Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

their journey, striking into bye-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 at 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. Feeblemind 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 title-page, 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 crost the river, this singular illustration occurs

“ Then on all sides the heavenly hosts enclose,

As through the upper regions all arose ;
With mighty shouts and louder harmonies,
Heavens 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. The dialogues are much curtailed, and the book, as might be expected, very much worsened throughout; except that better verses are inserted.

* " 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 journey; and his safe arrival at the Heavenly Canaan. Part II. The Pilgrimage of Christiana, 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. xii. 10. I have used similitudes.London : printed by W. O. for J. Blare, at the Looking Glass, on London-Bridge, 1705.

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 title-page a glorified head of the Virgin. A Portugueze translation (of the first part also) and 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. LINES

[graphic]

ON SEEING THE PORTRAIT* OF

JOHN BUNYAN,

ENGRAVED FOR THIS WORK.

And this is BUNYAN! How unlike the dull

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

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; i
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 OP 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. * For the Authenticity of the Likeness here faithfully copied, vide Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting by Dallaway, Vol. iii. p. 262. J. M.

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »