Imágenes de páginas

like particulars, were laid together and formed into a kind of creed, according to the opinions of the most celebrated atbeists; I say, sopposing such a creed as this were formed, and inposed upon any one people in the world, whether it would not require an infinitely greater measure of faith, than any set of articles which they so violently oppose? Let me therefore advise this generation of wranglers, for their own and for the public good, to act at least so consistently with themselves, as not to burn with zeal for irreligion, and with bigotry for nousense.



[ocr errors]

Omnem, quæ nunc obducta tuenti
Mortales hebetat visus tibi, et humi:la circum
Caligat, nubem eripiain

The cloud, which, intercepting the clear light,
Hangs o'er the eyes, and blunts thy mortal sight,
I will remove
WHEN I was at Grand Cairo, I picked up several

oriental nianuscripts, which I have still by me. Among other. I met with one entitled, The Vision of Mirza, which I have read over with great pleasure ; and which I have translated word for word as fol.


[ocr errors]

“On the fifth day of the moon, which according to the custom of my forefathers I always keep holy, after having washed myself and offered up my morning devotions, I ascended the high hills of Bagrat, in order to pass the rest of the day in meditation and prayer. As I was here airing myself on the tops of the mountains, I fell into a profound contemplationi on the vanity of human life; and passing froin one thought to another, Surely, said 1, man is but a shadow, and life a dream. Whilst I was thus musing, I

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

cast my eyes towards the summit of a rock that was in Il not far from me, where I discovered one in the habit has seest, of a shepherd, with a little musical instrument in biss called hand. As I looked upon him he applied it to his lips, and began to play upon it. The sound of it was estresaEx= ceeding sweet, and wronght into a variety of tunes atended wit that were inexpressibly melodious, and altogether dif. ferent from any thing I had ever heard: they put me in mind of those heavenly airs that are played to the be, is Paradise, to wear out the impressions of the last agonist of three departed souls of good men upon their first arrival in nies, and qualify them for the pleasures of that happs marken arc place. My heart melted away in secret raptures.

“ I had been often told that the rock before me was the baunt of a Genius ; and that several had been entertained with music who had passed by it, but never heard that the musician had before made himself vi sible. When he had raised any thoughts by those transporting airs which he played, to taste the pleasures of his conversation, as I looked upon him like one astonished, he beckoned to me, and by the waving of his hand directed me to approach the place where he sat. I drew near with that reverence which is due to a superior nature; and as my heart was entirely sub-tied there dued by the captivating strains I had heard, I fell down at his feet and wept. The Genius smiled upon tros por me with a look of compassion and affability that fauni

. liarized him to my imagination, and at once dispelled all the fears and apprehensions with which I approached him. He lifted me from the ground, and taking 1 batmar me by the hand, Mirza, said he, I have heard thee in thy soliloquies ; follow me.

“ He then led me to the highest pinnacle of the rock, and placing me on the top of it, Cast thy eyes eastward, said he, and tell me what thou seest. Isee, maid I, a huge valley, and a prodigious tide of water rolling through it. The valley that thou seest is part of the great tide of eternity. What is the reason, I, that the tide I see rises out of a thick mist at oke

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

"There wer

Te very here on the



end, and again loses itself in a thick mist at the other? What thou seest, said he, is that portion of eternity which is called time, measured out by the sun, and reaching from the beginning of the world to its consummation. Examine now, said he, this sea that is thus bounded with darkness at both ends, and tell me what thon discoverest in it. I see a bridge, said I, standing in the midst of the tide. The bridge thon seest, said he, is human life, consider it attentively. Upon a more leisurely survey of it, I found that it consisted of threescore and ten entire arches, with several broken arches, which, added to those that were entire, made up the number about an hundred. As I was counting the arches, the genius told me that this bridge consisted at first of a thousand arches: but that a great flood swept away the rest, and left the bridge in the ruinous condition I now beheld it: but tell me further, said he, what thou discoverest on it.

I see makitudes of people passing over it, said I, and a * black clond hanging on each end of it. As I looked

more attentively, I saw several of the passengers

dropping through the bridge, into the great tide that en flowed underneath it; and upon further examination, = perceived there were junumerable trap doors that lay to concealed in the bridge, which the passengers no

sooner trod upon, but they fell through them into the Exotide, and immediately disappeared. These hidden pit.

falls were set very thick at the entrance of the bridge, so that throng of people no sooner broke through the

cloud, but many of them fell into them. They grew i thinner towards the middle, but multiplied and lay * closer together towards the end of the arches that were entire,

" There were indeed soine persons, but their num ber was very sınall, that continued a kind of hobbling march on the broken arches, but fell through one after another, being quite tired and spent with so long a walk.

I %

tye on tt k yeral geu

[ocr errors]

e a thick fu

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


Vads, pa

“I passed some time in the contemplation of this wonderful stractare, and the great variety of objects which it presented. My heart was filled with a deep feated my sig melancholy to see several dropping unexpectedly in the midst of mirth and jollity, and catching at every day, or thing that stood by them to save themselves. Some were looking up towards the heavens in a thougbuo ng at the posture, and in the midst of a speculation stambled and fell out of sight. Multitudes were very busy in the pursuit of bubbles that glittered in their

eyes danced before them; but often when they thought themselves within the reach of them, their footing Tewher a failed and down they sunk. In this confasion of objects, I observed some with scimitars in their hands, and others with urinals, who ran to and fro upon bridge, thrusting several persons on trap-doors which did not seem to lie in their way, and which they might have escaped had they not been thus forced upon Of IOD them.

“ The Genius seeing me indulge myself in this me. lancholy prospect, told me I had dwelt long enough upon it; take thine eyes off the bridge, said be, tell me if thou yet seest any thing thou dost vot com. prehend. Upon looking up, What mean, said I, those great flights of birds that are perpetually hovering abont 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 genins, 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 op death! The Genius being moved with conipassion towards me, bid me quit so uncomfortable a Look no more, said he, on man in the first stage bis existence, in his setting out for eternity; but casi

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

2004 of a bestee a

distribo or wit Tone to


thine eye on that thiek 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 no the good Genius strengthened it with any supernatu: ral force, or dissipated part of the mist that was before too thick for the eye to penetrate, I saw the valley opening at the further 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 flowers, and interwoven with a thousand little shining seas that ran among them. I could see persons 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; and could hear a confused harmony of singing birds, falling waters, human voices, and musical instruments. Gladness

grew in me upon the discovery of so delight

I wished for the wings of an eagle, that I might fly 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 upou the bridge. The islands, said he, that lie 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 of the sea-shore; there are myriads of islands behind those which thou here discoverest, reaching further than thine eye, or even thy imagination can extend itself. These are the mansions of good men after death, who, according to the degree and kinds of virtue in which they excelled, are distributed among these several islands, which abound with pleasures of different kinds and degrees, suitable to the relishes and perfections of those wbo are seltled in them; every island is a paradise accom:

ful a scene.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »