« EelmineJätka »
time, I placed myself backward, with a design to survey them, and pick a speculation out of my two companions. Their different figures were sufficient of themfelves to draw my attention. The gentleman was dressed in a suit, the ground whereof had been black, as I perceived from some few spaces that had escaped the pow. der, which was incorporated with the greatest part of his coat :- his perriwig, which cost no small fum, was after so slovenly a manner cast over his shoulders, that it feemed not to have been combed since the year 1712 ; his linen, which was not much concealed, was daubed with plain Spanish from the chin to the loweít button, and the diamond upon his finger (which naturally dreaded the water) put me in inind how it sparkled amidst the rubbish of she mine, where it was first discevered. On the other hand, the pretty quaker appeared in all the elegance of cleanliness. Not a speck was to be found on her. A clear clean oval face, juft edged about with little thin plaits of the purest cambric, received great advantages from the shade of her black hood; as did'the whiteness of her arms from that fober coloured stuff, in which she had clothed herself. The. plain ness of her dress was very well suited to the fimplicity of her phrases, all which put together, ithough they could not give me a great opinion of her religion, they did of her innocence.
This adventure occafioned my throwing together a few hints upon cleanliness, which I shall consider as one of the half-virtues, as Aristotle calls them, and thall recommend it under the three following heads. As it is a mark of politeness; as it produces love ; and as it bears analogy to purity of mind.
Firf, It is a mark of politeness. It is universally agreed upon, that no one, unadorned with this virtue,
company without giving a manifest offence. The easier or higher any one's fortune is, this duty rises proportionably. The different nations of the world are as much distinguished by their cleanliness, as by their arts and sciences. The more any country is civilized, the more they consult this part of politeness. We need but compare cur ideas pf a female Hottentot with an 14
English beauty to be satisfied of the truth of what hath been advanced.
In the next place, cleanliness may be said to be the foster-mother of love. Beauty indeed most commonly produces that passion in the mind, but cleanliness preferves it.' An indifferent face and person, kept in perpetual neatness, hath won many a heart from a pretty ilattern.. Age itself is not unamiable, while it is preferved clean and unsullied : like a piece of metal conftantly kept smooth and bright, we look on it with more pleasure than on a new vessel that is canker'd with ruft.
I might observe further, that as cleanliness renders us agreeable to others, so it makes us easy to ourselves ; that it is an excellent preservative of health ; and that several vices, destructive both to mind and body, are inconsistent with the habit of it. But these reflections I Thall leave to the leisure of my readers, and shall observe in the third place that it bears a great analogy with purity of mind, and naturally inspires refined sentiments and passions.
We find from experience, that through the prevalence of custom, the most vicious actions lose their horror, by being made familiar to us. On the contrary, thole who live in the neighbourhood of good examples, fly from the first appearances of what is shocking." It fares with us much after the same manner, as our ideas. Our fenfes, which are the inlets to all the images conveyed to the mind, can only transmit the impression of such things as usually surround them. So that pure and unfallied thoughts are naturally suggested to the mind, by those objects that perpetually encompass us, when they are beautiful and elegant in their kind.
In the East, where the warmth of the climate makes cleanliness more immediately neceffary than in colder countries, it is made one part of their religion : the Jewish law (and the Mahometan, which in some things copies after it) is filled with bathings, purifications, and other rites of the like nature. Though there is the above-named convenient reason to be afligned for these ceremonies, the chief intention undoubtedly was to typify inward purity and cleanness of heart by those outward
washings. We read several injunctions of this kind in the book of Deuteronomy, which confirm this truth; and which are but ill accounted for by saying as some do, that they were only instituted for convenience in the desert, which otherways could not have been habitable for so many years.
I shall conclude this effay, with a story which I have fomewhere read in an account of Mahometan superstitions.
A Dervise of great fanétity one morning had the mis- fortune as he took up a crystal cup, which was consecrated to the prophet, to let it fall upon the ground, and dash it in pieces. His son coming in, sometime after, he Aretched out his hand to bless him, as his manner was every morning; but the youth going out stumbled over the threshold and broke his arm. As the old man wondered at these events, a caravan passed by in its way from Mecca. The Dervise approached it to beg a blessing ; but as he stroked one of the holy camels, he received a kick from the beast, that forely bruised him. His forrow and amazement increased. upon him, till he recollected that through hurry and inadvertency he had that morning come abroad without washing his hands.
Tbe Story of ABDALLAH and BALSOR A.
(Guard. No. 167.]
HE following story is lately translated out of an
Arabian manuscript, which I think has very much the turn of an oriental tale ; and as it has never bare been printed, I question not but it will be highly acceptable to my reader.
The name of Helim is still famous through all the eastern parts of the world. He is called among the Persians, even to this day, Helim the great physician. He was acquainted with all the powers of simples, understood all the influences of the stars, and knew the secrets that were engraved on the seal of Solomon the
fon of David. Helim was also governor of the Black Palace, and chief of the physicians to Alnareschin the great king of Perfia.
Alnareschin was the most dreadful tyrant that ever reigned in this country. He was of a fearful, fufpicious, and cruel nature, having put to death upon very flight jealousies and furmises, five and thirty of his queens, and above twenty fons whom he fufpected to have conspired against his life. Being at length wearied with the exercise of so many cruelties in his own family, and fearing left the whole race of Caliphs: should be entirely loft, he one day sent for Helim and spoke to him after this manner. “ Helim,” faid he, “ I have long “ admired thy great wisdom, and retired way of living. “ I shall now Thew thee the entire confidence which I “ place in thee. I have only two fons remaining, “ who are as yet but infants. It is my design that " thou take them home with thee, and educate them
as thy own. Train them up in the humble unam“ bitious pursuits of knowledge. By this means thall “ the line of Caliphs be preserved, and my children “ succeed after me, without aspiring to my throne “ whilft I am yet alive.” The words of my lord the king shall be ever obeyed, said Helim. After which he bowed, and went out of the King's presence. He then received the children into his own house, and from that time bred them up with him in the studies of knowledge and virtue. The young princes loved and respected Helim as their father, and made such improvements under him, that by the age of one and twenty they were instructed in all the learning of the East. The name of the eldest was Ibrahim, and of the youngest Abdallah. They lived together in fuch a perfet friendship, that to this day it is said of intimate friends, that they live together like Ibrahim and Abdallah. Helim had an only child, who was a girl of a fine foul, and a most beautiful person. Her father omitted nothing in her education, that might make her the most accomplished woman of her age. As the young princes were in a manner excluded from the reit of the world, they frequently conversed with this lovely virgin, who had
been brought up by her father in the same course of knowledge and of virtue. Abdallah, whose mind was of a softer turn than that of his brother, grew by degrees so enamoured of her conversation, that he did not think, he lived, when he was not in company with his beloved Balsora, for that was the name of the maid. The fame of her beauty was so great, that at length it came to the ears of the king, who pretending to visit the young princes his sons, demanded of Helim the fight of Balsora his fair daughter. The king was fo in famed with her beauty and behaviour, that he' sent for Helim the next morning, and told him it was now his design to recompense him for all his faithful services; and that in order to it, he intended to make his daughter queen of Persia. Helim, who knew very well the fate of all those unhappy women who had been thus advanced, and could not but be privy to the secret love which Abdallah bore his daughter; “ Far be it,” says he, "from “ the king of Persia to contaminate the blood of the “ Caliphs, and join himself in marriage with the daugh
ter of his physician.” The king, however, was so impatient for such à bride, that without hearing any excuses, be immediately ordered Balsora to be sent for into his presence, keeping the father with him, in order to make her sensible of the lionour which he defigired her. Balsora, who was too modeft and humble to think her beauty had made fuch' an impression on the king, was a few moments after brought into his presence a's he had commanded.
She appeared in the king's eye as one of the virgins of paradise. But upon hearing the honour which he intended her, she fainted away, and fell down as dead at his feet. Helim wept, and after having recovered her out of the trance into which she was fallen, represented to the king, that so unexpected an honour was too great to have been communicated to her all at once ;. but that, if he pleased, he would himself prepare her for it. The king bid him take his own way, and dismified him. Ballora was conveyed again to her father's, house, where the thoughts of Abdallah renewed her affli&ion every moment ; infomuch that at lengihi me