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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.1 Accordingly they got a painter by the knight's directions to add a pair of whiskers to the face, and by a little aggravation 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 forbear 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 5 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."
2 aggravation. Explain.
8 alterations. Give a synonym. 4 forbear. Give a synonymi. 5 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 myself on the tops of
1 conjuring. See Glossary.
2 That... sides. An echo of the sage judgment previously rendered by the knight.
3 On the fifth ... prayer. Period, or loose sentence?
4 airing myself. Substitute a synonymous expression.
the mountains, I fell into a profound contemplation1 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 2 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 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,5 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 airs which he played, to taste the pleasures of his conversation, as I looked upon him
1 a profound contemplation. Substitute a synonymous expression. Should we now use the indefinite article "a" in association with the abstract noun "contemplation"?
2 habit, dress.
3 exceeding. Give the adverbial form.
4 Paradise. See Glossary.
5 a Genius, a spirit (good or evil) charged with the care of men; the plural is genii.
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 superior2 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 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 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?"
1 When he had sat. Period,
or loose sentence?
2 superior. Give a synonym. 3 affability. See Webster. 4 He then... seest. Complex or compound sentence?
"What thou seest," said he, "is that portion of eternity which is called time, measured out by the sun,
5 prodigious. From what noun is this adjective formed?
6 tide, stream, current. In the next paragraph it is equivalent to ocean, sea, which latter word is used a few lines farther on.
and reaching from the beginning of the world to its consummation.1
"Examine now," said he, "this sea that is thus bounded with darkness at both ends, and tell me what thou discoverest in it."
"I see a bridge," said I, "standing in the midst of the tide."
"That bridge thou seest," said he, "is human life: consider it attentively."
Upon a more leisurely survey of it, I found that it consisted of threescore and ten entire arches,2 with several broken arches,3 which, added to those that were entire, made up the number about an hundred. As I was counting the arches, the Genius told me that this bridge consisted at first of a thousand arches; but that a great flood swept away the rest, and left the bridge in the ruinous condition I now beheld it.
"But tell me further," said he, "what thou discoverest on it."
"I see multitudes of people passing over it," said I, “and a black cloud hanging on each end of it.”5
As I looked more attentively, I saw several of the passengers dropping through the bridge into the great tide that flowed underneath it; and, upon further examination, perceived there were innumerable trap
2 threescore and ten arches, the period of human life.
8 broken arches. Explain.
4 a thousand arches. When was this?
5 a black cloud, etc. Explain the allusion.
6 dropping through the bridge; i.e., dying.
7 innumerable. From the Latin noun numerus, number: analyze this word.