« 前へ次へ »
very thick at the entrance of the bridge, so that throngs of people no sooner broke through the cloud than many fell into them. They grew thinner towards the middle, but multiplied and lay closer together towards the end of the arches that were entire. There were indeed some persons, but their number was very small, that continued a king of ho!bling march on the broken arches, but fell through one after arether, being quite tired and spent with so long a walk.
I passed some time in the contemplation of this wonderful structure, and the great variety of objects which it presented. My heart was filled with a deep melancholy, to see several dropping unexpectedly in the midst of mirth and jollity, and catching at everything that stood by them, to save themselves. Some were looking up towards the heavens in a thoughtful posture, and, in the midst of a speculation, stumbled and fell out of sight. Multitudes were very busy in the pursuit of bubbles, that glittered in their eyes, and danced before them; but often, when they thought themselves within the reach of them, their footing failed, and down they sunk. In this confusion of objects, I observed some with scimitars in their hands, and others with urinals, who ran to and fro upon the bridge, thrusting several persons on trapdoors which did not seem to lie in their way, and which they might have escaped had they not been thus forced upon them.
The genius seeing me indulge myself in this melancholy prospect, told me I had dwelt long enough upon it. “Take thine eyes off the bridge,” said he," and tell me if thou seest anything thou dost not comprehend." Upon looking up, “What mean," said I, “those great flights of birds that are perpetually hovering about the bridge, and settling upon it from time to time? I see vultures, harpies, ravens, cormorants, and, among many other feathered creatures, several little winged boys that perch in great numbers upon the middle arches." " These,” said the genius, “are envy, avarice, superstition, despair, love, with the like cares and passions that infest human life.”
I here fetched a deep sigh. “Alas,” said I, “man was made in vain! how is he given away to misery and mortality! tortured in life, and swallowed up in death!” The genius being moved with compassion towards me, bid me quit so uncomfortable a prospect. “Look no more,” said he, "on man in the first stage of his existence, in his setting out for eternity; but cast thine eye on that thick mist into which the tide bears the several generations of mortals that fall into it.” I directed my sight as I was ordered, and (whether or not the good genius strengthened it with any supernatural force, or dissipated part of the mist that was before too thick for the eye to penetrate) I saw the valley opening at the farther end, and spreading forth into an immense ocean, that had a huge rock of adamant running through the midst of it, and dividing it into two equal parts. The clouds still rested on one half of it, insomuch that I could discover nothing in it; but the other appeared to me a vast ocean, planted with innumerable islands, that were covered with fruits and flov'ers, and interwoven with a thousand little shining seas that ran among them. I could see per
sons dressed in glorious habits, with garlands upon their heads, passing among the trees, lying down by the sides of fountains, or resting on beds of flowers. Gladness grew in me at the discovery of so do. lightful a scene. I wished for the wings of an eagle, that I migh. Ay away to those happy seats; but the genius told me there was no passage to them, except through the gates of death that I saw opening every moment upon the bridge. “The islands," said he, that jie so fresh and green before thee, and with which the whole face of the ocean appears spotted as far as thou canst see, are more in number than the sands on the seashore. There are myriads of islands behind those which thou here discoverest, reaching further than thine eye, or even thine imagination, can extend itself. These are the mansions of good nicn after death, who, according to the degree and kinds of virtue in which they excelled, are distributed among these several islands, which abound with pleasure of different kinds and degrees, suitable to the relishes and perfections of those who are settled in them: every island is a paradise accommodated to its respective inhabitants. Are not these, O Mirza, habitations worth contending for? Does life appear miserable, that gives the opportunities of earning such a reward? Is death to be feared, that will convey thee to so happy an existence? Think not man was made in vain, who has such an eternity reserved for him.” I gazed with inexpressible pleasure on these happy islands. At length, said I, “Show me now, I beseech thee, the secrets that lie hid under those dark clouds, which cover the ocean on the other side of the rock of adamant.” The genius making no answer, I turned about to address myself to him a second time, but I found that he had left ine. I then turned again to the vision which I had been so long contemplating; but instead of the rolling tide, the arched bridge, and the happy islands, I saw nothing but the long hollow valley of Bagdad, with oxen, sheep, and camels grazing upon the sides of it.
