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Page:Samuel Johnson (1911).djvu/154

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RASSELAS

YE who listen with credulity to the whispers of fancy, and pursue with eagerness the phan- toms of hope ; who expect that age will per- form the promises of youth, and that the deficiencies of the present day will be supplied by the morrow; attend to the history of Rasselas prince of Abissinia.

Rasselas was the fourth son of the mighty emperor, in whose dominions the father of waters begins his course, whose bounty pours down the streams of plenty, and scatters over the world the harvests of Egypt.

According to the custom which has de- scended from age to age among the monarchs of the torrid zone, Rasselas was confined in a private palace, with the other sons and daughters of Abissinian royalty, till the order of succession should call him to the throne.

The place, which the wisdom or policy of antiquity had destined for the residence of the Abissinian princes, was a spacious valley in the kingdom of Amhara, surrounded on every side by mountains, of which the sum-

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