gods," faid Hefiod, “have placed labour before virtue ; the way to her is at firit rough and dificult, but grows more Smooth and easy the farther you advance in it.” The man who proceeds in it with fteadiness and resolution, will in a little time find that “ her ways are ways of pleasantness, and that all her paths are peace.

To enforce this consideration, we may further observe, that the practice of religion will not only be attended with that pleasure which naturally accompanies thofe


actions to which we are habituated, but with those fiza pernumerary joys of heart that rise from the consciouf. ness of such a pleasure, from the fatisfaction of acting up to the dictates of reasori, and from the prospect of an happy immortality.

In the fourth place, we may learn from this obferva. tion which we have made on the mind of man, to take particular care, when we are once settled in a regular course of life, how we too frequently indulge ourlelves in any the most innocent divertions and entertainments, since the mind may insensibly fall off from the relish of virtuous actions, and, by degrees, exchange that pleasure which it takes in the performance of iis duty, for delights of a mucli more inferiour and unprofitable nature.

The last use which I shall make of this remarkable property in buman nature, of being delighted with those actions to which it is accustomed, is to how how absolutely neceffary it is for us to gain habits of virtue in this life, if we would enjoy thz plcalures of the next. The state of bliss, we call Heaven, will not be capable of affecting those mind; which are not thus qualified for it; we must in this world gain a relih of truth and virtue, if we would be able to taste that knowledge and perfection which are to make us happy in the next. The seeds of those spiritual joys and raptures, which are to rise up and flourilh in the foul to all eternity, must be planted in it during this its present state of probation. In short, heaven is not to be looked upon only as ile ceward, but as the natural effect of a religious life.

XV. On Pedantry. PEDANTRY, in the common sense of the word, means

an absurd ostentation of learning, and stiffness of phraseology, proceeding from a misguided knowledge of books, and a total ignorance of men.

But I have often thought, that we might extend its signifieation, a good deal farther; and, in general, ap? ply it to that failing which difpofes a person to obtrude upon others subjects of converiation relating to his cwn business, studies, or amusements.

In this sense of the phrale, we should find pedants in every character and condition of life. Inftead of a black

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