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At the issue of the crooked paths there was a great black tower, out of the centre of which streamed a long succession of flames, which did rise even above the clouds ; it gave a very great light to the whole plain, which did sometimes outshine the light, and oppressed the beams of the adamantine pillar ; though by the observation I made afterwards, it appeared that it was not for any diminution of light, but that this lay in the travellers, who would sometimes step out of straight paths, where they lost the full prospect of the radiant pillar, and saw it but sideways: but the great light from the black tower, which was somewhat particularly scorching to them, would generally light and hasten them to their proper climate again.
Round about the black tower there were, methought, many thousands of huge mishapen ugly monsters ; these had great nets, which they were perpetually plying and casting towards the crooked paths, and they would now and then catch up those that were nearest to them: these they took up straight, and whirled over the walls into the flaming tower, and they were no more seen nor heard of.
They would sometimes cast their nets towards the right paths to catch the stragglers, whose eyes for want of frequent drinking at the brook that ran by them grew dim, whereby they lost their way, these would sometimes very narrowly miss being catched away, but I could not hear whether any of these had ever been so unfortunate, that had been before very hearty in the straight paths.
I considered all these strange sights with great attention, until at last I was interrupted by a cluster of the travellers in the crooked paths, who came up to me, bid me go along with them, and presently fell to singing and dancing ; they took me by the hand, and so carried me away along with them. After I had followed them a considerable while, I perceived
I had lost the black tower of light, at which I greatly wondered; but I looked and gazed round about me, and saw nothing. I began to sancy my first vision had been but a dream, and there was no such thing in reality : but then I considered that if I could fancy to see what was not, I might as well have an illusion wrought on me at present, and not see what was really before me. I was very much confirmed in this thought, by the effect I then just observed the water of worldly wisdom had upon me; for as I had drunk a little of it again, I felt a very sensible effect in my head; methought it distracted and disordered all there ; this made me stop of a sudden, suspecting some charm or enchantment. As I was casting about within myself what I should do, and whom to apply to in this case, I spied, at some distance off me, a man beckoning, and making signs to me to come over to him. I cried to him, 6 I did not know the way." He then called to me audibly, to step at least out of the path I was in ; for if I stayed there any longer I was in danger to be catched in a great net that was just hanging over me, and ready to catch me up: that he wondered I was so blind, or so distracted, as not to see so imminent and visible a danger, assuring me, that as soon as I was out of that way, he would come to me to lead me into a more secure path. This I did, and he brought me his palm full of the water of Heavenly-wisdom, which was of very great use to me, for my eyes were straight cleared, and I saw the great black tower just before me ; but the great net which I spied so near me, cast me in such a terror, that I ran back as far as I could in one breath without looking behind me : then my benefactor thus bespoke me : You have made the wonderfullest escape in the world, the water you used to drink is of a bewitching nature, you would else have been mightily shocked at the deformities and meanness of the place ; for beside the set of blind fools
in whose company you was, you may now behold many others who are only bewitched after another no less dangerous manner. Look a little that way ; there goes a crowd of passengers; they have indeed so good a head as not to suffer themselves to be blinded by this bewitching water ; the black tower is not vanished out of their sight, they see it whenever they look up to it : but see how they go side ways, and with their eyes downwards, as if they were mad, that they may thus rush into the net, without being beforehand troubled at the thought of so miserable a destruction. Their wills are so perverse, and their hearts so fond of the pleasures of the place, that rather than forego them they will run all hazards, and venture upon all the miseries and woes before them.
See there that other company : though they should drink none of the bewitching water, yet they take a course bewitching and deluding; see how they choose the crookedest paths, whereby they have often the black tower behind them, and sometimes see the radiant column side-ways, which gives them some weak glimpse of it. These fools content themselves with that, not knowing whether any other have any more of its influence and light than themselves : this road is called that of Superstition or Human-invention ; they grossly overlook that which the rules and laws of the place prescribe to them, and contrive some other scheme and set of directions and prescriptions for themselves, which they hope will serve their turn. He shewed many other kind of fools, which put me quite out of humour with the place. At last he carried me to the right paths, where I found true and solid pleasure, which entertained me all the way until we came in closer sight of the pillar, where the satisfaction increased to that measure, that my faculties were not able to contain it: in the straining of them,
I was' violently waked, not a little grieved at the vanishing of so pleasant a dream.'
Glasgow, Sept. 29.
No. DXXV. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 1.
'o d' si's cò cão gor éx' ágetinjo ágào čews,
That love alone which virtue's laws controul,
IT is my custom to take frequent opportunities of enquiring from time to time, what success my speculations meet with in the town. I am glad to find in particular, that my discourses on marriage have been well received. A friend of mine gives me to understand, from Doctors Commons, that more licences have been taken out there of late than usual. I am likewise informed of several pretty fellows, who have resolved to commence heads of families by the first favourable opportunity: one of them writes me word, that he is ready to enter into the bonds of matrimony, provided I will give it him under my hand (as I now do) that a man may shew his face in good company after he is married, and that he need not be ashamed to treat a woman with kindness, who puts herself into his power for life.
I have other letters on this subject, which say that I am attempting to make a revolution in the world of gallantry, and that the consequence of it will be, that a great deal of the sprightliest wit and satire of the last age will be lost : that a bashful fellow, upon changing his condition, will be no longer puzzled
how to stand the raillery of his facetious companions ; that he need not own he married only to plunder an heiress of her fortune, nor pretend that he uses her ill, to avoid the ridiculous name of a fond husband.
Indeed, if I may speak my opinion of great part of the writings which once prevailed among us under the notion of humour, they are such as would tempt one to think there had been an association among the wits of those times to rally legitimacy out of our island. A state of wedlock was the cominon mark of all the adventurers in farce and comedy, as well as the essayers in lampoon and satire, to shoot at, and nothing was a more standing jest in all clubs of fashionable mirth and gay conversation. It was de. termined among those airy critics, that the appella. tion of a sober man should signify a spiritless fellow. And I am apt to think it was about the same time, that good-nature, a word so peculiarly elegant in our language, that some have affirmed it cannot well be expressed in any other, came first to be rendered suspicious, and in danger of being transferred from its original sense to so distant an idea as that of folly.
I must confess it has been my ambition, in the course of my writings, to restore, as well as I was able, the proper idea of things. And as I have attempted this already on the subject of marriage in several papers, I shall here add some farther observations which occur to me on the same head.
Nothing seems to be thought, by our fine gentlemen; so indispensible an ornament in fashionable life, as love. A knight-errant,' says Don Quixote, 6 without a mistress, is like a tree without leaves,'. and a man of mode among us, who has not some fair one to fight for, might as well pretend to appear dressed, without his periwig. We have lovers in prose innumerable. All our pretenders to rhyme are professed inamoratos ; and there is scarce a poet,