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'Twas nought but the magic, I find, of her eyes, Made fo many beautiful profpeóts arise.
N° 604. Friday, October 8.
Tu ne quæfieris (scire nefas) quem mihi, quem tibi, Finem Dii dederint, Leuconoe ; nec Babylonios Tentaris numeros
lor. Od. 11. l. I. . I.
Ah, do not strive too much to know,
sly dear Leuconoe, What the kind gods design to do
With me and thee.
T trongere inclinations in the mind of man. Indeed
an ability of foreseeing probable accidents is what, in the language of men, is called wisdom and prudence : but not satisfied with the light that reason holds out, mankind hath endeavoured to penetrate more compendiously into futurity. Magic, oracles, omens, lucky hours, and the various arts of superstition, owe their rise to this powerful cause. As this principle is founded in self-love, every man is sure to be solicitous in the first place about his own fortune, the course of his life, and the time and manner of his death.
If we consider that we are free agents, we shall discover the absurdity of such inquiries. One of our actions, which we might have performed or neglected, is the cause of another that succeeds it, and so the whole chain of life is linked together. Pain, poverty, or infamy, are the natural product of vicious and imprudent acts; as the contrary blessings are of good ones; so that we cannot suppose our lot to be determined without impiety. A great enhancement of pleasure arises from its being unexpected; and pain is doubled by being foreseen. Upon all these, and several other accounts, we ought to rest satisfied in this portion bestowed on us; to adore the hand that hath fitted every thing to our nature, and hath not more displayed his goodness in our knowledge than in our ignorance.
It is not unworthy observation, that superstitious inquiries into future events prevail more or less, in proportion 10 the improvement of liberal arts and useful knowledge in
the several parts of the world. Accordingly we find, that magical incantations remain in Lapland; in the more remote parts of Scotland they have their second fight, and several of our own countrymen see abundance of fairies. Iņ Asia this credulity is strong; and the greateft part of refined learning there consists in the knowledge of amulets, talismans, occult numbers, and the like.
When I was at Grand Cairo, I fell into the acquaintance of a good-natured muflulman, who promised me many good offices, which he designed to do me when he became the prime minister, which was a fortune bestowed on his imagination by a doctor very deep in the curious sciences. At his repeated solicitations I went to learn my destiny of this wonderful fage. For a small sum I had his promise, but was required to wait in a dark apartment till he had run through the preparatory ceremonies. Having a strong propensity, even then, to dreaming, I took a nap upon the sofa where I was placed, and had the following vision, the particulars whereof I picked up the Other day among my papers.
I FOUND' myself in an unbounded plain, where methought the whole world, in several habits and with different tongues, was assembled,
The multitude glided swiftly along, and I found in myself a strong inclination to mingle in the train. My eyes quickly fingled out some of the most splendid figures. Several in rich caftans and glittering turbands bustled through the throng, and trampled over the bodies of those they threw down; till to my great surprise I found that the great pace they went only hastened them to a scaffold or a bowstring. Many beautiful damsels on the other side moved forward with great gaiety; fome danced till they fell all along; and others painted their faces till they lost their noses. А tribe of creatures with busy looks falling into a fit of laughter at the misfortunes of the unhappy ladies, I turned my eyes upon them. They were each of them filling his pockets with gold and jewels, and when there was no room left for more, these wretches looking round with fear and horror, pined away before my face with famine and discontent.
This prospect of haman misery struck me dumb for some milcs, Then it was that, to disburden my mind, I P2
took pen and ink, and did every thing that hath since happened under my office of SPECTATOR.
While I was
the death of my companions, my anxieties for the public, and the many calamities still fleeting before my eyes, made me repent my curiosity ; when the magician entered the room, and awaked me, by telling me (when it was too late) that he was just going to begin.
N. B. I HAVE only delivered the prophecy of that part
my life which is past, it being inconvenient to divulge the second part till a more proper opportunity.
Monday, Oétober 11.
Exuerint fylveftrem animum, cultuque frequenti
Virg. Georg. 2. v.51.
AVING perused the following letter, and finding
the learned casuilt, whom I have retained in my service for speculations of that kind. He returned it to me the next morning with his report annexed to it, with both of which I shall here present my reader.
. Ir SPECTATOR, VINDING that you have entertained an ufeful per
i apply myself to you under a very great difficulty, that hath for fome months perplexed me. I have a couple sof humble servants, one of which I have no aversion io;
the other I think of very kindly. The first hath the reputation of a man of good sense, and is one of those people that your sex are apt to value. My spark is Sreckoned a coxcomb among the men, but is a favourite • of the ladies. If I marry the man of worth, as they • call him, I Mall oblige my parents and improve my for
tune; but with my dear beau I promise myself happiness, although not a jointure. Now I would ask you, o whether I should consent to lead my life with a man that "I have only no objefrica to, or with him amninst whom * all objections to me appear frivolous. Tau uetermined
to follow the casuist’s advice, and I dare fay he will oct put me upon fo ferious a thing as matrimony contrary to my inclination,
I am, &c.
FANNY FICKLE," P3