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gold; but they are more than curious; there is vigor in them, and fire of the soul.
If the following emblems in addition to those I have before referred to) be taken as specimens of what fancies the poet could play with for the prisoner's amusement, there is no good critic but will recognize in them the elements of a true poetical genius. Who, for example, in Bunyan's stanzas upon the sun's reflection on the clouds in a fair morning, will not irresistibly be reminded of Milton's beautiful image in the Mask of Comus ?
Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud
Bunyan, certainly, never imitated any living creature, nor the writings of any genius, living or dead; yet there are passages, that, with the exception of the recurrence of “grace” or similar religious phrases, formed in a very different school from that of the poets of this world, might be deemed to have been cut directly from the pages even of such a writer as Shakspeare. Juliet, looking from her window, might have uttered the following lines, had her thoughts been upon such sacred things as the prayer of the saints.
Look yonder! ah, methinks mine eyes do see
Unto the saints' sweet incense of their prayer
Remark also the beauty of the following lines upon the rising of the sun :
Look how brave Sol doth peep up from beneath
Nor are we now as at the peep of light,
And thus it is when Jesus shows his face,
Take also the following very beautiful moral upon the promising fruitfulness of a tree. Who could have written in purer language, or with more terseness and graphic simplicity ?
A comely sight indeed it is to see,
But we alas! do commonly behold
This tree a perfect emblem is of those
Its blasted blooms are motions unto good,
Those little apples which yet blasted are,
Those which the wind blows down while they are green,
Behold then how abortive some fruits are,
may add to these extracts the following emblem upon a snail, very much in the manner of our elder poets, and with an exquisite religious moral, which you might look far to discover in English poetry, and not find at all, or not find so simply and so well expressed.
She goes but softly, but she goeth sure,
She stumbles not, as stronger creatures do;
Better than they which do much further go.
She makes no noise, but stilly seizeth on
The flow'r or herb, appointed for her food;
While others range and glare, but find no good.
And tho’she doth but very softly go,
However slow her pace be, yet 'tis sure :
The prize which they do aim at, they procure.
Altho' they seem not much to stir or go,
Who thirst for Christ, and who from wrath do flee,
Tho' it does seem the farthest off to be.
One act of faith doth bring them to that flow'r
They so long for that they may eat and live,
Tho' for it a king's ransom they would give.
Then let none faint, nor be at all dismay'd,
That life by Christ do seek, they shall not fail
To have it; let them nothing be afraid :
The herb and flow'r are eaten by the snail.
In the collection of Bunyan's poetical pieces in his works there are some very thoughtful and vigorous stanzas, entitled, A Caution to Stir up to Watch against Sin. They may very probably be ranked along with the Divine Emblems, as the production of his prison hours. The following lines are powerful.
Sin is the living worm, the lasting fire;
Look to thyself then, keep it out of door,
No match has sin but God in all the world,
Watch, therefore, keep this giant out of door,
Fools make a mock at sin, will not believe
Look to thyself then, deal with sin no more,
In the prose works of Bunyan there are here and there passages, which, had he put them into rhyme, would have made exquisite poems. Such, for example, is the following paragraph, which one might suppose to have been cut from the pages of the holy Leighton, so much do the spirit, the
language, and the imagery resemble his. “I have thus written,” says Bunyan, speaking of his work on Christian Behaviour,“ because it is amiable and pleasant to God, when Christians keep their rank, relation, and station, doing all as becomes their quality and calling. When Christians stand every one in their places, and do the work of their relations, then they are like the flowers in the garden, that stand and grow where the gardener hath planted them, and then they shall both honor the garden in which they are planted, and the gardener that hath so disposed of them. From the hyssop in the wall to the cedar in Lebanon, their fruit is their glory. And seeing the stock into which we are planted is the fruitfulest stock, the sap conveyed thereout the fruitfulest sap, and the dresser of our souls the wisest husbandman, how contrary to nature, to example, and expectation we should be, if we should not be rich in good works. Wherefore, take heed of being painted fire, wherein is no warmth ; and painted flowers, which retain no smell, and of being painted trees, whereon is no fruit. Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift, is like clouds and wind without rain. Farewell! The Lord be with thy spirit, that thou mayest profit for time to come.”
In the same work on Christian Behaviour he says beautifully, “It is the ordinance of God that Christians should be often asserting the things of God each to others, and that by their so doing they should edify one another. The doctrine of the gospel is like the dew and the small rain, that distilleth upon the tender grass, wherewith it doth flourish,