184. REFLECTIONS IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY. When I look upon the tombs of the great, every emotion of envy dies in me; when I read the epitaphs of the beautiful, every inordinate desire goes out; when I meet with the grief of parents upon a tombo stone, my heart melts with compassion; when I see the towed of the parents themselves, I consider the vanity of grieving for those whom we must quickly follow. When I see kings :jing by those who se posed them, when I consider rival wits placed side by side, or the holy men that divided the world with their contests and disputes, I reflect with sorrow and astonishment on the little competitions, factions, and debates of mankind. When I read the several dates of the tombs, of some that died yesterday, and some 3ix hundred years ago, I consider that great day when we shall all of is be contemporaries, and mako our appearance together.
FROM “Cato." 185 Cato's SOLILOQUY ON THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL.
It must he so; -- Plato, thou reason'st well,
'Tis the Divinity that stirs within us,
[Laying his hand on his sword,
Sir RICHARD STEELE. 1675-1729. (Manual, p. 291 !
186. THE DREAM. i was once myself in agonies of grief that are unutterable, and in so greit a distraction of mind, that I thought myself even out of the pose sibility of receiving comfort. The occasion was as follows: When I was a youth in a part of the arıny which was then quartered at Dover, I fell in love with an agreeable young womar., of a good family in
FROM "THE PARISH REGISTER.”
246. AN ENGLISH PEASANT. To pomp and pageantry in nought allied, A noble peasant, Isaac Ashford, died. Noble he was, contemning all things mean, His truth unquestioned, and his soul serene : Of no man's presence Isaac felt afraid, At no man's question Isaac looked dismayed : Shame knew him not, he dreaded no disgrace : Truth, simple truth, was written in his face; Yet while the serious thought his soul approved, Cheerful he seemed and gentleness he loved : To bliss domestic he his heart resigned, And, with the firmest, had the fondest mind : Were others joyful, he looked smiling on, And gave allowance where he needed none: Good he refused with future ill to buy, Nor knew a joy that caused reflection's sigh; A friend to virtue, his unclouded breast No envy stung, no jealousy distressed (Bane of the poor! it wounds their weaker mind, To miss one favor which their neighbors find): Yet far was he from stoic pride removed; He felt humanely, and he warmly loved : I marked his action when his infant died, And his old neighbor for offence was tried; The still tears, stealing down that furrowed cheek, Spoke pity plainer than the tongue can speak. If pride were his, 'twas not their vulgar pride, Who, in their base contempt, the great deride; Nor pride in learning, though my clerk agreed, If fate should call him, Ashford might succeed; Nor pride in rustic skill, although we knew None his superior, and his equals few: But if that spirit in his soul had place, It was the jealous pride that shuns disgrace; A pride in hones: fame, by virtue gained, In sturdy boys tr virtuous labors trained; Pride in the Power that guards his country's coust And all that Englishmen enjoy and boast; Pride, in a life that slander's tongue defied, In fact a noble passion, misnamed pride. I feel his absence in the hours of prarer, And view his seat, and sigh for Isaac there; I see no more those white locks, thinly spread
Round the bald polish of that honored head;
ROBERT BURNS. 1759-1796. (Manual, p. 366.)
247. TO MARY IN HEAVEN.
That lov'st to greet the early morn,
My Mary from my soul was torn.
Where is thy place of blissful rest?
Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast.
That sacred hour can I forget?
Can I forget the hallowed grove,
To live one day of parting love?
Those records dear of transports past; · Thy image at our last embrace !
Ah, little thought we 'twas our last!
O’erhung with wild woods thickening green:
Twined amorous round the raptured scene.
The birds sang love on every spray,
Proclaimed the speed of wingéd day.
Still o'er these scenes my memory wakes,
And fondly broods with miser care;
As streams their channels deeper wear.
Where is thy place of blissful rest?
Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast?