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in upon this occasion. I yesterday employed the whole afternoon in comparing them with each other; which made so strong an impression upon my imagination, that they broke my sleep for the first part of the following night, and at length threw me into a very agreeable vision, which I shall beg leave to describe in all its particulars.
I dreamed that I was conveyed into a wide and boundless plain, that was covered with prodigious multitudes of people, which no man could number. In the midst of it there stood a mountain, with its head above the clouds. The sides were extremely steep, and of such a particular structure, that no creature, which was not made in an human figure, could possibly ascend it. On a sudden there was heard from the top of it a sound like that of a trumpet; but so exceeding sweet and harmonious, that it filled the hearts of those who heard it with raptures, and gave such high and delightful sensations, as seemed to animate and raise human nature above itself. This made me very much amazed to find so very few in that innumerable multitude, who had ears fine enough to hear or relish this music with pleasure: but my wonder abated, when, upon looking round me, I saw most of them attentive to three Sirens clothed like goddesses, and distinguished by the names of Sloth, Ignorance, and Pleasure. They were seated on three rocks, amidst a beautiful variety of groves, meadows, and rivulets, that lay on the borders of the mountain. While the base and groveling multitude of different nations, ranks, and ages, were listening to these delusive deities, those of a more erect aspect and exalted spirit separated themselves from the rest, and marched in great bodies towards the mountain; from whence they heard the sound, which still grew sweeter the more they listened to it.
On a sudden, methought this select band sprang forward, with a resolution to climb the ascent, and follow
* Plain, that was covered] Better say, "plain covered”-to avoid the double relatives that was covered" which no man could number.”
From, is redundant, and had better been omitted.
the call of that heavenly music. Every one took something with him that he thought might be of assistance to him in his march. Several had their swords drawn, Some carried rolls of paper in their hands, some had compasses, others quadrants, others telescopes, and others pencils ; some had laurels on their heads, and others buskins on their legs : in short, there was scarce any instrument of a mechanic art or liberal science, which was not made use of on this occasion. My good dæmon, who stood at my right hand during the course of this whole vision, observing in me a burning desire to join that glorious company, told me, he highly approved that generous ardour with which I seemed transported; but, at the same time, advised me to cover my face with a mask all the while I was to labour on the ascent. I took his counsel without inquiring into his reasons. The whole body now broke into different parties, and began to climb the precipice by ten thousand different paths. Several got into little alleys, which did not reach far up the hill, before they ended and led no further: and I observed that most of the artisans, which considerably diminished our number, fell into these paths.
We left another considerable body of adventurers behind us, who thought they had discovered by-ways up the hill, which proved so very intricate and perplexed, that, after having advanced in them a little, they were quite lost among the several turns and windings; and though they were as active as any in their
motions, they made but little progress in the ascent. These, as my guide informed me, were men of subtle tempers, and puzzled politics, who would supply the place of real wisdom with cunning and artifice. Among those who were far advanced in their way, there were some that by one false step fell backward, and lost more ground in a moment, than they had gained for many hours, or could be ever able to recover. We were now advanced
• i.e. Were able to be coer able. It should have been, “ or could afterwards recover.”
very high, and observed, that all the different paths which ran about the sides of the mountain, began to meet in two great roads, which insensibly gathered the whole multitude of travellers into two great bodies. At a little distance from the entrance of each road, there stood an hideous phantom, that opposed our further passage. One of these apparitions had his right hand filled with darts, which he brandished in the face of all who came up that way. Crowds ran back at the appearance of it, and cried out, Death. The spectre that guarded the other road, was Envy: she was not armed with weapons of destruction like the former; but by dreadful hissings, noises of reproach, and a horrid distracted laughter, she appeared more frightful than death itself, insomuch, that abundance of our company were discouraged from passing any further, and some appeared ashamed of having come so far. As for myself, I must confess my heart shrunk within me at the sight of these ghastly appearances : but on a sudden, the voice of the trumpet came more full upon us, so that we felt a new resolution reviving in us; and in proportion as this resolution grew, the terrors before us seemed to vanish. Most of the company who had swords in their hands, marched on with great spirit, and an air of defiance, up the road that was commanded by Death ; while others, who had thought and contemplation in their looks, went forward in a more composed manner up the road possessed by Envy. The way above these apparitions grew smooth and uniform, and was so delightful, that the travellers went on with pleasure, and in a little time arrived at the top of the mountain. They here began to breathe a delicious kind of æther, and saw all the fields about them covered with a kind of purple light, that
« They here began to breathe”—to “ look and feature"] Two or three little blemishes, which the reader will observe in this sentence, may be removed by reading thus :-“ They here began to breathe a delicious kind of æther, and saw all the fields about them covered with a [kind of] purple light, that made them reflect with satisfaction on their past toils, and diffused a secret joy through the whole assembly [which shewed itself in every look and feature]—Omitting what is contained between the crotchets, for obvious reasons.
made them reflect with satisfaction on their past toils, and diffused a secret joy through the whole assembly, which shewed itself in every look and feature. In the midst of these happy fields, there stood a palace of a very glorious structure: it had four great folding doors, that faced the four several quarters of the world. On the top of it was enthroned the goddess of the mountain, who smiled upon her votaries, and sounded the silver trumpet which had called them up, and cheered them in their passage to her palace. They had now formed themselves into several divisions, a band of historians taking their stations at each door,' according to the persons whom they were to introduce.
On a sudden the trumpet, which had hitherto sounded only a march, or a point of war, now swelled all its notes into triumph and exultation : the whole fabric shook, and the doors flew open. The first who stepped forward, was a beautiful and blooming hero, and as I heard by the murmurs round me, Alexander the Great. He was conducted by a crowd of historians. son who immediately walked before him, was remarkable for an embroidered garment, who not being well acquainted with the place, was conducting him to an apartment appointed for the reception of fabulous heroes. The name of this false guide was Quintus Curtius. But Arrian and Plutarch, who knew better the avenues of this palace, conducted him into the great hall, and placed him at the upper end of the first table. My good dæmon, that I might see the whole ceremony, conveyed me to a corner of this room, where I might perceive all that passed, without being seen myself. The next who entered was a charming virgin, leading in a venerable old man that was blind. Under her left arm she bore a harp, and on her head a garland. Alexander, who was very well acquainted with Homer, stood up at his entrance and placed him on his right
Negligently expressed. Better in some such way as this : band of historians, whose office it was to introduce their respective worthies, taking their stations at each door."
hand. The virgin, who it seems was one of the nine sisters that attended on the goddess of Fame, smiled with an ineffable grace at their meeting, and retired.
Julius Cæsar was now coming forward; and though most of the historians offered their service to introduce him, he left them at the door, and would have no conductor but himself.
The next who advanced, was a man of a homely but cheerful aspect, and attended by persons of greater figure than any that appeared on this occasion. Plato was on his right-hand, and Xenophon on his left. He bowed to Homer, and sat down by him. It was expected that Plato would himself have taken a place next to his master Socrates; but, on a sudden, there was heard a great clamour of disputants at the door, who appeared with Aristotle at the head of them. That philosopher, with some rudeness, but great strength of reason, convinced the whole table, that a title to the fifth place was his due, and took it accordingly.
He had scarce sát down, when the same beautiful virgin that had introduced Homer brought in another, who hung back at the entrance, and would have excused himself, had not his modesty been overcome by the invitation of all who sat at the table. His guide and behaviour made me easily conclude it was Virgil. Cicero next appeared, and took his place. He had inquired at the door for Lucceius to introduce him ; but not finding him there, he contented himself with the attendance of many other writers, who all (except Sallust) appeared highly pleased with the office.
We waited some time in expectation of the next worthy, who came in with a great retinue of historians, whose names I could not learn, most of them being natives of Carthage. The person thus conducted, who was Hannibal, seemed much disturbed, and could not forbear complaining to the board of the affronts he had met with among the Roman historians, who attempted, says he, to carry me into the subterraneous apartment; and, perhaps, would have done it, had it not been for the impartiality of this gentleman, pointing to Polybius,