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ing dormant or stagnating, for it was in a continual violent agitation; which kept the travellers, whom I shall mention by and by, from being sensible of the foulness and thickness of the water; which had this effect, that it intoxicated those who drank it, and made them mistake every object that lay before them. Both rivulets were parted near their springs into so many others, as there were straight and crooked paths, which they attended all along to their respective issues.
I observed from the several paths many now and then diverting, to refresh and otherwise qualify themselves for their journey, to the respective rivulets that ran near them: they contracted a very observable courage and steadiness in what they were about, by drinking these waters. At the end of the perspective of every straight path, all which did end in one issue and point, appeared a high pillar, all of diamond, casting rays as bright as those of the sun into the paths; which rays had also certain sympathizing and alluring virtues in them, so that whosoever had made some considerable progress in his journey onwards towards the pillar, by the repeated impressions of these rays upon him, was wrought into an habitual inclination and conversion of his sight towards it, so that it grew at last in a manner natural to him to look and gaze upon it, whereby he was kept steady in the straight paths, which alone led to that radiant body, the beholding of which was now grown a gratification to his nature.
'At the issue of the crooked paths there was a great black tower, out of the centre of which streamed a long succession of flames, which did rise even above the clouds; it gave a very great light to the whole plain, which did sometimes outshine the light, and oppressed the beams, of the adamantine pillar; though by the observation I made afterward,
it appeared that it was not from any diminution of light, but that this lay in the travellers, who would sometimes step out of the straight paths, where they lost the full prospect of the radiant pillar, and saw it but sideways: but the great light from the black tower, which was somewhat particularly scorching to them, would generally light and hasten them to their proper climate again.
Round about the black tower there were, methought, many thousands of huge mishapen ugly monsters; these had great nets, which they were perpetually plying and casting towards the crooked paths, and they would now and then catch up those that were nearest to them; these they took up straight, and whirled over the walls into the flaming tower, and they were no more seen nor heard of.
They would sometimes cast their nets towards the right paths to catch the stragglers, whose eyes, for want of frequent drinking at the brook that ran by them, grew dim, whereby they lost their way: these would sometimes very narrowly miss being catched away, but I could not hear whether any of these had ever been so unfortunate, that had been before very hearty in the straight paths.
'I considered all these strange sights with great attention, until at last I was interrupted by a cluster of the travellers in the crooked paths, who came up to me, bid me go along with them, and presently fell to singing and dancing: they took me by the hand, and so carried me away along with them. After I had followed them a considerable while, I perceived I had lost the black tower of light, at which I greatly wondered; but as I looked and gazed round about me, and saw nothing, I began to fancy my first vision had been but a dream, and there was no such thing in reality; but then I considered that if I could fancy to see what was not, I might as well
have an illusion wrought on me at present, and not see what was really before me. I was very much confirmed in this thought, by the effect I then just observed the water of Worldly-Wisdom had upon me; for as I had drank a little of it again, I felt a very sensible effect in my head: methought it distracted and disordered all there; this made me stop of a sudden, suspecting some charm or enchantment. As I was casting about within myself what I should do, and whom to apply to in this case, I spied at some distance off me a man beckoning, and making signs to me to come over to him. I cried to him, I did not know the way. He then called to me audibly, to step at least out of the path I was in; for if I stayed there any longer I was in danger to be catched in a great net that was just hanging over me, and ready to catch me up; that he wondered I was so blind, or so distracted, as not to see so imminent and visible a danger; assuring me, that as soon as I was out of that way, he would come to me to lead me into a more secure path. This I did, and he brought me his palm full of the water of Heavenly-Wisdom, which was of very great use to me, for my eyes were straight cleared, and I saw the great black tower just before me: but the great net which I spied so near me cast me in such a terror, that I ran back as far as I could in one breath, without looking behind me. Then my benefactor thus bespoke me : "You have made the wonderfulest escape in the world; the water you used to drink is of a bewitching nature, you would else have been mightily shocked at the deformities and meanness of the place; for beside the set of blind fools in whose company you was, you may now behold many others who are only bewitched after another no less dangerous manLook a little that way, there goes a crowd of passengers; they have indeed so good a head as
not to suffer themselves to be blinded by this bewitching water; the black tower is not vanished out of their sight, they see it whenever they look up to it but see how they go sideways, and with their eyes downwards, as if they were mad, that they may thus rush into the net, without being beforehand troubled at the thought of so miserable a destruction. Their wills are so perverse, and their hearts so fond of the pleasures of the place, that rather than forego them they will run all hazards, and venture upon all the miseries and woes before them.
“See there that other company; though they should drink none of the bewitching water, yet they take a course bewitching and deluding. See how they choose the crookedest paths, whereby they have often the black tower behind them, and sometimes see the radiant column sideways, which gives them some weak glimpse of it! These fools content themselves with that, not knowing whether any other have any more of its influence and light than themselves; this road is called that of Superstition, or Human Invention: they grossly overlook that which the rules and laws of the place prescribe to them, and contrive some other scheme, and set of directions and prescriptions for themselves, which they hope will serve their turn." He shewed me many other kind of fools, which put me quite out of humour with the place. At last he carried me to the right paths, where I found true and solid pleasure, which entertained me all the way, until we came in closer sight of the pillar, where the satisfaction increased to that measure that my faculties were not able to contain it; in the straining of them I was violently waked, not a little grieved at the vanishing of so pleasing a dream.'
Glasgow, September 29.
N° 525. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 1712.
That love alone, which virtue's laws control,
It is my custom to take frequent opportunities of inquiring from time to time what success my speculations meet with in the town. I am glad to find,
in particular, that my discourses on marriage have been well received. A friend of mine gives me to understand, from Doctors' Commons, that more licences have been taken out there of late than usual. I am likewise informed of several pretty fellows, who have resolved to commence heads of families by the first favourable opportunity. One of them writes me word that he is ready to enter into the bonds of matrimony, provided I will give it him under my hand (as I now do), that a man may shew his face in good company after he is married, and that he need not be ashamed to treat a woman with kindness who puts herself into his power for life. I have other letters on this subject, which say that I am attempting to make a revolution in the world of gallantry, and that the consequence of it will be that a great deal of the sprightliest wit and satire of the last age will be lost; that a bashful fellow upon changing his condition, will be no longer puzzled how to stand the raillery of his facetious companions; that he need not own he married only to plunder an heiress of her fortune, nor pretend that he uses her ill, to avoid the ridiculous name of a fond husband. Indeed, if I may speak my opinion of great part