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Lion, king of a certain forest, had among his subjects a body of faithful dogs, in principle and affection strongly attached to his person and government, and through whose assistance he had extended his dominions, and had become the terror of his enemies.
Lion, however, influenced by evil counsellors, took an aversion to the dogs, condemned them unheard, and ordered his tigers, leopards, and panthers to attack and destroy them.
The dogs petitioned humbly, but their petitions were rejected haughtily; and they were forced to defend themselves, which they did with bravery.
A few among them, of a mongrel race, derived from a mixture with wolves and foxes, corrupted by royal promises of great rewards, deserted the honest dogs and joined their enemies.
The dogs were finally victorious; a treaty of peace was made, in which Lion acknowledged them to be free, and disclaimed all future authority over them.
The mongrels, not being permitted to return among them, claimed of the royalists the reward that had been promised.
A council of the beasts was held to consider their demand.
The wolves and the foxes agreed unanimously that the demand was just, that royal promises ought to be kept, and that every loyal subject should contribute freely to enable his Majesty to fulfil them.
• Written at the period of, and in allusion to, the claims of the American Royalists on the British Government. — W. T. F.
The horse alone, with a boldness and freedom that became the nobleness of his nature, delivered a contrary opinion.
"The King," said he, "has been misled, by bad ministers, to war unjustly upon his faithful subjects. Royal promises, when made to encourage us to act for the public good, should indeed be honorably acquitted; but if to encourage us to betray and destroy each other, they are wicked and void from the beginning. The advisers of such promises, and those who murdered in consequence of them, instead of being recompensed, should be severely punished. Consider how greatly our common strength is already diminished by our loss of the dogs. If you enable the King to reward those fratricides, you will establish a precedent that may justify a future tyrant in making like promises; and every example of such an unnatural brute rewarded will give them additional weight. Horses and bulls, as well as dogs, may thus be divided against their own kind, and civil wars produced at pleasure, till we are so weakened that neither liberty nor safety is any longer to be found in the forest, and nothing remains but abject submission to the will of a despot, who may devour us as he pleases."
The council had sense enough to resolve,—That the demand be rejected.
TO MISS GEORGIANA SHIPLEY,*
ON THE LOSS OF HER AMERICAN SQUIRREL, WHO, ESCAPING FROM HIS CAGE, WAS KILLED BY A SHEPHERD'S DOG.
London, 26 September, 1772,
Dear Miss, I Lament with you most sincerely the unfortunate end of poor Mungo. Few squirrels were better accomplished; for he had had a good education, had travelled far, and seen much of the world. As he had the honor of being, for his virtues, your favorite, he should not go, like common skuggs, without an elegy or an epitaph. Let us give him one in the monumental style and measure, which, being neither prose nor verse, is perhaps the properest for grief; since to use common language would look as if we were not affected, and to make rhymes would seem trifling in sorrow.
Alas! poor Mungo!
Thy own felicity. Remote from the fierce bald eagle,
Tyrant of thy native woods,
Thou hadst nought to fear from his piercing talons, Nor from the murdering gun Of the thoughtless sportsman.
Safe in thy wired castle,
Grimalkin never could annoy thee.
Daily wert thou fed with the choicest Winds,
By the fair hand of an indulgent mistress;
Thou wouldst have more freedom.
Too soon, alas! didst thou obtain it;
And wandering, Thou art fallen by the fangs of wanton, cruel Ranger!
* A daughter of the Bishop of St Asaph.
Learn hence, N
Ye who blindly seek more liberty,
Whether subjects, sons, squirrels, or daughters,
That apparent restraint may be real protection,
Yielding peace and plenty
You see, my dear Miss, how much more decent and proper this broken style is, than if we were to say, by way of epitaph, —
Here Skugo \S
And yet, perhaps, there are people in the world of so little feeling as to think that this would be a goodenough epitaph for poor Mungo.
If you wish it, I shall procure another to succeed him; but perhaps you will now choose some other amusement.
Remember me affectionately to all the good family, and believe me ever your affectionate friend,
THE ART OF PROCURING PLEASANT DREAMS.
INSCRIBED TO MISS * * • •, BEING WRITTEN AT HER REQUEST.
As a great part of our life is spent in sleep, during which we have sometimes pleasant, and sometimes painful dreams, it becomes of some consequence to obtain the one kind and avoid the other; for, whether real or imaginary, pain is pain and pleasure is pleasure. If we can sleep without dreaming, it is well that painful dreams are avoided. If, while we sleep, we can have any pleasing dream, it is, as the French say, autant de gagne, so much added to the pleasure of life.
To this end it is, in the first place, necessary to be careful in preserving health, by due exercise and great temperance; for, in sickness, the imagination is disturbed, and disagreeable, sometimes terrible, ideas are apt to present themselves. Exercise should precede meals, not immediately follow them; the first promotes, the latter, unless moderate, obstructs digestion. If, after exercise, we feed sparingly, the digestion will be easy and good, the body lightsome, the temper cheerful . and all the animal functions performed agreeably. Sleep, when it follows, will be natural and undisturbed; while indolence, with full feeding, occasions nightmares and horrors inexpressible; we fall from precipices, are assaulted by wild beasts, murderers, and demons, and experience every Variety of distress. Observe, however, that the quantities of food and exercise are relative things; those who move much may, and indeed ought to eat more; those who use little exercise should eat little. In general, mankind, since the improvement of cookery, eat about twice as much as nature requires. Suppers are not bad, if we have not dined; but restless nights naturally follow hearty suppers after full dinners. Indeed, as there is a difference in constitutions, some rest well after these meals; it costs them only a frightful dream and an apoplexy, after which they sleep till doomsday. Nothing is more common in the newspapers, than instances of people who, after eating a hearty supper, are found dead abed in the morning.
Another means of preserving health, to be attended to, is the having a constant supply of fresh air in your bed-chamber. It has been a great mistake, the sleeping in rooms exactly closed, and in beds surrounded by curtains. No outward air that may come in to you is