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to all the apartments of the palace. He erected a pavilion in the garden, around which he kept the air always cool by
artificial showers. One of the groves appropriated to the 10 ladies was ventilated by fans, to which the rivulet that ran
through it gave a constant motion; and instruments of soft music were placed at proper distances, of which some played by the impulse of the wind, and some by the power of the stream.
The artist was sometimes visited by Rasselas, who was pleased with every kind of knowledge, imagining that the time would come when all his acquisitions should be of use to him in the open world. He came one day to amuse himself
in his usual manner, and found the master busy in building 20 a sailing chariot; he saw that the design was practicable on
a level surface, and with expressions of great esteem solicited its completion. The workman was pleased to find himself so much regarded by the prince, and resolved to gain yet higher
honors. “Sir," said he, "you have seen but a small part of 25 what the mechanic sciences can perform. I have been long
of opinion, that instead of the tardy conveyance of ships and chariots, man might use the swifter migration of wings; that the fields of air are open to knowledge, and that only
ignorance and idleness need crawl upon the ground.” 30 This hint rekindled the prince's desire of passing the
mountains; having seen what the mechanist had already performed, he was willing to fancy that he could do more; yet resolved to inquire further, before he suffered hope to
afflict him by disappointment.. “I am afraid,” said he to the 35 artist, “that your imagination prevails over your skill, and
that you now tell me rather what you wish than what you know. Every animal has his element assigned to him; the birds have the air, and man and beasts the earth.” “So,"
replied the mechanist, "fishes have the water in which yet 40 beasts can swim by nature, and men by art. He that can swim needs not despair to fly: to swim is to fly in a grosser fluid, and to fly is to swim in a subtler. We are only to proportion our power of resistance to the different density of matter through which we are to pass.
You will be necessarily upborne by the air, if you can renew any impulse upon 45 it faster than the air can recede from the pressure.'
“But the exercise of swimming,” said the prince, “is very laborious; the strongest limbs are soon wearied; I am afraid the act of flying will be yet more violent; and wings will be of no great use unless we can fly further than 50 we can swim.”
“The labor of rising from the ground,” said the artist, "will be great, as we see it in the heavier domestic fowls; but as we mount higher, the earth's attraction and the body's gravity will be gradually diminished, till we shall arrive at a 55 region where the man will float in the air without any tendency to fall; no care will then be necessary but to move forwards, which the gentlest impulse will effect. You, sir, whose curiosity is so extensive, will easily conceive with what pleasure a philosopher, furnished with wings, and hovering 60 in the sky, would see the earth and all its inhabitants rolling beneath him, and presenting to him successively, by its diurnal motion, all the countries within the same parallel. How must it amuse the pendant spectator to see the moving scene of land and ocean, cities and deserts! To survey with 65 equal serenity the marts of trade and the fields of battle; mountains infested by barbarians, and fruitful regions gladdened by plenty and lulled by peace! How easily shall we then trace the Nile through all his passage; pass over to distant regions, and examine the face of nature from one 70 extremity of the earth to the other !”
“All this,” said the prince, “is much to be desired, but I am afraid that no man will be able to breathe in these regions of speculation and tranquillity. I have been told, that
75 respiration is difficult upon lofty mountains, yet from these
precipices, though so high as to produce great tenuity of air, it is very easy to fall; therefore I suspect that, from any height where life can be supported, there may be danger of too quick descent."
“Nothing,” replied the artist, “will ever be attempted, if all possible objections must be first overcome.
If you will favor my project, I will try the first flight at my own hazard. I have considered the structure of all volant animals, and
find the folding continuity of the bat's wings most easily 85 accommodated to the human form. Upon this model I
shall begin my task to-morrow, and in a year expect to tower into the air beyond the malice and pursuit of man. But I will work only on this condition, that the art shall not be
divulged, and that you shall not require me to make wings for 90 any but ourselves.”
“Why,” said Rasselas, "should you envy others so great an advantage? All skill ought to be exerted for universal good; every man has owed much to others, and ought to
repay the kindness that he has received.” 95 “If men were all virtuous,” returned the artist, “I should
with great alacrity teach them all to fly. But what would be the security of the good, if the bad could at pleasure invade them from the sky? Against an army sailing through the
clouds, neither walls, nor mountains, nor seas, could afford 100 any security. A flight of northern savages might hover in the wind, and light at once with irresistible violence upon
the capital of a fruitful region that was rolling under them. Even this valley, the retreat of princes, the abode of happiness,
might be violated by the sudden descent of some of the naked 105 nations that swarm on the coast of the southern sea.”
The prince promised secrecy, and waited for the performance, not wholly hopeless of success. He visited the work from time to time, observed its progress, and remarked many ingenious contrivances to facilitate motion, and to unite levity with strength. The artist was every day more certain 110 that he should leave vultures and eagles behind him, and the contagion of his confidence seized upon the prince.
In a year the wings were finished, and on a morning appointed the maker appeared, furnished for flight, on a little promontory; he waved his pinions awhile to gather air, then 115 leaped from his stand, and in an instant dropped into the lake. His wings, which were of no use in the air, sustained him in the water, and the prince drew him to land, half dead with terror and vexation.
First Meeting with Johnson
(From Life of Johnson) At last, on Monday, the 16th of May, when I was sitting in Mr. Davies's backparlor, after having drunk tea with him and Mrs. Davies, Johnson unexpectedly came into the shop; and Mr. Davies having perceived him through the glassdoor in the room in which we were sitting, advancing towards 5 us, he announced his awful approach to me, somewhat in the manner of an actor in the part of Horatio, when he addresses Hamlet on the appearance of his father's ghost: “Look, my Lord, it comes !” I found that I had a very perfect idea of Johnson's figure, from the portrait of him 10 painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds soon after he had published his Dictionary, in the attitude of sitting in his easy chair in deep meditation; which was the first picture his friend did for him, which Sir Joshua very kindly presented to me, and from which an engraving has been made for this work. Mr. 15 Davies mentioned my name, and respectfully introduced me to him. I was much agitated; and recollecting his prej
udice against the Scotch, of which I had heard much, I
said to Davies, “Don't tell where I come from.” “From 20 Scotland," cried Davies, roguishly. “Mr. Johnson," said
I, “I do indeed come from Scotland, but I cannot help it.” I am willing to flatter myself that I meant this a slight pleasantry to soothe and conciliate him, and not as a humiliating
abasement at the expense of my country. But however 25 that might be, this speech was somewhat unlucky; for with
that quickness of wit for which he was so remarkable, he seized the expression “come from Scotland,” which I used in the sense of being of that country; and, as if I had said
that I had come away from it, or left it, retorted, “That, 30 Sir, I find, is what a very great many of your countrymen
cannot help.” This stroke stunned me a good deal; and when we had sat down, I felt myself not a little embarrassed, and apprehensive of what might come next. He then
addressed himself to Davies : “What do you think of Gar35 rick? He has refused me an order for the play for Miss
Williams, because he knows the house will be full, and that an order would be worth three shillings." Eager to take any opening to get into conversation with him, I ventured to
say, “Oh, Sir, I cannot think Mr. Garrick would grudge such 40 a trifle to you.” “Sir,” said he, with a stern look, “I have
known David Garrick longer than you have done: and I know no right you have to talk to me on the subject." Perhaps I deserved this check; for it was rather presumptuous in
me, an entire stranger, to express any doubt of the justice 45 of his animadversion upon his old acquaintance and pupil.
I now felt myself much mortified, and began to think that the hope which I had long indulged of obtaining his acquaintance was blasted. And, in truth, had not my ardor been
uncommonly strong, and my resolution uncommonly per50 severing, so rough a reception might have deterred me for
ever from making any further attempts. Fortunately,