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very thick at the entrance of the bridge, so that throngs of people no sooner broke through the cloud than many fell into them. They grew thinner 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 kine 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 everything 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 trapdoors 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 in 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 seest anything 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 many other feathered creatures, several little winged boys that perch in great numbers 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 not 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)] saw the valley opening at the farther end, and spreading forth intc 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 per
sons 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. Gladness grew in me at the discovery of so de lightful a scene. 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, hat 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 seashore. There are myriads 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 nicn after death, who, according to the degree and kinds of virtue in which they excelled, are distributed among these several islands, which abound with pleasure 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 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 Bagdad, with oxen, sheep, and camels grazing upon the sides of it.
184. REFLECTIONS IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY.
When I look upon the tombs of the great, every emotion of envy dies in me; when I read the epitaphs of the beautiful, every inordinate desire goes out; when I meet with the grief of parents upon a tombstone, my heart melts with compassion; when I see the tomb of the parents themselves, I consider the vanity of grieving for those whom we must quickly follow. When I see kings ing by those who le posed them, when I consider rival wits placed side by side, or the holy men that divided the world with their contests and disputes, I reflect with sorrow and astonishment on the little competitions, factions, and debates of mankind. When I read the several dates of the tombs, of some that died yesterday, and some six hundred years ago, I consider that great day when we shall all of us be contemporaries, and make our appearance together.
185 CATO'S SOLILOQUY ON THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL.
It must be so; -- Plato, thou reason'st well,
Else whence this pleasing hope, this fond desire,
Or whence this secret dread and inward horror
Eternity!-thou pleasing-dreadful thought!
Through what new scenes and changes must we pass!
(And that there is all Nature cries aloud
Through all her works), he must delight in Virtue;
And that which he delights in must be happy :
But-when?- -or where? This world was made for Cæsar.
I'm weary of conjectures: -This must end them.
[Laying his hand on his sword.
Thus I am doubly armed; my death and life,
The wreck of matter, and the crush of worlds.
SIR RICHARD STEELE.
1675-1729. (Manual, p. 291! 186. THE DREAM.
i was once myself in agonies of grief that are unutterable, and in so great a distraction of mind, that I thought myself even out of the pos sibility of receiving comfort. The occasion was as follows: When 1 was a youth in a part of the army which was then quartered at Dover, I fell in love with an agreeable young womar., of a good family in
FROM "THE PARISH REGISTER."
246. AN ENGLISH PEASANT.
To pomp and pageantry in nought allied,
(Bane of the poor! it wounds their weaker mind,
It was the jealous pride that shuns disgrace;
A pride in honest fame, by v.rtue gained,
In sturdy boys to virtuous labors trained;
Pride in the Power that guards his country's coast,
Round the bald polish of that honored head;
ROBERT BURNS. 1759-1796. (Manual, p. 366.) 247. To MARY IN HEAVEN.
Thou lingering star, with lessening ray,
Again thou usher'st in the day
My Mary from my soul was torn.
O Mary! dear departed shade!
Where is thy place of blissful rest?
Seest thou thy lover lowly laid?
Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast.
That sacred hour can I forget?
Can I forget the hallowed grove,
To live one day of parting love?
Those records dear of transports past;
Thy image at our last embrace!
Ah, little thought we 'twas our last!
Ayr gurgling kissed his pebbled shore,
O'erhung with wild woods thickening green:
The fragrant birch, and hawthorn hoar,
Still o'er these scenes my memory wakes,
My Mary, dear departed shade!
Where is thy place of blissful rest?
Seest thou thy lover lowly laid?
Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast?