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of posterity in matters of this nature, he is looked upon with an eye of ridicule by the cunning and selfish part of mankind. Most people are of the humour of an old fellow of a college, who, when he was pressed by the society to come into something that might redound to the good of their successors, grew very peevish : “We are always doing,' says he, something for posterity, but I would fain see posterity do something for us.'
But I think men are inexcusable, who fail in a duty of this nature, since it is so easily discharged. When a man considers that the putting of a few twigs into the ground is doing good to one who will make his appearance in the world about fifty years hence, or that he is perhaps making one of his own descendants easy or rich, by so inconsiderable an expense, if he finds himself averse to it, he must conclude that he has a poor and base heart, void of all generous principles and love to mankind.
There is one consideration which may very much enforce what I have here said. Many honest minds, that are naturally disposed to do good in the world, and become beneficial to mankind, complain within themselves that they have not talents for it. This therefore is a good office, which is suited to the meanest capacities, and which may be performed by multitudes, who have not abilities sufficient to deserve well of their country, and to recommend themselves to their posterity, by any other method. It is the phrase of a friend of mine, when any useful country neighbour dies, that you may trace him ;' which I look upon as a good funeral oration, at the death of an honest husbandman, who hath left the impressions of his industry behind him in the place where he has lived.
Upon the foregoing considerations, I can scarcely forbear representing the subject of this paper as a kind of moral virtue ; which, as I have already shewn, recommends itself likewise by the pleasure that attends it. It must be confessed that this is none of those turbulent pleasures which are apt to gratify a man in the heats of youth; but, if it be not so tumultuous, it is more lasting. Nothing can be more delightful than to entertain ourselves with
prospects of our own making, and to walk under those shades which our own industry has raised. Amusements of this nature compose the mind, and lay at rest all those passions which are uneasy to the soul of man, besides that they naturally engender good thoughts, and dispose us to laudable contemplations. Many of the old philosophers passed away the greatest parts of their lives among their gardens. Epicurus himself could not think sensual pleasure attainable in any other scene. Every reader, who is acquainted with Homer, Virgil, and Horace, the greatest geniuses of all antiquity, knows very well with how much rapture they have spoken on this subject; and that Virgil in particular has written a whole book on the art of planting.
This art seems to have been more especially adapted to the nature of man in his primæval state, when he had life enough to see his productions flourish in their utmost beauty, and gradually decay. with him. One who lived before the flood might have seen a wood of the tallest oaks in the acorn. But I only mention this particular in order to introduce, in my next paper, a history which I have found among the accounts of China, and which may be looked upon as an antediluvian novel.
N° 584. MONDAY, AUGUST 23, 1714.
Hic gelidi fontes, hic mollia prata, Lycori:
VIRG. Ecl. x. 42.
HILPA was one of the hundred and fifty daughters of Zilpah, of the race of Cohu, by whom some of the learned think is meant Cain. She was exceedingly beautiful, and, when she was but a girl of threescore and ten years of age, received the addresses of several who made love to her. Among these were two brothers, Harpath and Shalum. Harpath being the first-born, was master of that fruitful region which lies at the foot of mount Tirzah, in the southern parts of China. Shalum (which is to say the planter, in the Chinese language) possessed all the neighbouring hills, and that great range of mountains which goes under the name of Tirzah. Harpath was of a haughty contemptuous spirit; Shalum was of a gentle disposition, beloved both by God and man.
It is said that among the antediluvian women, the daughters of Cohu had their minds wholly set upon riches; for which reason the beautiful Hilpa preferred Harpath to Shalum, because of his numerous flocks and herds, that covered all the low country which runs along the foot of mount Tirzah, and is watered by several fountains and streams breaking out of the sides of that mountain.
Harpath made so quick a dispatch of his courtship, that he married Hilpa in the hundredth year of her age; and, being of an insolent temper, laughed to scorn his brother Shalum for having pretended to the beautiful Hilpa, when he was master of nothing but a long chain of rocks and mountains. This so much provoked Shalum, that he is said to have cursed his brother in the bitterness of his heart, and to have prayed that one of his mountains might fall upon his head if ever he came within the shadow of it.
From this time forward Harpath would never venture out of the valleys, but came to an untimely end in the two hundred and fiftieth
year of his age, being drowned in a river as he attempted to cross it. This river is called to this day, from his name who perished in it, the river Harpath; and, what is very remarkable, issues out of one of those mountains which Shalum wished might fall upon his brother, when he cursed him in the bitterness of his heart.
Hilpa was in the hundred and sixtieth year of her age at the death of her husband, having brought him but fifty children before he was snatched away, as has been already related. Many of the antediluvians made love to the young widow; though no one was thought so likely to succeed in her affections as her first lover Shalum, who renewed his court to her about ten years after the death of Harpath; for it was not thought decent in those days that a widow should be seen by a man within ten years after the decease of her husband.
Shalum falling into a deep melancholy, and resolving to take away that objection which had been raised against him when he made his first addresses to Hilpa, began, immediately after her marriage with Harpath, to plant all that mountainous region which fell to his lot in the division of this country. He knew how to adapt every plant to its proper soil, and is thought to have inherited many traditional secrets
of that art from the first rnan. Ti is employment turned at length to his profit as well as to his amusement: his mountains were in a few years shaded with young trees, that gradually shot up
groves, woods, and forests, intermixed with walks, and lawns, and gardens ; insomuch that the whole region, from a naked and desolate prospect, began now to look like a second paradise. The pleasantness of the place, and the agreeable disposition of Shalum, who was reckoned one of the mildest and wisest of all who lived before the flood, drew into it multitudes of people, who were perpetually employed in the sinking of wells, the digging of trenches, and the hollowing of trees, for the better distribution of water through every part of this spacious plantation.
The habitations of Shalum looked every year more beautiful in the eyes of Hilpa, who, after the space of seventy autumns, was wonderfully pleased with the distant prospect of Shalum's hills, which were then covered with innumerable tufts of trees, and, gloomy scenes, that gave a magnificence to the place, and converted it into one of the finest landscapes the eye of man could behold
The Chinese record a letter which Shalum is said to have written to Hilpa in the eleventh year of her widowhood. I shall here translate it, with out departing from that noble simplicity of sentiments and plainness of manners which appear in the original.
Shalum was at this time one hundred and eighty years old, and Hilpa one hundred and seventy. · I Shalum, Master of Mount Tirzah, to Hilpa,
Mistress of the Valleys.
• In the 788th year of the creation. • What have I not suffered, 0 thou daughter of Zilpah, since thou gavest thyself away in marriage