Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

Which to a goodly city led his view,
Whose walls and towers were builded high and strong
Of pearl and precious stone, that earthly tongue
Cannot describe, nor wit of man can tell;
Too high a ditty for my simple song!

The city of the Great King hight it well,
Wherein eternal peace and happiness doth dwell.

As he thereon stood gazing, he might see
The blessed angels to and fro descend
From highest Heaven in gladsome company,
And with great joy into that city wend,
As cominonly as friend doth with his friend ;
Whereat he wondered much, and 'gan inquire
What stately buildings durst so high extend

Her lofty towers into the starry sphere,
And what unknowen nation there empeopled were.

We know of no other work in which we take a deeper sympathetic interest in all the circumstances of danger, trial, or happiness befalling the hero. The honesty, integrity, open-heartedness, humor, simplicity and deep sensibility of Christian's character, make us love him : nor is there a character depicted in all English literature that stands out to the mind in bolder truth and originality. There is a wonderful charm and truth to nature in Christian's manifest growth in grace and wisdom. What a different being is Christian on the Delectable Mountains, or in the land Beulah, and Christian when he first set out on his pilgrimage. And yet he is always the same being ; we recognize him at once. The change is not of the original features of his character, but a change into the character of the “Lord of the way,” a gradual imbuing with his spirit; a change, in Paul's expressive language, from glory to glory into the same image. In proportion as he arrives nearer the Celestial City he shines brighter, his character

unfolds in greater richness, he commands more veneration from us, without losing any of our affection. As we witness his steadily increasing lustre, we think of that beautiful Scripture image, the path of the Just is as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. From being an unwary Pilgrim, just setting out, with all the rags of the City of Destruction about him, and the burden of guilt bending him down, he becomes that delightful character, an experienced Christian; with the robe given him by the Shining Ones, shining brighter and brighter, and the roll of assurance becoming clearer, and courage more confirmed and steady, and in broader and broader light Heaven reflected from his countenance. We go

with him in his Pilgrimage all the way. We enter the Interpreter's house ; we see all the varieties which the Lord of the Way keeps there for the entertainment of the Pilgrims; we solemnly gaze on that terrible picture of the Man of Despair ; we tremble as we listen to the Dream of the Judgment; and the description of that venturous man that cut his way through the armed men, and won eternal glory, ravishes our hearts. Then we leave the house comforted and refreshed, and proceed on our way; we climb the bill Difficulty, we rest in the Arbour, and lose our roll, and come back weeping and seeking for it; in this much time is lost, and the night comes on, and we are fearful of the darkness. We tremble and weep for Christian in his dreadful fight with Apollyon, in the Valley of Humiliation; we rejoice in the radiant smile that at length breaks out from his distressed sonl over his

countenance ; then we plunge with him into the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and amidst all its gloom and horrors and hobgoblins, we think we hear a voice singing ; by and by we overtake Faithful ; we pass through Vanity Fair ; farther on we become tired of the way, and turn aside from the rough path to go in the soft meadow ; we are overtaken by the storm ; we fall into Giant Despair's Castle; we are there from Wednesday noon till Saturday night ;-there never was a poem into which we entered so wholly, and with all the heart, and in such fervent love and believing as

surance.

Now all this admirable accuracy and beauty Bunyan wrought seemingly without design. It was not so much an exertion, a labor of his mind, as the promptings and wanderings at will of his unconscious genius. He never thought of doing all this, but he did it. He was as a child under the power and guidance of his genius, and with a child's admiration he would look upon the creations which his own imagination presented to his mind. Thus Bunyan went on, painting that narrow way, and the exquisite scenery each side of it, and the many characters crossing, appearing, and passing at a distance, and Christian and Hopeful on their way, and making every part of the picture, as he proceeded, harmonize with the whole, and yet add anew to its meaning, and all with as much qniet unconscious ease and simplicity, as an infant would put together a baby-house of cards, or as the frost on a winter's night would draw a picture on the window.

The minute passages of beauty, and the exquisite lessons of the allegory, are so many from beginning to end, that it is vain to make a selection. The whole description of the Slough of Despond, the character of Pliable, and his getting out on the side nearest the City of Destruction, and the reception he met from his neighbors when he came back, are rich in truth and beauty. The comparison of Christian's and Faithful's experience is beautiful; so is Faithful's description of a bold fellow he met in the Valley of Humiliation-Shame; so is their encounter with the plausible, gentlemanly, money-making Demas. The character of Talkative, and the way they took to prove him, are excellent. Their passage through Vanity Fair, and the whole trial in that town, with the names of the jurors and judges, and the characteristic speeches of each, are admirably described. The character of By-ends, who was for religion in her silver slippers, and the humour and keen satire in the dialogue between By-ends, Money-love, Save-all, and Hold-the-World, are equally admirable. Then we may remember that pleasant river, and the roughness of the road, where it parted from the river, so that it made them not scrupulous to get over the stile, and walk in By-Path Meadow, when that tempestuous night came on; and though amidst the darkness they heard a voice sounding, Let thy feet be to the king's highway, yet, with all the effort they made, they could not that night regain it, but trespassed on Giant Despair's grounds, and fell into his Castle. That night was a dreadful night for the Pilgrims. The

Key of Promise, in Christian’s bosom, while lying in the Dungeon is a beautiful incident. It was a pleasant thing to see the Pilgrims, when they had escaped the Giant, and got again to the King's highway, and so were safe, devising au inscription to keep those, that should come after, from falling, as they did, into the hands of Giant Despair. “Over this stile is the way to Doubting Castle, kept by Giant Despair, who despiseth the King of the Celestial Country, and seeks to destroy his holy Pilgrims.” On the Delectable Mountains they saw some pleasant and admonitory sights. When the Shepherds unconsciously were telling Hopeful and Christian of Doubting Castle and Giant Despair, Christian and Hopeful looked meaningly on one another, but said nothing. It is also a beautiful incident, when, though they were bidden to look through the telescope at the Celestial City, in the distance, their hands so trembled at the remembrance of the dangers they had seen, that they could not hold the glass so as to discern it with any clearness. The dialogue between Hopeful and Christian on Little-Faith's misfortunes, is exceedingly characteristic and full of humor. One of the most solemn and striking lessons is taught in the character of Ignorance, who met with none of the difficulties Christian passed through, and was even ferried over the river of Death in the boat of one called Self-Conceit. Then his disappointment at the Gate of the City !

The scenery, and the countries all the way that lie on both sides the path, are in perfect keeping with the whole allegory. So are the paths that

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »