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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 genuis, "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 in compassion toward me, bade 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 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 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
Gladness grew in me upon the
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 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 myriads of islands behind those which thou here discoverest, reaching farther 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 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 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.
JOSEPH ADDISON was born at Wiltshire, England, in 1672. He was educated at Oxford, where he distinguished himself for his Latin verses. His first was published in his twenty-second year. In 1704 he wrote "The Campaign," in celebration of the English victory at Blenheim, and in reward for it was appointed Under Secretary of State. His tragedy of "Cato" was presented in one of the London theatres in 1703, where it met with much favor. But it is to his essays in "The Spectator" (1711, 1712) that the permanence of his fame is due. His opera, "Rosamond," was performed in 1706. He also wrote Prologues and Epilogues to various plays; among others the Prologue to "The Tender Husband" and the Epilogue to Lord Landsdowne's "British Enchanters." He died at Holland House on the 17th of June, 1719.
"Whoever wishes to attain an English style, familiar but not coarse, and elegant but not ostentatious, must give his days and nights to the volumes of Addison." - Dr. Johnson.
1. The “Vision of Mirza" comprises Number 159 of the "Spectator," and bears the date of Saturday, September 1, 1711. "The Spectator" was at first a daily publication, each number usually containing a single essay. The first number was published March 1, 1711. Most of the essays were contributed by Addison and Sir Richard Steele, although a few were written by Swift, Budgell, and others. The paper was discontinued December 6, 1712, but was resumed as a tri-weekly in 1714, and eighty additional numbers were issued.
'The earliest composition that I recollect taking pleasure in," said Robert Burns, "was the Vision of Mirza.'"
"The cloud which, intercepting the clear light
The Paradise of Fools.
BY THOMAS PARNELL.
OUR defects and follies are too often unknown to us: nay, they are so far from being known to us, that they pass for demonstrations of our worth. This makes us easy in the midst of them, fond to show them, fond to improve in them, and to be esteemed for them. Then it is that a thousand unaccountable conceits, gay inventions, and extravagant actions must afford us pleasures, and display us to others in the colors which we ourselves take a fancy to glory in: and indeed there is something so amusing for the time in this state of vanity and ill-grounded satisfaction, that even the wiser world has chosen an exalted word to describe its enchantments, and called it the Paradise of Fools.
Perhaps the latter part of this reflection may seem a false thought to some, and bear another turn than what I have given; but it is at present none of my business to look after it, who am going to confess that I have been lately amongst them in a vision.
Methought I was transported to a hill, green, flowery, and of an easy ascent. Upon the broad top of it resided squint-eyed Error, and popular Opinion with many heads; two that dealt in sorcery, and were famous for bewitching people with the love of themselves. To these
repaired a multitude from every side, by two different paths which lead towards each of them. Some who had the most assuming air, went directly of themselves to Error, without expecting a conductor; others of a softer nature went first to popular Opinion, from whence as she influenced and engaged them with their own praises, she delivered them over to his government.
When we had ascended to an open part of the summit where Opinion abode, we found her entertaining several who had arrived before us. Her voice was pleasing; she breathed odors as she spoke: she seemed to have a tongue for every one; every one thought he heard of something that was valuable in himself, and expected a paradise, which she promised as the reward of his merit. Thus were we drawn to follow her, till she should bring us where it was to be bestowed; and it was observable that all the way we went, the company was either praising themselves for their qualifications, or one another for those qualifications which they took to be conspicuous in their own characters, or dispraising others for wanting theirs, or vying in the degrees of them.
At last we approached a bower, at the entrance of which Error was seated. The trees were thick-woven, and the place where he sat artfully contrived to darken him a little. He was disguised in a whitish robe, which he had put on, that he might appear to us with a nearer resemblance to Truth: and as she has a light whereby she manifests the beauties of nature to the eyes of her adorers, so he had provided himself with a magical wan that he might do something in imitation of it, and cring with delusions. This he lifted solemnly, and mnchantto himself, bid the glories which he kept und