A Voyage to Abyssinia

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Cosimo, Inc., 1. dec. 2005 - 196 strani
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A husband that doth not like his wife may easily find means to make the marriage void, and, what is worse, may dismiss the second wife with less difficulty than he took her, and return to the first; so that marriages in this country are only for a term of years, and last no longer than both parties are pleased with each other...-from "The Manner of Eating in Abyssinia, Their Dress, Their Hospitality, and Traffic"What makes this 17th-century work notable is not its tale of the nine years a Portuguese priest spent in Abyssinia as a missionary, although that certainly makes this a unique work of both travel and religious writing. What sealed this travelogue's place in history is that it was translated from French (the original Portuguese version was never published) into English by Samuel Johnson and published anonymously in 1735. With the wit and grace that cemented Johnson's standing as an icon of English literature, Johnson takes "great liberties," he admits in his preface, "and let the judicious part of mankind pardon or condemn them." Let the judicious reader celebrate them.JEROME LOBO (1593-1678) was born in Lisbon and spent much of his life traveling the East as a missionary.British essayist and critic DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709-1784) created the first English dictionary, published in 1755. He may be the most quoted writer in the English language, after Shakespeare.
 

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Stran 9 - He appears, by his modest and unaffected narration, to have described things as he saw them, to have copied nature from the life, and to have consulted his senses, not his imagination. He meets with no basilisks that destroy with their eyes; his crocodiles devour their prey without tears; and his cataracts fall from the rock without deafening the neighbouring inhabitants. The reader will here find no regions cursed with irremediable barrenness, or blest with spontaneous fecundity...
Stran 9 - The Portuguese traveller, contrary to the general vein of his countrymen, has amused his reader with no romantick absurdity, or incredible fictions ; whatever he relates, whether true or not, is at least probable; and he who tells nothing exceeding the bounds of probability, has a right to demand that they should believe him who cannot contradict him.
Stran 10 - ... that wherever human nature is to be found, there is a mixture of vice and virtue, a contest of passion and reason ; and that the Creator doth not appear partial in his distributions, but has balanced, in most countries, their particular inconveniences by particular favours.
Stran 10 - Hottentots without religion, polity, or articulate language; no Chinese perfectly polite, and completely skilled in all sciences; he will discover, what will always be discovered by a diligent and impartial enquirer, that wherever human nature is to be found, there is a mixture of vice and virtue; a contest of passion and reason, and that the Creator doth not appear partial in his distributions, but has balanced in most countries their particular inconveniences by particular favours.

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