Gambar halaman

him ;

examples which he adduces of such adulterations are French. The book though totally neglected now, was once very popular; my venerable friend Bilderdijk tells me “ that it was one of the delights of his childhood.” I am obliged to Mr. Major for a French* translation of it, in which some intermediate possessor has drawn his pen through the name of Rousseau, that name appearing, upon comparing it with a fac-simile in Rees's Cyclopædia, and with an autograph also, to be in the hand-writing of Jean Jacques. The French translator, as might be expected, has carefully got rid of every thing which relates to Flemish manners and feelings, and the racines of the original is completely lost in his version.

The two sisters Dovekin and Willekin are invited in a dream by the Beloved, in the language of the Canticles to arise and come away. Willekin who is for a little more sleep, a little more slumber, is not inclined to accept the invitation, and disparages her lover, saying that he is no better than Joseph the carpenter and Peter the fisherman, with whom he used to keep company. Dovekin, however, persuades her to rise, and set off upon their pilgrimage to

it is but a day's journey : they wash at their outset in a river of clear water which has its source in Rome, and (taking the Netherlands in its way) flows to Jerusalem; and by this river they are to keep, or they will lose themselves. They gather flowers also at the beginning of their journey for the purpose of presenting them to the bridegroom and his mother, whose favour Dovekin

says it is of the utmost importance to obtain, and who, she assures her sister, dearly loves the Netherlanders. The wilful sister collects her flowers without any choice or care, loses them, over-eats herself, and is obliged to go to the river to wash herself after eating ; she then finds her flowers again and they proceed till they come to a village, where it happens to be fair time, and Willekin will not be dissuaded by her prudent sister from stopping to look at some mountebanks. The print annexed is what was supposed to represent Vanity-fair, whereas the story relates merely to a Flemish Kermes, and the only adventure which befalls the idle sister there is, that she brings away from it certain living and loathsome parasites of humanity, who pass under a generic appellation in the French version, but in the honest Dutch original are called by their own name.

Going out of her way to admire a peacock, Willekin steps in the dirt. Presently she must go see some calves at play, a cow bemires her with a whisk of its tail, and she must repair to the river and cleanse herself thero again ; thank God for this river! says Dovekin. Poor thoughtless incorrigible Willekin thus goes on from one mishap to another, and taking a by-path falls into a ditch, which the detector of Bunyan's plagiarism immediately supposed to be his slough of Despond. She goes on committing follies at every occasion, and some crimes; and the end, (for it must be needless to pursue the story,) is that when they come within sight of Jerusalem, she climbs a steep and dangerous place, notwithstanding her sister's entreaties, in order to

Voyage de Deus Seurs : Colombelle et Volontairette, vers leur Bien-Aime en la Cite de Jerusalem : contenant plusieurs incidens arrivez pendant leur poyuge. Par Boece de Bolswert, Nouvelle Edition corrigee et chatice selon le stile du tems, et enriche de figures en taille douce, A Liege, 1734.

obtain a better prospect; the wind blows her down, she falls into a deep pit full of noxious creatures, where no help can be given her, and there she is left with broken bones, to her fate. Dovekin proceeds, reaches the suburbs of Jerusalem, undergoes a purification in a tub, then makes a triumphant entrance into the city of Jerusalem in a lofty chariot, and is there with all honour and solemnity espoused to the bridegroom. And this is the book from which Bunyan was said to have stolen the Pilgrim's Progress! If ever there was a work which carried with it the stamp of originality in all its parts, it is that of John Bunyan's !

Mr. D’Israeli, from whose works the best informed reader may learn much, and who in the temper of his writings as well as in the research which they display, may be a useful model for succeeding authors, calls Bunyan “ the Spenser of the people.” He is indeed the prince of all allegorists in prose. The allegory is never lost sight of in the first part : in the second it is not so uniformly preserved ; parties who begin their pilgrimage in childhood, grow up upon the way, pass through the stage of courtship, marry and are given in marriage, have children and dispose of their children. Yet to most readers this second part is as delightful as the first; and Bunyan had perhaps more pleasure in composing it, not only because he was chewing the cud of his old inventions, but because there can be no doubt that he complimented the friends whom he delighted to honour, by giving them a place among the persons of his tale. We may be sure that Mr. Valiant-for-the-Truth, Old Honest of the town of Stupidity, Mr. Despondency and his daughter Much-afraid, and their companions, were well known in “Bishop Bunyan's” diocess : and if no real characters, were designed by him in those who are less favourably introduced as turning back on their journey, striking into by-paths, or slumbering by the way, likenesses would be discovered where none were intended.

None but those who have acquired the ill habit of always reading critically, can wish the Second Part had not been written, or feel it as a clog upon the first. There is a pleasure in travelling with another company over the same ground, a pleasure of reminiscence, neither inferior in kind nor in degree to that which is derived from a first impression. The author evidently felt this, and we are' indebted to it for some beautiful passages of repose, such as that in the valley of Humiliation. The manner in which Christian's battle is referred to, and the traces of it pointed out, reminds me of what is perhaps the best imagined scene in Palmerin of England, where Palmerin enters a chapel, and is shown the tombs of some of the knights of King Lisuarte's court.

Bunyan concludes with something like a promise of a third part. There appeared one after his death, by some unknown hand, and it has had the fortune to be included in many editions of the original work. It is impossible to state through how many editions that work has past ; probably no other book in the English language has obtained so constant and so wide a sale. The prints which have been engraved to illustrate it would form a collection, not so extensive indeed, but almost as curious, as that which Mr. Duppa saw ạt Vallumbrosa, where a monk had got together about eight thousand different engravings of the Virgin Mary. The worst specimens both in wood and copper

would be found among them; as now some of the best are to be added. When the reader has seen Giant Slaygood with Mr. Feeble-mind in his hand, he will I think agree with me that if a nation of Anakim existed at this day, the artist by whom that print was designed and executed, would deserve to be appointed historical painter to his Highness the Prince of the Giants

The Pilgrim's Progress has more than once been “done into verse," but I have seen only one version, and that of only the First Part. It was printed by R. Tookey, and to be sold by the booksellers of London and Westminster ; but if there be a date to this version, it has been torn off with the corner of the titlepage, from this well-thumbed and well-worn copy, for the use of which (as of other rare books that have been most useful on the present occasion) I am obliged to Mr. Alexander Chalmers. The versification is in the lowest Witherish strain, one degree only above Bunyan's own : yet here and there with indications of more power than the writer has thought proper to put forth. In general the version keeps close to the original: In one place a stroke of satire is put into Apollyon's mouth, against the occasional conformists :

"Come go with me occasionally back,

Rather than a preferment lose or lack." And after the Pilgrims have crossed the river, this singular illustration

occurs :

* Then on all sides the heavenly host enclose,
As through the upper regions all arose;
With mighty shouts and louder harmonies,
Heaven's Opera seem'd as glorious to the eyes

As if they had drawn up the curtain of the skies." Though the story certainly is not improved by versifying it, it is less injured than might have been supposed in the process; and perhaps most readers would read it with as, much interest in the one dress as in the other.

A stranger experiment was tried upon the Pilgrim's Progress, in translating it into other words, altering the names, and publishing it under the title of the Progress of the Pilgrim,* without any intimation that this version is not an original work. Evangelist is here called Good-news ; Worldly Wiseman, Mr. Politic Worldly ; Legality, Mr. Law-do; the Interpreter, Director; the Palace Beautiful, Graces Hall ; Vanity-town is Mundus; the Giant, is Giant Desperation of Diffident Castle, and the prisoners released from it, instead of Mr. Despondency and his daughter Much-afraid, are one Much-cast-down, and his kinsman Almost Overcome.” This would appear to have been merely the device of some knavish bookseller for evading the laws which protect literary property ; but the person employed in disguising the stolen goods must have been a Roman Catholic, for he has omitted all mention of Giant Pope, and Fidelius suffers martyrdom by being hanged, drawn, and quartered.

*" In two parts compleat. Part I. His pilgrimage from the present world to the world to come ; discovering the difficulties of his setting forth, the hazards of his jour. ney; and his safe arrival at the Heavenly Canaan. Part II. The pilgrimage of Chris. tiana, the wife of Christianus, with her four children; describing their dangerous journey, and safe arrival at the Land of the Blessed, written by way of dream. Adorned with several new pictures. Hos. xil. 10. I have used similitudes.London: printed by W. O. for 3. Blare, at the Looking Glass, on London Bridge, 1705.

The dialogues are much curtailed, and the book, as might be expected, very much worsened throughout; except that better verses are inserted.

Bunyan could little have supposed that his book would ever be adapted for sale among the Romanists. Whether this was done in the earliest French translation I do not know; but in the second there is no Giant Pope; and lest the circumstances of the author should operate unfavourably for the reception of his work, he is designated as un Ministre Anglois, nommé Jean Bunian, Pasteur d'une Eglise dans la Ville de Bedfort en Angleterre. This contains only the first part, but promises the second, should it be well received. The first part under the title of le Pelerinage d'un nommé Chrétien, forms one of the volumes of the Petite Bibliotheque du Catholique, and bears in the titlepage a glorified head of the Virgin. A Portuguese translation, (of the first part also,) in like manner cut down to the opinions of the public for which it was designed, was published in 1782. Indeed I believe there is no European language into which the Pilgrim's Progress has not been translated. The Holy War has been little less popular ; and if the Life and Death of Mr Badman has not been as generally read, it is because the subject is less agreeable, not that it has been treated with inferior ability.

I have only now to express my thanks to Mr. Rodd the bookseller, for the information with which he kindly assisted me; and to Mr. Major, who in publishing the most beautiful edition that has ever appeared of this famous book, has, by sparing no zeal in the collection of materials for it, enabled me to say that it is also the most correct.

In one of the volumes collected from various quarters, which were sent me for this purpose, I observe the name of W. Hone, and notice it that I may take the opportunity of recommending his Every-Day Book, and Table-Book, to those who are interested in the preservation of our national and local customs. By these very curious publications their compiler has rendered good service in an important department of literature ; and he may render yet more if he obtain the encouragement which he well deserves.

KESWICK March 13, 1830





And this is BUNYAN! How unlike the dull

Unmeaning visage which was wont to stand
His Pilgrim's Frontispiece—it's pond'rous scull

Propp'd gracelessly on an enormous hand ;-
A countenance one vainly might have scann'd
For one bright ray of genius or of sense ;

Much less the mental power of him who plann'd
This fabric quaint of rare intelligence,
And, having rear'd its pile, became immortal thence.
But here we trace, indelibly defined,

All his admirers' fondest hopes could crave,
Shrewdness of intellect, and strength of mind,

Devout, yet lively, and acute though grave ;

Worthy of Him whose rare invention gave
To serious Truth the charm of Fiction's dress,

Yet in that fiction sought the soul to save
From earth and sin for heaven and happiness,
And by his fancied dreams men's waking hours to bless.
Delightful Author ! while I look upon

This striking Portraiture of thee I seem
As if my thoughts on Pilgrimage were gone

Down the far vista of thy pleasant Dream,

Whose varied scenes with vivid wonders teem.-
SLOUGH OF DESPOND! Thy terrors strike mine eye;

Over the WICKET Gate I see the gleam
Of SHINING LIGHT; and catch that Mountain high,
Of Difficult ascent, the Pilgrim's faith to try.
The House call’d BEAUTIFUL; the lowly VALE

Of Self HUMILIATION, where the might
Of Christian panoplied in heavenly mail,

O'ercame APOLLYON in that fearful fight;

The Valley, named of Death, by shades of night * For the Authenticity of the Likeness here faithfully copied, vide Walpole's Anoc. dotes of Painting by Dallaway, vol. iii. p. 262. J. M.

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »