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upon that which is poffeffed upon earth, but upon that which is expected in heaven.'
Haffan, upon whofe mind the angel of inftruction impreffed the counsel of Omar, haftened to proftrate himself in the temple of the prophet. Peace dawned upon his mind, like the radiance of the morning; he returned to his labour with cheerfulness; his devotion became fervent and habitual; and the latter days of Haffan were happier than the first.
The vifion of Mirza; exhibiting a picture of human life.
On the fifth day of the moon, which according to the cuftom of my forefathers, I always keep holy, after having wafhed myself, and offered up my morning devotions, I afcended the high hills of Bagdat, in order to pass the rest of the day in meditation and prayer. As I was here refreshing myself on the tops of the mountains, I fell into a profound contemplation on the vanity of human life; and paffing from one thought to another, Surely, faid I, man is but a fhadow, and life a dream. Whilft I was thus mufing, I caft my eyes towards the fummit of a rock that was not far from me, where I difcovered one in the habit of a fhepherd, but who was in reality a being of fuperior nature. I drew near with profound reverence, and fell down at his feet. The genius fmiled upon me with a look of compaffion and affability, that familiarized him to my imagination, and at once difpelled all the fears and apprehenfions with which I approached him. He lifted me from the ground, and taking me by the hand, Mirza, faid he, I have heard thee in thy foliloquies; follow me.
He then led me to the highest pinnacle of the rock: and placing me on the top of it, Caft thy eyes eastward, said he, and tell me what thou feeft. I fee, faid I, a huge valley, and a prodigious tide of water rolling through it. The valley that thou feeft, faid he, is the vale of misery; and the tide of water that thou feeft is part of the great tide of eternity. What is the reason, said I, that the tide I fee rifes out of a thick mist at one end, and again lofes itfelf in a thick mift at the other? What thou feeft, faid he, is that portion of eternity which is called Time, meafured out by the fun, and reaching from the beginning of the world to its confummation. Examine now, faid he, this fea that is bounded with darkness at both ends, and tell me
what thou difcovereft in it. I fee a bridge, faid I, ftanding in the midst of the tide. The bridge thou seest, said he, is human life; confider it attentively. Upon a more leifurely furvey of it, I found that it confifted of threescore and ten entire arches, with feveral broken arches, which, added to thofe that were entire, made up the number about a hundred. As I was counting the arches, the genius told me that this bridge confifted at first of a thousand; but that a great flood fwept away the reft, and left the bridge in the ruinous condition I now beheld it. But tell me further, faid he, what thou difcovereft on it. I fee multitudes of people paffing over it, faid I, and a black cloud hanging on each end of it. As I looked more attentively, I faw feveral of the paffengers dropping through the bridge into the great tide that flowed underneath it and upon further examination perceived there were innumerable trap-doors that lay concealed in the bridge, which the paffengers no fooner trod upon, than they fell through them into the tide, and immediately dif appeared. These hidden pitfalls were fet very thick at the entrance of the bridge, fo that throngs of people no fooner 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 fome perfons, but their number was very fmall, that continued a kind of hobbling march on the broken arches, but fell through one after another, being quite tired and spent with fo long a walk.
I paffed fome time in the contemplation of this wonderful ftructure, and the great variety of objects which it prefented. My heart was filled with a deep melancholy, to fee several dropping unexpectedly in the midst of mirth and jollity, and catching at every thing that ftood by them, to fave themselves. Some were looking up towards the heavens in a thoughtful pofture, and in the midft of a fpeculation, ftumbled and fell out of fight. Multitudes were very bufy in the purfuit of bubbles, that glittered in their eyes, and danced before them; but often, when they thought themfelves within the reach of them, their footing failed, and down they funk. In this confufion of objects, I obferved fome with fcimitars in their hands, and others, with urinals, who ran to and fro upon the bridge, thrusting feveral perfons on trap-doors which did not feem to lie in their way, and which they might have escaped had they not been thus forced upon them.
The genius feeing me indulge myself in this melancholy profpect, told me i had dwelt long enough upon it. Take thine eyes off the bridge, faid he, and tell me if thou seest any thing thou doft not comprehend. Upon looking up, What mean, faid 1, those great flights of birds that are perpetually hovering about the bridge, and fettling upon it from time to time? I fee vultures, harpies, ravens, cormorants, and, among many other feathered creatures, feveral little winged boys that perch in great numbers upon the middle arches. Thefe, faid the genius, are envy, avarice, fuperftition, despair, love, with the like cares and paffions
that infeft human life
I here fetched a deep figh. Alas, faid I, man was. made in vain! how is he given away to mifery and mortality! tortured in life, and swallowed up in death! The genius, being moved with compaffion towards me, bid me quit fo uncomfortable a prospect. Look no more, faid he, on man in the first stage of his existence, in his fetting out for eternity; but caft thine eye on that thick mit into which the tide bears the feveral generations of mortals that fall into it I directed my fight as I was ordered, and (whether or not the good genius ftrengthened it with any fupernatural force, or diffipated part of the mift that was before too thick for the eye to penetrate) I faw the valley opening at the farther end, and spreading forth into an immenfe ocean, that had a huge rock of adamant running through the midst of it, and dividing it into two equal parts. The clouds ftill rested on one half of it, infomuch 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 fhining feas that ran among them. I could fee perfons dreffed in glorious habits, with garlands upon their heads, paffing among the trees, lying down by the fides of fountains, or refting on beds of flowers. Gladness grew in me at the difcovery of fo delightful a fcene. I wifhed for the wings of an eagle, that I might fly away to thofe happy feats; but the genius told me there was no paffage to them, except through the gates of death that I faw opening every moment upon the bridge. The iflands, faid he, that lie fo fresh and green before thee, and with which the whole face of the ocean appears spotted as far as thou canft fee, are more in num. ber than the fands on the fea-fhore. There are myriads of
iflands behind thofe which thou here discovereft, reaching further 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 diftributed among these several ilands, which abound with pleasures of different kinds and degrees, fuitable to the relishes and perfections of those who are fettled in them; every island is a paradife accommodated to its refpective inhabitants. Are not thefe, O Mirza, habitations worth contending for? Does life appear miferable, that gives thee opportunities of earning fuch a reward? Is death to be feared, that will convey thee to fo happy an existence? Think not man was made in vain, who has fuch an eternity referved for him. I gazed with inexpreffible pleasure on thefe happy iflands. At length, faid I, show me now, I beseech thee, the fecrets that lie hid under those dark clouds, which cover the ocean on the other fide of the rock of adamant. The genius making no anfwer, I turned about to addrefs myself to him a fecond time, but I found that he had left me. I then turned again to the vifion which I had been fo long contemplating; but inftead of the rolling tide, the arched bridge, and the happy iflands, I faw nothing but the long hollow valley of Bagdat, with oxen, fheep, and camels, grazing upon the fides of it.
Endeavours of mankind to get rid of their burdens; a dream.*
It is a celebrated thought of Socrates, that if all the mil fortunes of mankind were caft into a public stock, in order to be equally diftributed among the whole fpecies, thofe who now think themfelves the most unhappy, would prefer the fhare they are alreadly poffeffed of, before that which would fall to them by fuch a divifion. Horace has carried this thought a great deal further: he fays that the hardships or misfortunes which we lie under, are more eafy to us than thofe of any other person would be, in cafe we could change conditions with him.
As I was ruminating on the fe two remarks, and feated in my elbow chair, I infentibly fell asleep, when on a fud
Dr. Johnson used to say, that this Essay of Addison's, on the burdens of mankind, was the most exquisite he had ever read.
den, I thought there was a proclamation made by Jupiter, that every mortal fhould bring in his griefs and calamities, and throw them together in a heap. There was a large plain appointed for this purpose. I took my stand in the centre of it, and faw, with a great deal of pleasure, the whole human fpecies marching one after another, and throwing down their feveral loads, which immediately grew up into a prodigious mountain, that feemed to rife above the clouds.
There was a certain lady of a thin airy shape, who was very active in this folemnity. She carried a magnifying glass in one of her hands, and was clothed in a loose flowing robe. embroidered with feveral figures of fiends, and fpectres, that discovered themselves in a thousand chimerical fhapes, as her garment hovered in the wind. There was fomething wild and diftracted in her looks. Her name was FANCY. She led up every mortal to the appointed place, after having very officioufly affifted him in making up his pack, and laying it upon his fhoulders.
My heart melted within me, to fee my fellow-creatures groaning under their refpective burdens, and to confider that prodigious bulk of human calamities which lay be-fore me.
There were, however, feveral perfons who gave me great diverfion upon this occafion I obferved one bringing in a fardel very carefully concealed under an old embroidered cloak, which upon his throwing it into the heap, I discovered to be Poverty. Another, after a great deal of puffing, threw down his luggage, which, upon examining, I found to be his wife.
There were multitudes of lovers faddled with very whimsical burdens compofed of darts and flames; but what was very odd, though they fighed as if their hearts would break under thefe bundles of calamities, they could not perfuade themselves to caft them into the heap, when they came up to it; but after a few faint efforts, fhook their heads, and marched away as heavy laden as they came. I faw multitudes of old women throw down their wrinkles, and feveral young ones who ftripped themselves of a tawny skin. There were very great heaps of red nofes, large lips, and rufty teeth. The truth of it is, I was furprised to fee the greatest part of the mountain made up of bodily deformities. Obrving one advancing towards the heap, with a larger cargo than ordinary upon his back,