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ment to appear before us. Immediately we cast our eyes on that part of the sky to which he pointed, and observed a thin blue prospect, which cleared as mountains in a summer morning when the mists go off, and the palace of Vanity appeared to sight.
The foundation hardly seemed a foundation, but a set of curling clouds, which it stood upon by magical contrivance. The way by which we ascended was painted like a rainbow; and as we went the breeze that played about us bewitched the senses. The walls were gilded all for show; the lowest set of pillars were of the slight fine Corinthian order, and the top of the building being rounded, bore so far the resemblance of a bubble.
At the gate the travellers neither met with a porter, nor waited till one should appear; every one thought his merits a sufficient passport, and pressed forward. In the hall we met with several phantoms, that roved amongst us, and ranged the company according to their sentiments. There was decreasing Honor, that had nothing to show in but an old coat of his ancestors' achievements; there was Ostentation, that made himself his own constant subject, and Gallantry strutting upon his tiptoes. At the upper end of the hall stood a throne, whose canopy glittered with all the riches that gayety could contrive to lavish on it; and between the gilded arms sat Vanity, decked in the peacock's feathers, and acknowledged for another Venus by her votaries. The boy who stood beside her for a Cupid, and who made the world to bow before her, was called Self-Conceit. His eyes had every now and then a cast inwards to the neglect of all objects about him; and the arms which he made use of for conquest were borrowed from those against whom he had a design. The arrow which he
shot at the soldiers was fledged from his own plume of feathers; the dart he directed against the man of wit was winged from the quills he writ with; and that which he sent against those who presumed upon their riches was headed with gold out of their treasuries. He made nets for statesmen from their own contrivances; he took fire from the eyes of ladies, with which he melted their hearts; and lightning from the tongues of the eloquent, to inflame them with their own glories. At the foot of the throne sat three false graces, Flattery with a shell of paint, Affectation with a mirror to practise at, and Fashion ever changing the posture of her cloths. These applied themselves to secure the conquests which Self-Conceit had gotten, and had each of them their particular politics. Flattery gave new colors and complexions to all things, Affectation new airs and appearances, which, as she said, were not vulgar, and Fashion both concealed some home defects, and added some foreign external beauties.
As I was reflecting upon what I saw, I heard a voice. in the crowd bemoaning the condition of mankind, which is thus managed by the breath of Opinion, deluded by Error, fired by Self-Conceit, and given up to be trained in all the courses of Vanity, till Scorn or Poverty come upon us. These expressions were no sooner handed about, but I immediately saw a general disorder, till at last there was a parting in one place, and a grave old man, decent and resolute, was led forward to be punished for the words he had uttered. He appeared inclined to have spoken in his own defence, but I could not observe that any one was willing to hear him. Vanity cast a scornful smile at him; Self-Conceit was angry; Flattery, who knew him for Plain-Dealing, put
on a vizard, and turned away; Affectation tossed her fan, made mouths, and called him Envy or Slander; and Fashion would have it that, at least, he must be Ill-Manners. Thus slighted and despised by all, he was driven out for abusing people of merit and figure; and I heard it firmly resolved that he should be used no better wherever they met with him hereafter.
I had already seen the meaning of most part of that warning which he had given, and was considering how the latter words should be fulfilled, when a mighty noise was heard without, and the door was blackened by a numerous train of harpies crowding in upon us. Folly and Broken Credit were seen in the house before they entered. Trouble, Shame, Infamy, Scorn, and Poverty brought up the rear. Vanity, with her Cupid and Graces, disappeared; her subjects ran into holes and corners; but many of them were found and carried off (as I was told by one who stood near me) either to prisons or cellars, solitude, or little company, the meaner arts or the viler crafts of life. But these, added he, with a disdainful air, are such who would fondly live here, when their merits neither matched the lustre of the place, nor their riches its expenses. We have seen such scenes as these before now; the glory you saw will all return when the hurry is over. I thanked him for his information, and believing him so incorrigible as that he would stay till it was his turn to be taken, I made off to the door, and overtook some few, who, though they would not harken to Plain-Dealing, were now terrified to good purpose by the example of others. But when they had touched the threshold, it was a strange shock to them to find that the delusion of Error was gone, and they plainly discerned the building to hang a little
up in the air without any real foundation. At first we saw nothing but a desperate leap remained for us, and I a thousand times blamed my unmeaning curiosity that had brought me into so much danger. But as they began to sink lower in their own minds, methought the palace sunk along with us, till they were arrived at the due point of Esteem which they ought to have for themselves; then the part of the building in which they stood touched the earth, and we departing out, it retired from our eyes. Now, whether they who stayed in the palace were sensible of this descent, I cannot tell; it was then my opinion that they were not. However it be, my dream broke up at it, and has given me occasion all my life to reflect upon the fatal consequences of following the suggestions of Vanity.
"THOMAS PARNELL, the writer of this allegory, was the son of a commonwealthsman, who at the Restoration ceased to live on his hereditary lands at Congleton, in Cheshire, and bought an estate in Ireland. Born in 1679, at Dublin, where he became M.A. of Trinity College, in 1700 he was ordained after taking his degree, and in 1705 became archdeacon of Clogher. At the same time he took a wife, who died in 1711. Parnell had been an associate of the chief Whig writers, had taste as a poet, and found pleasure in writing for the papers of the time. When the Whigs went out of power in Queen Anne's reign, Parnell connected himself with the Tories. On the warm recommendation of Swift, he obtained a prebend in 1713, and in May, 1716, a vicarage in the diocese of Dublin, worth £400 a year. He died in July, 1717, aged thirty-eight. Inheriting his father's estates in Cheshire and Ireland, Parnell was not in need. Wanting vigor and passion, he was neither formidable nor bitter as a political opponent, and in 1712 his old friends, Steele and Addison, were glad of a paper from him; though, with Swift, he had gone over to the other side in politics." - MORLEY.
This allegory is the 460th number of "The Spectator," and was published August 18, 1712.
The Castle of Endolence.
IN the year 1506, Alexander Barclay, the author of the "Shyp of Fooles,"1 translated from the French an allegory called "The Castel of Laboure," "wherein is riches, virtue, and honour." This piece was of considerable length but of small merit, and represented Lady Reason conquering Despair, Poverty, and the kindred evils which beset a man newly married. About the year 1536 another French allegory of similar character and bearing the same name was translated into English by Bishop Alcock. These poems, if poems they may be called, probably supplied James Thomson with some remote suggestions of an allegory which he finally published in 1748 under the title of "The Castle of Indolence." In its original form the poem consisted simply of some disconnected stanzas intended by the author to ridicule his own indolence and that of a few friends. But, borrowing ideas from the French works mentioned above, from Tasso, from Spenser, and from an obscure poem on "Indolence" written by a certain Joseph Mitchell, and to these adding from his own no small stock of imagination and fancy, he was able to construct, after fifteen years' labor, an allegory which is truly delightful. The "Castle of Indolence" is contained in two cantos. The first canto describes
1 See page 85.