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stantial notice of them might make an interesting article in your review of rare and curious books, especially from their singular connection with the literature of France and of our own country, as will ap pear from the sequel.

These discourses, like the Gulistan, are prose intermixed with poetry; and consisting like that, of tales and apophthegms, without any strict arrangement, are not susceptible of analysis. I shall therefore only mention the titles and subjects of each discourse, and select a few tales and maxims, as a specimen of the Sheikh's sentiments and manners. The whole collection occupies no more than fifty-two folio pages, and the several tracts are unconnected and complete in themselves. The first is merely prefatory. The second is called from its subdivisions the Five Discourses. After a few introductory distichs (Arabic and Persian alternately, the latter being translations of the former) in praise of God, the Sheikh proceeds as usual to commemorate the Prophet, and informs us in measured prose (the rythm and paranomasia of which it is impossible to transfer from the original) that from him pure Adain received the honorary robe of purity, and Edris obtained eminence in teaching." Through his power (continues our pious Musselman) a victorious soul entered the body of Noah; he hung the teelsan of dignity from the head of Hùd; he girded the Friend of God with the sword-belt of attachment; he wrote the diploma of sovereignty in the name of Ismael; he put the seal of royalty upon the finger of Solomon, the shoe of intimacy upon the foot of Moses, and the turband of pre-eminence upon the head of Jesus. Hear one particle of the eulogy of this best and greatest of chiefs and leaders, how he said, "Whoever hath reached his fortieth year in this palace of frailty, this market-place of vanities, which thou callest the world, and his virtues have not predominated over his sins, bid him let go his bridle and take the road to hell." Great is the threat, terrible is the menace, that the resister of the faith of the holy Ahmed,|| selling his precious soul for one grain of what is forbidden, and burning the harvest of obedience in the fire of rebellion, shall come insolvent to the account! In confirmation of this saying, I will relate a parable, and drop into the mind's sea a precious pearl. They had lighted a taper, and watched it by turns with assiduity. When the dawn suddenly breaks observe the same assembly, how they extinguish their taper. Is not this strange, they were asked, after watching it the whole of the night? They replied, that taper was valued by us, as long as it burnt, and shone forth like the moon; but now the dawn unfolds its beams, the taper is no longer useful, and we have no further connection with it. My friend hear not these words in vain, for the great man of the world is lighted like this taper, and in Jike manner served and flattered, till the dawn of his last day breaks, and the severe blast of conquering death blows. Then note the great

man

Enoch. + An Arabian prophet, whose history may be found in the Koran. The Teelsan is a lappet, which hangs from the turband. ↑ Abraham. A phrase from the Koran. Mohammed.

man, the prisoner of death, falling from the throne of indulgence upon the bier of privation! When borne to the grave, he is at once deserted by his slaves, his friends, his children. Being asked why they all turn away, they reply, We honoured him as long as his taper burnt in the world; now, since the blast of autumn has unrooted him, and his hand ceases to collect and distribute, what is he to us, what connection have we with him? The fable, too, is applicable. It is related, that a nightingale had its nest in a garden, upon a rose-bush, and that a poor ant chanced to take up her abode beneath it. Night and day the nightingale was upon the wing, hovering about the rosebower, and tuning the harp of his heart ravishing notes. Night and day the ant was busy, while the bird of a thousand songs warbled. away his life in the garden, sporting with his darling rose. The peor ant, witnessing the amorous sports of the rose and nightingale, said, the consequence of this trifling will be seen hereafter. When the season of spring was past, and autumn arrived, thorns succeeded to the rose, and the crow occupied the nest of the nightingale. The wind now began to blow, and disrobe the trees; the cheek of the leaf turned pale, and it snowed from every cloud. On à sudden, the nightingale returns to the garden, but he sees not the beauty of the rose, he smells not the perfume of the hyacinth. His tongue of a thousand songs is mute, for there is no longer a rose to admire. The thorn said, How long, oh bulbul, wilt thou seek to enjoy thy rose? This moment separation from thy beloved must rend thy heart. The nightingale looked about him, and perceived no food; he recollected that an ant had had her abode beneath this very rose tree, and had' laid up a store of grain. To-day, said the bird, I will beg a pittance from her, upon the plea of our former neighbourhood; she will pity me, and I shall find relief. The starving nightingale then went a begging to the ant, and thus addressed her: Generosity is the characteristic of the rich; I have wasted away through negligence the capital of the happiness of my life; thou art prudent, and hast amassed a treasure-what if your liberality should grant me a small portion of it? But the ant answered, Thou wast chattering day and night, while I was at work; thou wast gazing at the freshness of the rose, and admiring the short-lived spring. Fool, didst not thou know that to every spring succeeds an autumn, to every path an end? Con→ sider, my friend, this fable of the bulbul, and learn_that_privation will succeed to every enjoyment, and death to every life. If thou set thy foot in the path of obedience and pure devotion, "reward is the portion of the pious;" and if thou turn the reins towards rebellion, "punishment is the portion of the wicked." Be not thou negligent, like the nightingale, during thy spring of life, but labour to cultivate obedience in the field of the world, for "this world is a field in which seed is sown for the next" and gather the grains of obedience, that when the autumnal whirlwind of death blows, thou mayest not, like the nightingale, be destitute. If thou takest provisions from the field of the world to-day, thou shalt be settled in Paradise to-morrow:

MEMOIRS OF DISTINGUISHED PERSONS.

MEMOIR OF THE ABBE' DE CHOISÌ.

Singular characters are never antiquated. It can never cease to be an interesting speculation, to remark all the varieties under which men appear, with respect either to their individual manners and habits, or the relation they bear to society. The readers of the Athehæum have been agreeably entertained with the memoirs of some extraordinary persons of past times, which have strikingly displayed the force of particular passions and principles, and have incidentally thrown much light upon the customs and sentiments prevalent at those periods. I beg leave to bring upon the same theatre an actor of a later age, and indeed one who bore no very conspicuous part in the drama of the word; yet whose life presents an amusing variety of incident, and offers a very uncommon view of a professional character. This is the Abbé de Choisy, a man of pleasure, writer, and ecclesiastic, of the age of Louis XIV.; and it is principally from the account of him in D'Alembert's "Histoire de l'Academie Fr." that my materials are derived.

Francois-Timoleon de Choisy was born at Paris in 1644. His father had been chancellor of Gaston duke of Orleans, and had distinguished himself as a negotiator in some public affairs; but having displeased cardinal Mazarin, he was treated with neglect, and not only lost the expected rewards of his services, but sunk a great part of his patrimony. His mother, a great-grand-daughter of the chancellor de l'Hopital, was a clever, pushing, intriguing woman, and exactly that mixture of talent, confidence, and frivolity, which is found in the greatest perfection among the females of France. She was noticed by Louis XIV. and ventured one day to say to him, Sire, do you wish to become a gentleman? (this seems the proper sense of honnete homme as thus applied) Then frequently hold conversations with me." The king was taken with the proposal, gave her regular audiences twice a week, and paid her lessons with a considerable pension. In fact, there is nothing in which kings-born are so deficient as in the qualities of a gentleman-the necessary consequence of their having no equals to hold them in that respect which is the only source of true politeness. Mad. de Choisy, thus familiarized with rank at the very head, was likely to imbibe the purest ideas of nobility according to the maxims of the time; and she often repeated to her children, that in France there was no true nobility but that of the sword; exhorting them at the same time to visit none but people of quality, in order early to accustom themselves to that complaisance which makes a person universally acceptable. The young Abbé profited so well by this counsel, that he boasted never to have visited a man of the robe, except his own relations, whom he saw no more than decency required, and not without self-reproach for the time wasted upon them:

It

It had been a part of the base politics of Mazarin to educate in the most effeminate manner Monsieur, the brother of Louis XIV. and he was occasionally put in a female dress. Partly from courtly imitation, and partly from the vanity of showing off a handsome face, Mad. de Choisy dressed her young Abbé in the same attire, which he wore so habitually, that the public became accustomed to it, and he was admitted into all companies in this kind of masquerade. He had even the confidence to appear in a female habit at Versailles. Unluckily, he was one day seen thus disguised in the queen's drawingroom by the austere duke de Montausier, who in the midst of the company said to him, "Sir, or Miss, for I know not how to call you, you ought to die with shame at going thus drest like a woman, when God has done you the favour to make you a man. Go and hide yourself-the Dauphin is much displeased with your appearance." "Pardon me (replied the young prince) I think her as handsome as an angel." This folly was not merely indecorous; it was the cause of a scandalous licentiousness. He actually lived several years as a woman at a country house near Bourges, under the name of the countess des Barres, and engaged in adventures which were made public in a kind of libertine novel entitled, "Histoire de la Comtesse des Barres."

His family having determined, for reasons of convenience, to maké him an ecclesiastic, he entered at the Sorbonne, and possessing quick parts, soon obtained distinction in the exercises of that seminary. No young batchelor maintained a disputation with more vigour and pertinacity, and he shared largely in the glory to be gained in such a field. It was a more solid advantage that he acquired a taste for reading and writing which proved of lasting service to him, and in some degree supported his reputation against the counteraction of his foibles and frivolities. When arrived at the age of thirty, he took the resolution of quitting France for some time, in order to efface the remembrance of his youthful follies. He went to Italy in the capacity of conclavist of the cardinal de Bouillon after the death of pope Clement X. He was present at the election of cardinal Odescalchi (Innocent XI.) and even contributed to that event by an artful letter which he wrote to the king of France for the purpose of obtaining his consent. For this service he had the honour of being the first who kissed the toe of the new pope; as he had afterwards the mortification of seeing him a determined enemy to his king, and to the Gallican church.

Soon after his return to France, the Abbé was attacked with a dangerous malady which awakened him to very serious reflections on the state of his soul. Having over-heard his physicians say "he will not be alive two hours hence," nothing could exceed his consternation, as he himself has described it. He thought he saw eternal Justice cutting the thread of his days, and requiring of him an account of his past life." An immediate repentance was the consequence, attended with a faith so lively, that "the sublimest mysteries of religiou appeared clear and unclouded to him, and he only desired to live in VOL. III.

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order

order to believe them and manifest his penitence." He recovered, and the first fruit of his conversion was a publication of four "Dia. logues on the immortality of the soul, the existence of the Deity, the worship due to him, and on Providence," which were the substance of conferences held with a friendly ecclesiastic who never left him during his illness. This work from such a man would naturally excite the public curiosity. It was much read and generally approved, but some strokes in it against the principles of protestantism brought upon him a furious attack from the zealot Jurieu. So sudden a conversion, however, was not likely to effect such a total change in the man that some of his old feelings would not adhere to him. As he was once passing with a friend near a considerable estate which the derangement of his affairs had obliged him to sell, he was observed to sigh profoundly. His friend, thereupon, in order to console him, applauded such a proof of his sincere conversion. "Ah (cried the Abbé) how I could enjoy spending it over again!"

The conversion of the Abbé de Choisy, such as it was, had inspired him with a zeal for making proselytes, which the example of the king rendered fashionable in that reign. An occasion offered for its indulgence, of which he availed himself. The Jesuits, who had obtained the direction of the king's conscience, either themselves deceived, or having planned a deception for some secret purposes of their own, persuaded Louis that his majesty of Siam had given tokens of a great desire to turn christian. In consequence, it was determined to send out a solemn embassy in order to promote this good work, and Choisy made great interest to be permitted to share the merit and glory of this pious expedition. The king complied with his request, and he was nominated to accompany the ambassador, M. de Chaumont, with the novel title of coadjutor to the embassy. They sailed on board a frigate from Brest in March 1685. Of his voyage thither and back, and the occurrences there, he has written a journal, which, though very meagre with respect to important matter, contains many anecdotes relative to himself and his companions, told with a lively and amusing simplicity. Some of these, with his reflections upon them, may be cited as truly characteristic. As it was a missionary voyage, there was a singular mixture of religious exercises with marine diversions, marked with the peculiar gaiety of the French nation. The following picture, which immediately succeeds a solemn reflection concerning the turn to religious consideration given by the thought of being removed only by a few planks from death, is truly national. "This day we had a grand ball after supper. The decorations were admirable. The ambassador, surrounded by Jesuits and missionaries, judged of the performances. Some officers and sailors distinguished themselves. The whole crew were disposed amphitheatrically in the rigging, and from time to time five or six Pécours descended, who danced with as good a grace as l'Etang. At the conclusion prayers were recited, and the burden always was, Vive le Roi! It would do you good to hear us sing "Domine salvum fac Regem," and cry

Vive

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