תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

palace stood. : When I was got to what I judged a sate distance, I began to lament in my own mind the misery of such as are taken in the snares of that wicked sorceress. I had not got far on, when I was met by that good old man whom I had read of a few hours before, as giving directions to those travellers that were willing to hearken to him, and who I remember was called thi Genius of Education. Perceiving me in a pensive and melancholy mood, he addressed me very kindly, aud enquired into the cause of it.

I told him where I had been, and what I had ob. served, with the sorrowful reflections I could not help making on the fate of numberless deluded wretches; and added, that being myself a young traveller in quest of Happiness, I was uncertain which way to take.

He looked at me with generous compassion, and bade me follow him, promising to put ine into the right road. H. conducted me along a winding path up a hill, on the top of which dweit a sedate and thoughtful man, well advanced in years, who he told me was a near relation of his. He lodged in an open pavilion, from whence there was a prospect of the whole country round, and appeared, as we approached, to sit in a musing posture, on a chair of polished metal, which cast an uncommon lustre about him, and reflected strong and full the images of surrounding objects. He held in his hand a large tel. escope of exquisite workmanship. by the help of which the most distant things might be easily and distinctly discerned.

My guide informed me, that his name was Contemplation ; that he was one of the eldest sons of Wisdom, and that he was posted on that hill by the sovereign of a great adjoining empire, called Virtue, to direct those who were travelling towards her tem. ple. Wethought his aspect was hale, serene, and piercing. There was something majestic in his wrinkles and gray hairs. A transparent mantle hung loose

about him, on which were wrought some mysterious figures that I did not understand.

As we entered his pavilion, he rose up with an crect and awful mein, and came forward to receive us with a remarkable composure and grace in his motioas. Being struck with reverence, I beheld him at first with respectful silence. But growing more confident by his encouraging looks, I told him, that having been lately in the palace of that vile enchantress, Pleasure, I was so sensible of her destructive wiles, that I had speedily made my escape, and was now in search of tlappiness. Contemplation said, that he was the professed friend and guardian of Youth, if I would trust myself to his care, he would undertake to conduct me. ' Having joyfully accepted his offer, and being warmly recommended to him by my former guide, he took me gently by the hand, and led me to the brow of the hill, from whence we could descry a wide extended country below, and travellers innumerable crossing it by a thousand different roads. “ That large tract,

said he," which you see towards the left hand, so variegated with hills and dales, and groves, and streams, and so full of inhabitants and travellers, is the dominion of that powerful sorceress, Vice : for so she is properly called, though she assumes to herself the more honourable name of Pleasure.

In that seemingly delicious bottom, which lies in the heart of the country, you see her palace, where you lately was. To confirm you in your opinion of her character, you may observe," said he, desiring me to look through the telescope, “how some of those miserable wretches, her votaries, are lost in the mazes of the wood which grows hard by ; how others of them wander up and down from one bow. er of the garden to another, forlorn and distracted ; whilst many of them are dragged away to a dirty cave, concealed from those who enter into her palace, at the farther end of a long lane behind it, and called the Cave of poverty : a horrid place, the mistress

whereof sits in gloomy state, on a large rough stone, clad in rags, shivering with cold, pining with hunger, and environed with a set of dismal figures, looking at her and one another with amazement. Some of their names are Dejection, Lamentation, Meanspiritedness, Suspicion, Greediness, Dishonesty, Despair. Not far from thence, you may perceive a strong prison, which is styled the House of Discipline. It is kept by two fierce and frightful fellows called Punishment and Terror, who are furnished with various instruments of toil, of pain, and of disgrace, for the chastiseinent of such malefactors as are delivered into their hands.

“But now," proceeded he, “cast your eyes again over the country which I showed you. It is divided into sundry districts, lying in a circle round the Palace of Pleasure. In their respective centres stand the seats of her principal ministers, who are always subject to her will, subservient to her interests, and ready to attend her court. On one side,” to which he point ed the glass.

you see,” said he, “ the mansion of Luxury, exceedingly magnificent and splendid, raised with a profusion of expence, and adorned on every hand with all the extravagance of art.” And here he desired me to mark with particular care an outlet from the gardens leading directly to the cave of Poverty.

Then turning the telescope to another side, Yonder,” said he, is the abode of Intemperance. It resembles, you see, a great inn, the gate thereof stands always open, and into which passengers are continually crowding. You may observe, that haraly any come out with the same countenance or shape with which they went in, but are transformed into the like. ness of different beasts. A little way off is a large Hospital or Lazar-house, into which the poor wretch. es are flung from time to time, loaded with all manner of diseases, and condemned to sickness, pain and putrefaction.”

Directing the glass another way, he next showed me the 'l'ower of Ambition, built on the top of a very

high hill, “ Thither," said he," you behold multitudes climbing from different quarters, struggling who should get foremost, and pushing down those before them. On one side of it, is a steep and slippery precipice, from which the most part, after having with infinite toil and contention gained it, tumble headlong into a bottomless gulf, and are never heard of more. On the other side, is a secret path which grows broader by degrees. At the entry to it, stands a smooth and artful villian, called Corruption, holding in one hand ribbons, and in the other bags of money, which under many specious pretexts, he presents to travel. lers, according to their several tastes. The path, after winding up the hill, leads down again by a straight descent, till it terminates in a dark dungeon, styled the Dungeon of Infamy. You observe what numbers are drawn into it. And of these there are not a few, who not only rejected for a long time the offers of Corruption, but exclaimed loudly against all who embraced them.

“ The valley below,” continued my guide, bending down the telescope, “is possessed by Vanity, whose district you may perceive, is still better peopled thap those of the other retainers to pleasure, which you have already seen.

She allures into her gaudy mansion, most travellers, by promising to lead them to the palace of her mistress through the temple of Fame, which she pretends is just in the neighbourhood, and only to be come at by passing through her dwelling, although indeed the right road to it lies through the Temple of Virtue, hard by which it stands. Those who are so foolish as to be decoyed by her, are generally consigned over to the scoffs of Ridicule, a formidable figure, who wears on his face a perpetual sneer, and, who after treating them with proper marks of scorn, shuts them up in an obscure cell, called the Cell of Contempt.

After this, Contemplation pointed out to me, in a remote corner of the country, that looked as if it had been disjoined from all the rest, a castle, which he

said was inhabited by an old usurer, named Avarice, who sat starving amid heaps of gold, and who, though in reality a chief retainer of Vice, refused to acknowledge her under the form of pleasure, and would never come near the court of that jolly goddess. “His castle, you see, is situated in the centre of a deep wood, and defended with high walls, and strongly fortified. That iron gate, which you perceive with the assistance of the glass, is the only entrance. It is secured within by many strong bolts. Without, stand two sharp eyed guards, with visages emaciated and keen, called Hunger and Anxiety, who let none pass into the castle, till they have manifested their good affection to the master of it, by serving a sufficient time in an outer yard, where some are digging, some hewing stones, others carrying on their shoulders heavy burdens, and many filling great chests with earth.' It is remarkable," added he, “that from the lowest cellar in the house, there is a long subterraneous passage, which communicates with the Cave of Poverty."

Section VIII.

THE TEMPLE OF VIRTUE.

The Temple, in full sight of which we were now come, stood on the summit of the hill. My guide perceiving me captivated with the view of so glorious a structure, said, pointing to it, “ T'hat, sir, is the Temple of Virtue, and the abode of Happiness. There the monster who so lately frightened you, Self-will and his gloomy partner Bigotry, dare not venture. Spleen never spreads her sable yings there. From thence are for ever excluded Corroding Cares, and fearful forebodings, with those infernal furies, bitter Strife, blind Passion, brutal Revenge, Jealousy of jaundiced eye, fell Hate, pining Envy, rapacious Appetite, and pale Remorse. Neither the indolent nar

« הקודםהמשך »