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some latent sense for which this place affords no gratification, or he has some desires distinct from sense, which must be satisfied before he can be happy.”
After this he lifted up his head, and seeing the moon rising, walked toward the palace. As he passed through the fields, and saw the animals around him, “ Ye,” said he, are happy, and need not envy me that walk thus among you, burdened with myself; nor do I, ye gentle beings, envy your felicity, for it is not the felicity of man. I have many distresses from which ye are free; I fear pain when I do not feel it ; I sometimes shrink at evils recollected, and sometimes start at evils anticipated : surely the equity of Providence has balanced peculiar sufferings with peculiar enjoyments.”
With observations like these the prince amused himself as he returned, uttering them with a plaintive voice, yet with a look that discovered him to feel some complacence in his own perspicacity, and to receive some solace of the miseries of life from consciousness of the delicacy with which he bewailed them. He mingled cheerfully in the diversions of the evening, and all rejoiced to find that his heart was lightened.
We were now treading that illustrious island which was once the luminary of the Caledonian regions, whence savage clans and roving barbarians derived the benefits of knowledge and the blessings of religion. To abstract the mind from all local emotion would be impossible if it were endeavored, and would be foolish if it were possible. Whatever withdraws us from the power of our senses, whatever makes the past the distant, or the future predominate over the present, advances us in the dignity of thinking beings. Far from me and my friends be such frigid philosophy as may conduct as indifferent and unmoved over any ground which has been dignified by wisdom, bravery, or virtue. The man is little to be envied whose patriotism would not gain force on the plains of Marathon,* or whose piety would not grow warmer among the ruins of Iona.f — Journey to the Hebrides.
* MARATHON. Among the noted battles of ancient times ; fought between the Greeks and Persians 490 B. C.
+ IONA. One of the western islands of Scotland. Interesting for the ruins of its ancient religious edifices, established by St. Columba 565 A. D.
1729 - 1774.
In the long and brilliant list of writers who have made enduring contributions to English literature there is no dearer name than that of Oliver Goldsmith. He seems the personal friend of all who read his writings, and those who are familiar withi the strange, sad story of his life cherish his memory with a tender affection. He was born in Ireland in 1729 and died in 1774, spending most of his life in London, where he enjoyed the friendship of Johnson and other eminent authors. His early career was full of vicissitudes; lie sauntered through the first years of manhood with empty pockets and smiling lips, studying medicine by fits and starts, wandering througli Europe, winning his bread by the exercise of his musical talents, and at last settling down in London to the miserable lot of a literary hack. But he made friends wherever he went ; that he won and retained the warm friendship of Samuel Johnson, a notoriously selfish man, is proof positive of the strength of his fascinations. Ile wrote his most famous works almost literally under the pressure of hunger; the manuscript of one of them was sold to discharge an execution, while the officers of the law waited in the author's lodgings. Goldsmith's nature was eminently lovable; there was no bitterness or guile in it; he loved his fellows and was in turn belored. The qualities of his heart, as well as those of his intellect, are manifest in his writings, and give them the sweetness that the highest intellectual power or culture could not impart. In The Vicar of Wakefield his name will live forever, and, so long as poetry survives, The Traveler and The Deserted Village will be read aud admired. His versatility was astonishing; he was a poet, a novelist, an essayist, and an historian, and won fame in each department of effort. Well has it bcen said of him, that “ he touched nothing which he did not adorn.”
THE SAGACITY OF THE SPIDER.
Of all the solitary insects I have ever remarked, the spider is the most sagacious, and its actions, to me, who have attentively considered them, seem almost to exceed belief. This insect is formed by nature for a state of war, not only upon other insects, but upon
each other. For this state nature seems perfectly well to have formed it. Its head and breast are covered with a strong natural coat of mail, which is impenetrable to the attempts of every other insect, and its belly is enveloped in a soft pliant skin, which eludes the sting even of a wasp. Its legs are terminated by strong claws, not unlike those of the lobster; and their vast length, like spears, serves to keep every assailant at a distance.
Not worse furnished for observation than for an attack or defense, it has several eyes, large, transparent, and covered with a horny substance, which, however, does not impede its vision. Besides this, it is furnished with a forceps above the mouth, which serves to kill or secure the
prey already caught in its claws or its net. Such are the implements of war with which the body is immediately furnished; but its net to entangle the enemy seems to be what it chiefly trusts to, and what it takes most pains to render as complete as possible. Nature has furnished the body of this little creature with a glutinous liquid, which, proceeding from the lower extremity of the body, it spins into a thread, coarser or finer as it chooses to contract its sphincter. * In order to fix its threads when it begins to weave, it emits a small drop of its liquid against the wall, which, hardening by degrees, serves to hold the thread very firmly. Theza receding from the first point, as it recedes the thread lengthens; and when the spider has come to the place where the other end of the thread should be fixed, gathering up with its claws the thread, which would otherwise be too slack, it is stretched tightly, and fixed in the same manner to the wall as before.
In this manner it spins and fixes several threads parallel to each other, which, so to speak, serve as the warp to the intended web. To form the woof, it spins in the same manner its thread, transversely fixing one end to the first thread that was spun, and which is always the strongest of the whole web, and the other to the wall. All these threads, being newly spun, are glutinous, and therefore stick to each other wherever they happen to touch ; and in those parts of the web most exposed to be torn our natural artist strengthens them, by doubling the thread sometimes six-fold.
Thus far naturalists have gone in the description of this animal : what follows is the result of my own observation
that species of insect called the house-spider. I perceived, about four years ago, a large spider in one corner of my room, making its web, and though the maid frequently leveled her fatal broom against the labors of the little animal, I had the good fortune then to prevent its destruction, and, I may say, it more than paid me by the entertainment it afforded.
In three dıys the web was with incredible diligence completed ; nor could I avoid thinking that the insect seemed to exult in its new abode. . It frequently traversed it round, and examined the strength of every part of it, retired into its hole, and came out very frequently. The first enemy, however, it had to encounter, was another and a much larger spider, which having no web of its own, and having probably exhausted all its stock in former labors of this kind, came to invade the property of its neighbor. Soon, then, a terrible encounter ensued, in which the invader seemed to have the victory, and the laborious spider was obliged to take refuge in its hole. Upon this I perceived the victor using every art to draw the enemy from its stronghold. He seemed to go off, but quickly returned, and when he found all arts vain, began to demolish the new web without mercy. This brought on another battle, and, coatrary to my expectations, the laborious spider became conqueror, and fairly killed his antagonist.
A muscle that contracts or shuts the mouth of an orifice.
Now, then, in peaceful possession of what was justly its own, it waited three days with the utmost impatience, repairing the breaches of its web, and taking no sustenance that I could perceive. At last, however, a large blue fly fell into the snare, and struggled hard to get loose. The spider gave it leave to entangle itself as much as possible, but it seemed to be too strong for the cobweb. I must own I was greatly surprised when I saw the spider immediately sally out, and in less than a minute weave a net round its captive, by which the motion of its wings was stopped, and when it was fairly hampered in this manner, it was seized and dragged into the hole.
In this manner it lived, in a precarious state, and nature seemed to have fitted it for such a life ; for upon a single fly it subsisted for more than a week. I once put a wasp into the net, but when the spider came out in order to seize it as usual, upon perceiving what kind of an enemy it had to deal with, it instantly broke all the bands that held it fast, and contributed all that lay in its power to disengage so formidable an antagonist. When the wasp was at liberty, I expected the spider would have set about repairing the breaches that were made in its net; but those, it seems, were irreparable, wherefore the cobweb was now entirely forsaken, and a new one begun, which was completed in the usual time.
I had now a mind to try how many cobwebs a single spider could furnish ; wherefore I destroyed this, and the insect set about another. When I destroyed the other also, its whole stock seemed entirely exhausted, and it could spin no more. The arts it made use of to support itself, now deprived of its great means of subsistence, were indeed surprising. I have seen it roll up its legs like a ball, and lie motionless for hours together, but cautiously watching all the time; when a fly happened to approach sufficiently near, it would dart out all at once, and often seize its prey.
Of this life, however, it soon began to grow weary, and resolved to invade the possession of some other spider, since it could not make a web of its own. It formed an attack upon a neighboring fortifica
tion, with great vigor, and at first was vigorously repulsed. Not daunted, however, with one defeat, in this manner it continued to lay siege to another's web for three days, and at length, having killed the defendant, actually took possession. When smaller flies happen to fall into the snare, the spider does not sally out at once, but very patiently waits till it is sure of them; for upon his immediately approaching, the terror of his appearance might give the captive strength sufficient to get loose; the manner, then, is to wait patiently till, by ineffectual and impotent struggles, the captive has wasted all his strength, and then he becomes a certain and easy conquest.
The insect I am now describing lived three years ; every year it changed its skin, and got a new set of legs. At first it dreaded my approach to its web; but at last it became so familiar as to take a fly out of my hand, and upon my touching any part of the web, would immediately leave its hole, prepared either for a defense or an attack.
THE DESERTED VILLAGE.
SWEET Auburn ! loveliest village of the plain,