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so early, is a hard question: I believe I can tell the particular little chance that filled my head first with such chimes of verse, as have never since left ringing there: for I remember, when I began to read, and take some pleasure in it, there was wont to lie in my mother's parlour, (I know not by what accident, for she herself never in her life read any book but of devotion ;) but there was wont to lie Spenser's Works; this I happened to fall upon, and was infinitely delighted with the stories of the knights, and giants, and monsters, and brave houses, which I found everywhere there (though my understanding had little to do with all this) and by degrees, with the tinkling of the rhyme, and dance of the numbers, so that I think I had read him all over before I was twelve years old, and was thus made a poet. With these affections of my mind, and my heart wholly set upon letters, I went to the university; but was soon torn from thence by that public violent storm, which would suffer nothing to stand where it did, but rooted up every plant, even from the princely cedar, to me, the hyssop. Yet, I had as good fortune as could have befallen me in such a tempest; for I was cast by it into the family of one of the best persons, and into the court of one of the best princesses in the world. Now, though I was here engaged in ways most contrary to the original design of my life; that is, into much company, and no small business, and into a daily sight of greatness, both militant and triumphant, (for that was the state then of the English and the French courts ;) yet all this was so far from altering my opinion, that it only added the confirmation of reason to that which was before but natural inclination. I saw plainly all the paint of that kind of life, the nearer I came to it; and that beauty which I did not fall in love with, when, for aught I knew, it was real, was not like to bewitch, or entice me, when I saw it was adutlerate. I met with several great persons whom I liked very well; but could not perceive that any part of their greatness was to be liked or desired, no more than I would
be glad or content to be in a storm, though I saw many ships which rid safely and bravely in it. A storm would not agree with my stomach, if it did with my courage; though I was in a crowd of as good company as could be found anywhere, though I was in business of great and honourable trust, though I eat at the best table, and enjoyed the best conveniences for present subsistence that ought to be desired by a man of my condition, in banishment and public distresses; yet I could not abstain from renewing my old school-boy's wish, in a copy of verses to the same effect :
Well, then, I now do plainly see, This busy world and I shall ne'er agree," &c. And I never then proposed to myself any other advantage from his majesty's happy restoration, but the getting into some moderate convenient retreat in the country, which I thought in that case I might easily have compassed, as well as some others, who, with no greater probabilities or pretences, have arrived to extraordinary fortunes. But I had before written a shrewd prophecy against myself, and I think Apollo inspired me in the truth, though not in the elegance of it:
"Thou neither great at court, nor in the war, Nor at the exchange shalt be, nor at the wrangling bar;
Content thyself with the small barren praise, Which neglected verse does raise," &c.
However, by the failing of the forces which I had expected, I did not quit the design which I had resolved on; I cast myself into it a corpus perdi, without making capitulations, or taking counsel of fortune. But God laughs at man, who says to his soul, Take thy ease: I met presently not only with many little incumbrances and impediments, but with so much sickness (a new misfortune to me) as would have spoiled the happiness of an emperor, as well as mine. Yet I do neither repent nor alter my course; Non ego perfidum dixi sacramentum. Nothing shall separate me from a mistress which I have loved so long, and have now at last married; though she neither
has brought me a rich portion, nor lived yet so quietly with me as I hoped from her.
had more rejoicing than in parts more
-Nec vos dulcissima mundi
Hortique, Sylvæque animâ remanente relin- thereof: it was built of pearls and precious stones, also the streets thereof were paved with gold; so that, by reason of the natural glory of the city, and the reflection of the sunbeams upon it, Christian with desire fell sick; Hopeful also had a fit or two of the same disease: wherefore here they lay by it awhile, crying out, because of their pangs, "If you see my Beloved, tell him that I am sick of love."
"Nor by me e'er shall you,
You of all names the sweetest and the best,
[JOHN BUNYAN. 1628-1688.]
THE GOLDEN CITY, BEULAH.
Now I saw in my dream that by this time the pilgrims were got over the Enchanted Ground, and entering into the country of Beulah, whose air was very sweet and pleasant, the way lying directly through it, they solaced them there for a season. Yea, here they heard continually the singing of birds, and saw every day the flowers appear in the earth, and heard the voice of the turtle in the land. In this country the sun shineth night and day; wherefore it was beyond the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and also out of the reach of Giant Despair; neither could they from this place so much as see Doubting Castle. Here they were within sight of the city they were going to; also here met them some of the inhabitants thereof for in this land the shining ones commonly walked, because it was upon the borders of Heaven. In this land, also, the contract between the bride and bridegroom was renewed; yea, here,
as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so did their God rejoice over them." Here they had no want of corn and wine; for in this place they met abundance of what they had sought for in all their pilgrimage. Here they heard voices from out of the city, loud voices, saying, "Say ye to the daughter of Zion, behold thy salvation cometh! Behold, his reward is with him!" Here all the inhabitants of the country called them "The holy people, the redeemed of the Lord, sought out," &c.
Now, as they walked in this land, they
But being a little strengthened, and better able to bear their sickness, they walked on their way, and came yet nearer and nearer, where were orchards, vineyards, and gardens, and their gates opened into the highway. Now, as they came up to these places, behold the gardener stood in the way, to whom the pilgrims said, Whose goodly vineyards and gardens are these? He answered, They are the king's, and are planted here for his own delight, and also for the solace of pilgrims: so the gardener had them into the vineyards, and bid them refresh themselves with dainties; he also showed them there the king's walks and arbours, where he delighted to be; and here they tarried and slept.
Now, I beheld in my dream that they talked more in their sleep at this time than ever they did in all their journey; and being in a muse thereabout, the gardener said even to me, Wherefore musest thou at the matter? It is the nature of the fruit of the grapes of these vineyards to go down so sweetly, as to cause the lips of them that are asleep to speak.
So I saw that when they awoke, they addressed themselves to go up to the city. But, as I said, the reflection of the sun upon the city (for the city was pure gold) was so extremely glorious, that they could not as yet with open face behold it, but through an instrument made for that purpose. So I saw that, as they went on, there met them two men in raiment that shone like gold; also their faces shone as the light.
These men asked the pilgrims whence they came? and they told them. They also asked them where they had lodged, what difficulties and dangers, what comforts and pleasures, they had met with in the way? and they told them. Then said the men that met them, You have but two difficulties more to meet with, and then you are in the city.
Christian and his companion then asked the men to go along with them; so they told them that they would. But, said they, you must obtain it by your own faith. So I saw in my dream that they went on together till they came in sight of the gate.
Now, I further saw that betwixt them and the gate was a river, but there was no bridge to go over, and the river was very deep. At the sight, therefore, of this river, the pilgrims were much stunned; but the men that went with them said, You must go.through, or you cannot come to the gate.
The pilgrims then began to inquire if there was no other way to the gate? To which they answered, Yes, but there hath not any, save two, Enoch and Elijah, been permitted to tread that path since the foundation of the world, nor shall, until the last trumpet shall sound. The pilgrims then (especially Christian) began to despond in their minds, and looked this way and that; but no way could be found by them by which they might escape the river. Then they asked the men if the waters were all of a depth? They said, No; yet they could not help them in that case; For, said they, you shall find it deeper or shallower, as you believe in the King of the place.
They then addressed themselves to the water, and entering, Christian began to sink, and crying out to his good friend Hopeful, he said, I sink in deep waters: the billows go over my head; all the waters go over me. Selah.
Then said the other, Be of good cheer, my brother; I feel the bottom, and it is good. Then said Christian, Ah! my friend, the sorrow of death hath encompassed me about; I shall not see the land that flows with milk and honey. And
with that a great darkness and horror fell upon Christian, so that he could not see before him. Also here, in a great measure, he lost his senses, so that he could neither remember nor orderly talk of any of those sweet refreshments that he had met with in the way of his pilgrimage. But all the words that he spake still tended to discover that he had horror of mind, and heart fears that he should die in that river, and never obtain entrance in at the gate. Here, also, as they that stood by perceived, he was much in the troublesome thoughts of the sins that he had committed, both since and before he began to be a pilgrim. It was also observed that he was troubled with apparitions of hobgoblins and evil spirits; for ever and anon he would intimate so much by words. Hopeful, therefore, here had much ado to keep his brother's head above water; yea, sometimes he would be quite gone down, and then ere awhile he would rise up again half dead. Hopeful did also endeavour to comfort him, saying, Brother, I see the gate, and men standing by to receive us; but Christian would answer, It is you; it is you they wait for; you have been Hopeful ever since I knew you. And so have you, said he to Christian. Ah! brother, said he, surely if I was right, he would now rise to help me; but for my sins he hath brought me into the snare and left me. Then said Hopeful, My brother, you have 'quite forgot the text, where it is said of the wicked, There are no bands in their death, but their strength is firm; they are not troubled as other men, neither are they plagued like other men. These troubles and distresses that you go through in these waters are no sign that God hath forsaken you; but are sent to try you, whether you will call to mind that which heretofore you have received of his goodness, and live upon him in your distresses.
Then I saw in my dream that Christian was in a muse awhile. To whom, also, Hopeful added these words, Be of good cheer, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole : and with that Christian brake out with a loud voice, Oh! I see him again; and
he tells me, "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee." Then they both took courage, and the enemy was after that as still as a stone, until they were gone over. Christian, therefore, presently found ground to stand upon, and so it followed that the rest of the river was but shallow; but thus they got over. Now, upon the bank of the river on the other side, they saw the two shining men again, who there waited for them; wherefore, being come out of the river, they saluted them, saying, "We are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to those that shall be heirs of salvation." Thus they went along toward the gate. Now, you must note that the city stood upon a mighty hill; but the pilgrims went up that hill with ease, because they had these two men to lead them up by the arms? they had likewise left their mortal garments behind them in the river; for though they went in with them, they came out without them. They therefore went up here with much agility and speed, though the foundation upon which the city was framed was higher than the clouds; they therefore went up through the region of the air, sweetly talking as they went, being comforted because they got safely over the river, and had such glorious companions to attend them.
The talk that they had with the shining ones was about the glory of the place; who told them, that the beauty and glory of it was inexpressible. There, said they, is "Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, the innumerable company of angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect." You are going now, said they, to the Paradise of God, wherein you shall see the tree of life, and eat of the never-fading fruits thereof; and when you come there, you shall have white robes given you, and your walk and talk shall be every day with the King, even all the days of eternity. There you shall not see again such things as you saw when you were in the lower region upon the earth, to wit, sorrow, sickness, affliction, and death, "for the former things are passed away.'
You are now going to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to the prophets, men that God hath taken away from the evil to come, and that are now resting upon their beds, each one walking in his righteousness. The men then asked, What must we do in this holy place? To whom it was answered, You must there receive the comforts of all your toil, and have joy for all your sorrow; you must reap what you have sown, even the fruit of all your prayers and tears, and sufferings for the King by the way. that place you must wear crowns of gold, and enjoy the perpetual sight and vision of the Holy One, for "there you shall see him as he is." There, also, you shall serve him continually with praise, with shouting, and thanksgiving, whom you desired to serve in the world, though with much difficulty, because of the infirmity of your flesh. There your eyes shall be delighted with seeing, and your ears with hearing, the pleasant voice of the Mighty One. There you shall enjoy your friends again, that are gone thither before you; and there you shall with joy receive even every one that follows into the holy places after you. There, also, you shall be clothed with glory and majesty, and put into an equipage fit to ride out with the King of Glory. When he shall come with sound of trumpet in the clouds, as upon the wings of the wind, you shall come with him; and when he shall sit upon the throne of judgment, you shall sit by him; yea, and when he shall pass sentence upon all the workers of iniquity, let them be angels or men, you also shall have a voice in that judgment, because they were his and your enemies. Also, when he shall again return to the city, you shall go too, with sound of trumpet, and be ever with him.
Now, while they were thus drawing towards the gate, behold a company of the heavenly host came out to meet them: to whom it was said by the other two shining ones, These are the men who loved our Lord when they were in the world, and have left all for his holy name; and he hath sent us to fetch them, and we have brought them thus far on their
desired journey, that they may go in and look their Redeemer in the face with joy. Then the heavenly host gave a great shout, saying, "Blessed are they that are called to the marriage-supper of the Lamb.", There came also out at this time to meet them several of the King's trumpeters, clothed in white and shining raiment, who, with melodious and loud noises, made even the heavens to echo with their sound. These trumpeters saluted Christian, and his fellow with ten thousand welcomes from the world; and this they did with shouting and sound of trumpet.
This done, they compassed them round about on every side; some went before, some behind, and some on the right hand, some on the left (as it were to guard them through the upper regions), continually sounding as they went, with melodious noise, in notes on high; so that the very sight was to them that could behold it as if Heaven itself was come down to meet them. Thus, therefore, they walked on together; and, as they walked, ever and anon these trumpeters, even with joyful sound, would, by mixing their music with looks and gestures, still signify to Christian and his brother how welcome they were into their company, and with what gladness they came to meet them and now were these two men, as it were, in Heaven, before they came at it, being swallowed up with the sight of angels, and with hearing their melodious notes. Here, also, they had the city itself in view, and thought they heard all the bells therein to ring, to welcome them thereto. But, above all, the warm and joyful thoughts that they had about their own dwelling there with such company, and that for ever and ever. Oh! by what tongue or pen can their glorious joy be expressed! Thus they came up to the gate.
Now, when they were come up to the gate, there was written over in letters of gold, "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.'
Then I saw in my dream that the shining men bid them call at the gate;
the which, when they did, some from above looked over the gate, to wit, Enoch, Moses, Elijah, &c., to whom it was said, These pilgrims are come from the City of Destruction, for the love that they bear to the King of this place; and then the pilgrims gave in unto them each man his certificate, which they had received in the beginning: those, therefore, were carried in to the King, who, when he had read them, said, Where are the men? To whom it was answered, They are standing without the gate. The King then commanded to open the gate, "That the righteous nation," said he, "that keepeth truth, may enter in."
Now, I saw in my dream that these two men went in at the gate! and lo, as they entered, they were transfigured, and they had raiment put on that shone like gold. There were also that met them with harps and crowns, and gave to them the harps to praise withal, and the crowns in token of honour. Then I heard in my dream that all the bells in the city rang again for joy, and that it was said unto them, "Enter ye into the joy of your Lord." I also heard the men themselves, that they sang with a loud voice, saying, Blessing, honour, and glory, and power be to Him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever.
Now, just as the gates were opened to let in the men, I looked in after them, and behold the city shone like the sun; the streets, also were paved with gold, and in them walked many men with crowns on their heads, palms in their hands, and golden harps, to sing praises withal.
There were also of them that had wings, and they answered one another without intermission, saying, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord." And after that they shut up the gates; which when I had seen, I wished myself among them.
Now, while I was gazing upon all these things, I turned my head to look back, and saw Ignorance coming up to the river side; but he soon got over, and that without half the difficulty which the other two men met with. For it happened