Page images

Upon his first rising the court was hushed, and a general whisper ran among the country people that Sir Roger was up. The speech he made was so little to the purpose, that I shall not trouble my readers with an account of it; and I believe was not so much designed 1 by the knight himself to inform the court, as to give him a figure in my eye, and to keep up his credit in the country.

I was highly delighted, when the court rose, to see the gentlemen of the country gathering about my old friend, and striving who should compliment him most; at the same time that the ordinary people gazed upon him at a distance, not a little admiring his courage, that was not afraid to speak to the judge.

In our return home we met with a very odd accident; which I can not forbear relating, because it shows how desirous all who know Sir Roger are of giving him marks of their esteem.

When we were arrived * upon the verge of his estate, we stopped at a little inn to rest ourselves and our horses. The man of the house had, it seems, been formerly a servant in the knight's family, and to do honor to his old master, had some time since, unknown to Sir Roger, put him up in a sign-post before the door: so that “the Knight's Head” had hung out upon the road about a week before he himself knew any thing of the matter.

As soon as Sir Roger was acquainted with it, finding

1 was designed. Supply a pro 8 country=county. noun subject.

4 were arrived. Give the mod2

a figure in my eye. Explain. I ern form.

that his servant's indiscretion proceeded only from affection and good-will, he only told him that he had made him too high a compliment; and when the fellow seemed to think that could hardly be, added with a more decisive look, that it was too great an honor for any man under a duke; but told him at the same time that it might be altered with a very few touches, and that he himself would be at the charge of it. Accordingly they got a painter by the knight's directions to add a pair of whiskers to the face, and by a little aggravation2 of the features to change it into the “Saracen's Head."

I should not have known this story, had not the innkeeper upon Sir Roger's alighting told him in my hearing, “That his honor's head was brought back last night with the alterations that he had ordered to be made in it.” Upon this my friend with his usual cheerfulness related the particulars above mentioned, and ordered the head to be brought into the room. I could not forbear4 discovering greater expressions of mirth than ordinary upon the appearance of this monstrous face, under which, notwithstanding it was made to frown and stare in a most extraordinary manner, I could still discover a distant resemblance of my old friend.

Sir Roger, upon seeing me laugh, desired me to tell


1 at the charge of it. “It” occurs twice, probably with different references. Substitute a noun here, “at the charge of the alteration."

aggravation. Explain. 8 alterations. Give a synonym. 4 forbear. Give a synonyni.

6 extraordinary Meaning of the prefix "extra"?

him truly if I thought it possible for people to know him in that disguise. I at first kept my usual silence; :but upon the knight's conjuring 1 me to tell him whether it was not still more like himself than a Saracen, I composed my countenance in the best manner I could, and replied, That much might be said on both sides.2

These several adventures, with the knight's behavior in them, gave me as pleasant a day as ever I met with in any of my travels.


[Addison frequently indulged himself in the species of composition known as Allegory; and of all his efforts in this style, “The Vision of Mirza” is the finest. It was contributed to the Spectator, No. 159, with this introduction: “When I was at Grand Cairo [i.e., Cairo in Egypt], I picked up several Oriental manuscripts, which I have still by me. Among others I met with one entitled “The Visions of Mirza,' which I have read over with great pleasure. I intend to give it to the public when I have no other entertainment for them, and shall begin with the first vision, which I have translated word for word, as follows."]

On the fifth day of the moon, which according to the custom of my forefathers I always kept holy, after having washed myself, and offered up my morning devotions, I ascended the high hills of Bagdad, in order to pass the rest of the day in meditation and prayer.& As I was here airing myself4 on the tops of

1 conjuring. See Glossary.

3 On the fifth .

•. • prayer. Pe2 That ... sides. An echo of riod, or loose sentence? the sage judgment previously ren 4 airing myself. Substitute a dered by the knight.

synonymous expression.

the mountains, I fell into a profound contemplation on the vanity of human life; and, passing from one thought to another, “Surely," said I, “man is but a shadow, and life a dream."

Whilst I was thus musing, I cast my eyes towards the summit of a rock that was not far from me, where I discovered one in the habit of a shepherd, with a little musical instrument in his hand. As I looked upon him, he applied it to his lips, and began to play upon it. The sound of it was exceeding 3 sweet, and wrought into a variety of tunes that were inexpressibly melodious, and altogether different from any thing I had ever heard. They put me in mind of those heavenly airs that are played to the departed souls of good men upon their first arrival in Paradise, to wear out the impressions of the last agonies, and qualify them for the pleasures of that happy place. My heart melted away in secret raptures.

I had been often told that the rock before me was the haunt of a Genius, and that several had been entertained with music who had passed by it; but never heard that the musician had before made himself visible. When he had raised my thoughts, by those transporting 6 airs which he played, to taste the pleasures of his conversation, as I looked upon him

la profound contemplation. 3 exceeding. Give the adverbial Substitute a synonymous expres- form. sion. Should we now use the in 4 Paradise. See Glossary. definite article “a” in association a Genius, a spirit (good or evil) with the abstract noun “contem- charged with the care of men; the plation"?

plural is genii. 2 habit, dress.

6 transporting. Explain.


like one astonished, he beckoned to me, and by the waving of his hand directed me to approach the place where he sat.1

I drew near with that reverence which is due to a superior? nature; and, as my heart was entirely subdued by the captivating strains I had heard, I fell down at his feet and wept. The Genius smiled upon me with a look of compassion and affability 3 that familiarized him to my imagination, and at once dispelled all the fears and apprehensions with which I approached him. He lifted me from the ground, and, taking me by the hand, “ Mirza,” said he, “I have heard thee in thy soliloquies: follow me.”

He then led me to the highest pinnacle of the rock, and placing me on the top of it, “Cast thy eyes eastward," said he, "and tell me what thou seest." 4

“I see,” said I, “a huge valley, and a prodigious tide 6 of water rolling through it.”

“The valley that thou seest,” said he,“ is the Vale of Misery, and the tide of water that thou seest is part of the great tide of eternity.”

“What is the reason,” said I,“ that the tide I see rises out of a thick mist at one end, and again loses itself in a thick mist at the other?

What thou seest,” said he, “is that portion of eternity which is called time, measured out by the sun,



1 When he had. sat. Period, 5 prodigious. From what noun or loose sentence?

is this adjective formed ? 2 superior. Give a synonym. 6 tide, stream, current. In the 3 affability. See Webster. next paragraph it is equivalent to 4 He then ...

seest. Complex ocean, sea, which latter word is or compound sentence?

used a few lines farther on.

« PreviousContinue »