Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

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 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 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 every thing 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 trap-doors 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 on 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 yet seest any thing 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

among many other feathered creatures several little winged boys, that perch in great nuinbers 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 no 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 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 thein. 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 the discovery of so delightful a scene. I wished for the wings of an eagle, that I might fly away to those VOL. II.

happy

in

me upon

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 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 on the sea-shore: there are mysiads 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 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 diderent 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, hiabtations worth contending for? Does life appear miserable, that gives thee 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 me no answer, I turned about to address myself to him a second time, but I found that he had left me. 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 Bagdat, with oxen, sheep, and camels grazing upon the sides of it.'

[graphic]

ADDISON

A COUNTRY WA KĘ. No. 161.

I am glad that my late going into the country has increased the number of my correspondents, one of whom sends nie the following letter :

• Sir,

• Though you are pleased to retire from us so soon into the city, I hope you will not think the affairs of the country altogether unworthy of your inspection for the future. I had the honour of seeing your short face at sir Roger de Coverley's, and have ever since thought your person and writings both extraordinary. Had you staid there a few days longer you would have seen a country wake, which you know in most parts of England is the eve feast of the dedication of our churches. I was last week at one of these assemblies which was held in a neighbouring parish; where I found their green covered with a promiscuous multitude of all ages and both sexes, who esteem one another more or less the following part of the year, according as they distinguish themselves at this time. The whole company were in their holiday clothes, and di. vided into several parties, all of thein endeavouring to show themselves in those exercises wherein they ex+ celled, and to gain the approbation of the lookers-on.

• I found a ring of cudgel-players, who were breaking one another's heads in order to make some impression on their mistresses' hearts. I observed a lusty young fellow, who had the misfortune of a broken pate; but what considerably added to the anguish of the wound, was his overbearing an old man, who shook his head, and said " that by questioned now if

B 2

black

black Kate would marry him these three years. I was diverted from a further observation of these combatants, by a foot-ball match, which was on the other side of the green ; where Tom Short behaved himself so well, that most people seemed to gree, it was impossible that he should remain a bachelor until the next wake.' Having played many a match myself, I could have looked longer on this sport, had I not observed a country girl, who was posted on an eminence at some distance from me, and was making so many odd grimaces, and writhing and distorting her whole body in so strange a manner, as made me very desirous to know the meaning of it. Upon my coming up to her, I found that she was overlooking a ring of wrestlers, and that her sweetheart, a person of small stature, was contending with a huge brawny fellow, who twirled him about, and shook the little man so violently, that by a secret sympathy of hearts it produced all those agitations in the person of his mistress, who I dare say, like Cælia in Shakespear on the same occasion, could have wished herself invisible to catch the strong fellow by the leg. The squire of the parish treats the whole company every year with a hogshead of ale; and proposes a beaver hat as a recompense to him who gives most falls. This has raised such a spirit of emulation in the youth of the place, that some of them have rendered themselves very expert at this exercise; and I was often surprised to see a fellow's heels fly up, by a trip which was given him so smartly that I could scarce discern it. I found that the old wrestlers seldom entered the ring until some one was grown formidable by having thrown two or three of his opponents; but kept themselves as it were in a reserved body to defend the hat, which is

always

« AnteriorContinuar »