« ForrigeFortsett »
An account of Vanity Fair.
vended, so here likewise you have the proper places, rows, streets (viz. countries and kingdoms,) where the wares of this fair are soonest to be found. Here is the Britain Row, the French Row, the Italian Row, the Spanish Row, the German Row, where several sorts of Vanities are to be sold. But as, in other fairs, some one commodity is the chief of all the fair, so the ware of Rome, and her merchandise, is greatly promoted in this fair; only our English nation, with some others, have taken a dislike thereat.1
Now, as I said, the way to the Celestial City lies just through this town where this lusty fair is kept; and he that would go to the City, , and yet not go through this town, must needs go out of the world. The Prince of princes himself, when here, went through this town to his own country, and that upon a fair day too: Yea, and as I think, it was Beelzebub, the chief Lord of this Fair, that invited him to buy of his vanities; yea, would have made him lord of the fair, would he but have done him reverence as he went through the town; yea, because he was such a person of honour, Beelzebub had him from street to street, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a little time, that he might, if possible, allure that blessed One to cheapen and buy some of his vanities; but he had no mind to the merchandise, and therefore left the town, without laying out so much as one farthing upon these vanities. This Fair, therefore, is an ancient thing, of long standing, and a very great fair.” (1 Cor. v. 10. Matt. iv. 8. Luke iv. 5—7.)
Now, these pilgrims, as I said, must needs go through this Fair. Well, so they did; but behold, even as they entered into the fair, all
1 Our author evidently designed to exhibit in his allegory the grand outlines of the difficulties, temptations, and sufferings to which believers are exposed in this evil world; which, in a work of this nature, must be related as if they came upon them one after another in regular succession; though in actual experience several may meet together, many may molest the same person again and again, and some harass him in every stage of his journey. To this an allusion is made by the rows' in this fair. Writing at the time he did, he might well say the English nation had taken a dislike to the merchandise of Rome. It is to be hoped that dislike may continue. 1 Here are inserted the following lines,
Behold Vanity-fair! The pilgrims there
Are chained and stoned beside:
And on Mount Calvary died.'