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Nile hears him knocking at his sevenfold gates;
The paths of honour? I could show, out of other poets, the same kind of vision as this in Virgil, wherein the chief persons of the poem have been entertained with the sight of those who were to descend from them; but, instead of that, I shall conclude with a rabbinical story, which has in it the oriental way of thinking, and is therefore very amusing
“Adam,” say the Rabbins, “a little after his creation, was presented with a view of all those souls who were to be united to human bodies, and take their turn after him upon the earth. Among others, the vision set before him the soul of David. ancestor was transported at the sight of so beautiful an apparition; but, to his unspeakable grief, was informed that it was not to be conversant among men the space of one year.
Ostendent terris hunc tantùm futa, neque ultrà
Adam, to procure a longer life for so fine a piece of husnan nature, begged that three score and ten years which he heard would be the age of man in David's time) might be taken out of his own life, and added to that of David. Accordingly," say the Rabbins, “Adam falls short of a thousand years, which was to have been the complete term of his life, by just so many years as . make up the life of David. Adam having lived 930 years, and David 70.
This story was invented, to show the high opinion which the Rabbins entertained of this man after God's own heart, whom the prophet, who was his own contemporary, could not mention without rapture, where he records the last poetical composition of David, 'of David the son of Jesse, of the man who was raised up on high, of the anointed of the God of Jacob, of the sweet psalmist of Israel.'
No. 139. THURSDAY, AUGUST 20.
priscu fides facto, sed fama perennis.
MOST VENERABLE NESTOR, "I
FIND that every body is very much delighted with the voice of your lion. His roarings against the tucker have been most melodious and emphatical. It is to be hoped that the ladies will take warning by them, and not provoke him to greater outrages; for I observe that your lion, as you yourself have told us, is made up of mouth and paws. For my own part, I have long considered with myself how I might express my gratitude to this noble animal, that has so much the good of our country at his heart. thoughts on this subject, I have at length resolved to do honour to him, by compiling a history of his species, and extracting out of all authors whatever may redound to his reputation. In the prosecution of this design, I shall have no manner of regard to what Esop has said upon the subject, whom I look upon to have been a republican, by the unworthy treatment which he often gives to the king of beasts; and whom, if I had time, I could convict of falsehood and forgery in almost every matter of fact which he has related of this generous animal. Your romance writers are likewise a set of men whose authority I shall build upon very little ip this case. They all of them are born with a particular antipathy to lions, and give them no more quarter than they do giants, wherever they chance to meet them. There is not one of the seven champions, but, when he has nothing else to do, encounters with a lion, and, you may be sure, always gets the better of him. In short, a knight-errant lives in a perpetual state of enmity with this noble creature, and hates him more than all things upon the earth, except a dragon. Had the stories recorded of them by these writers been true, the whole species would have been destroyed before now. After having thus renounced all fabulous authorities, I shall begin my memoirs of the lion with a story related of him by Aulus Gellius, and extracted by him out of Dion Cassius, an historian of undoubted veracity. It is the famous story of Androcles, the Roman slave, which I premise for the sake of my learned reader, who needs go no farther in it, if he has read it already.
“ Androcles was the slave of a noble Roman, who was proconsul of Afric. He had been guilty of a fault, for which his master would have put him to death, had not he found an opportunity to escape out of his hands, and fled into the deserts of Numidia. As he was wandering among the barren sands, and almost dead with beat and hunger, he saw a cave in the side of a rock. He went into it, and finding at the farther end of it a place to sit down upon, rested there for some time. At length, to his great surprise, a huge, overgrown lion entered at the mouth of the cave, and seeing a man at the upper end of it, immediately made towards him. Androcles gave himself for gone; but the lion, instead of treating him as he expected, laid his paw upon his lap, and, with a complaining kind of voice, fell a licking his hand. Androcles, after having recovered himself a little from the fright he was in, observed the lion's paw to be exceedingly swelled by a large thorn that stuck in it. He immediately pulled it out, and, by squeezing the paw very gently, made a great deal of corsupt matter run out of it, which probably freed the lion from the great anguish he had felt for some time before. The lion left him, upon receiving this good office from him, and soon after returned with a fawn which he had just killed. This he laid down at the feet of his benefactor, and went off again in pursuit of his prey. Androcles, after having sodden the flesh of it by the sun, subsisted upon it until the lion had supplied him with another. He lived many days in this frightful solitude, the lion catering for him with great assiduity. Being tired, at length, of this savage society, he was resolved to deliver himself up into his master's hands, and suffer the worst effects of his displeasure, rather than be thus driven out from mankind. His master, as was customary for the proconsuls of Afric, was at that time getting together a present of all the largest lions that could be found in the country, in order to send them to Rome, that they might .furnish out a show: to the Roman people. Upon his poor slave's surrendering himself into his hands, he ordered him to be carried away to Rome, as soon as the lions were in readiness to be sent, and that, for his crime, he should be exposed to fight with one of the lions in the amphitheatre, as usu
sual, for the diversion of the people. This was all performed accordingly. Androcles, after such a strange run of fortune, was now in the area of the theatre, amidst thousands of spectators, expecting every moment when his antagonist would come out upon him. At length, a huge, monstrous lion leaped out from the place where he had been kept, hungry, for the show. He advancd with great rage towards the man, but, on a sudden, after having regarded him a little wistfully, fell to the ground, and crept towards his feet with all the signs of blandishment and caress. Androcles, after a short pause, discovered that it was his old Numidian friend, and immediately renewed his acquaintance with him. Their mutual congratulations were very surprising to the beholders, who, upon hearing an account of the whole matter from An, drocles, ordered him to be pardoned, and the lion to be given up into his possession. Androcles returned, at Rome, the civilities which he had received from him in the deserts of Afric. Dion Cassius says, that he himself saw the man leading the lion about the streets of Rome, the people every where gathering about them, and repeating to one another, "Hic est leo hospes hominis, hic est homo medicus leonis.” “This is the lion who was the man's host, this is the man who was the lion's physician."
No. 140. FRIDAY, AUGUST 21.
quibus incendi jam
frigidus avo Laomedontiades; vel Nestoris hernia possit.
juÝ. I have lately received a letter from an astrologer in Moorfields, which I have read with great satisfaction. He observes to me, that my lion at Button's Coffeehouse was very lưckily érected in the very month when the sun was in Leo. He farther adds, that, upon conversing with the above-mentioned Mr. Button, (whose other name, he observes, is Daniel, a good omen still, with regard to the lion, his cohabitant), he had discovered the very hour in which the said lion was set up; and that, by the help of other lights, which he had received from the said Mr. Batton, he had been able to calculate the nativity of the lion. This mysterious philosopher acquaints me that the sign of Leo in the heavens immediately precedes that of Virgo; “by which,” says he, “is signified the natural love and friendship the lion bears to virginity, and not only to virginity, but to such matrons, likewise, as are pure and unspotted;" from whence he foretels the good influence which the roarings of my lion are likely to have over the female world, for the purifying of their behaviour, and bettering of their VOL. IV.