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age, sometimes indeed in its rusticity and coarseness, but always in its plainness and its strength. To this natural style Bunyan is in some degree beholden for his general popularity ;-his language is every where level to the most ignorant reader, and to the meanest capacity: there is a homely reality about it; a nursery tale is not more intelligible, in its manner of narration, to a child. Another cause of his popularity is, that he taxes the imagination as little as the understanding. The vividness of his own, which, as his history shews, sometimes could not distinguish ideal impressions from actual ones, occasioned this. He saw the things of which he was writing, as distinctly with his mind's eye as if they were indeed passing before him in a dream. And the reader perhaps sees them more satisfactorily to himself, because the outline only of the picture is presented to him; and the author having made no attempt to fill up the details, every reader supplies them according to the measure and scope of his own intellectual and imaginative powers.
When Bunyan's success had raised a brood of imitators, he was accused of being an imitator himself. He replied to this charge 'in some of his most characteristic rhymes, which were prefixed to his Holy War, as an Advertisement to the Reader.
Some say the Pilgrim's Progress is not mine,
Or that so fond I am of being Sire,
It came from mine own heart, so to my head,
Manner and matter too was all mine own;
Till I had done it. Nor did any then
Also for This thine eye is now upon,
I wrote not this of any ostentation ;
John Bunyan. A passage * has already being quoted from his account of a dream, which evidently contains the germ of the Pilgrim's Progress. The same obvious allegory had been rendered familiar to his mind, by the letter of the Italian Martyr Pomponius Algerius. “In this world,” says that high-minded and triumphant Witness for the Truth, “there is no mansion firm to me; and therefore I will travel up to the New Jerusalem, which is in Heaven, and which offereth itself to me, without paying any fine or income. Behold, I have entered already on my journey, where my house standeth for me prepared, and where I shall have riches, kinsfolks, delights, honours never failing."
But original as Bunyan believed his own work to be, and as in the main undoubtedly it is, the same allegory had often been treated before him, so often indeed that to notice all preceding works of this kind would far exceed all reasonable limits
* There is another in his Heavenly Footman, but I know not whether this treatise was written before or after the Pilgrim's Progress. “Though the Way to Heaven be but one, yet there are many crooked lanes and bypaths shoot down upon it, as I may say. And notwithstanding the Kingdom of Heaven be the biggest city, yet usually those by-paths are the most beaten : most travellers go those ways, and therefore the way to Heaven is hard to be found, and as hard to be kept in, because of these.”
here. Some of these may have fallen in Bunyan's way, and modified his own conception when he was not aware of any such influence. Mr. Montgomery in his very able Introductory Essay to the Pilgrim's Progress, observes, “that a Poem entitled the Pilgrimage, in Whitney's Emblems, and the emblem which accompanies it, may have suggested to him the first idea of his story; indeed, he says, if he had had Whitney's picture before him, he could not more accurately have copied it in words,” than in the passage where Evangelist directs Christian to the WicketGate.
Another book in which a general resemblance to the Pilgrim's Progress has been observed, is the Voyage of the Wandering Knight, of which a translation from the French of the Carmelite, Jean de Carthenay, was printed in the reign of Elizabeth, the Carmelite himself having (as Mr. Douce has kindly informed me) imitated a French poem, (once very popular,) composed A. D. 1310, by Guill. de Guilleville, a monk of Chanliz, and entitled the Pelerin de la Vie Humaine. There is a vague general resemblance in the subject of this work, and some occasional resemblance in the details; but the coincidences are such as the subject would naturally lead to, and the Pilgrim's Progress might have been exactly what it is, whether Bunyan had ever seen this book or not. But he had * certainly seen Bern
* Bunyan had evidently the following lively passage in his mind when he wrote the verses introductory to his Second Part.
“Well, I have clothed this Book as it is. It may be some humour took me, as once it did old Jacob, who apparelled Joseph differently from all the rest of his brethren in a party-coloured coat. It may also be that I look (as Jacob did on his Joseph) with more delight on this lad, than on twenty other of his brethren born before him, or on a younger Benjamin brought forth soon after him.-When I thus apparelled him, I intended to send him forth to his brethren, hoping thereby to procure him the more acceptance, where he happily should come; and my expectation hath not failed : deceived altogether I am not, as was Jacob in sending his Joseph among his envious brethren ; for not only hundreds, but some thousands have welcomed him to their houses. They say they like his countenance, his habit, and manner of speaking well enough; though others, too nice, be not so well pleased therewith.”
“But who can please all ? or how can any one so write or speak, as to content every man? If any mistake me, and abuse him in their too carnal
ard's “ Isle of Man, or the Legal Proceedings in Man-shire against Sin; wherein by way of a continued Allegory, the chief Malefactors disturbing both Church and Commonwealth are detected and attached; with their arraignment and judicial trial, according to the Laws of England.” This was a popular book in Bunyan's time, * printed in a cheap form for popular sale, and “to be sold by most booksellers.” There is as much wit in it as in the Pilgrim's Progress, and it is that vein of wit + which Bunyan has worked with such good success. It wants apprehension, without the truly intended spiritual use, let them blame themselves, and neither me nor him; for their fault is their own, which I wish them to amend. You that like him, I pray you still accept of him, for whose sake, to further your spiritual meditation, I have sent him out with these Contents, and more marginal notes. His habit is no whit altered, which he is constrained by me to wear, not only on working days, but even upon holydays and Sundays too, if he go abroad. A fitter garment I have not now for him; and if I should send out the poor lad naked, I know it would not please you. This his coat, though not altered in the fashion, yet it is made somewhat longer. For though from his first birth into the world it be near a year, yet he is grown a little bigger. But I think him to be come to his full stature; so he will be but as a little pigmy, to be carried abroad in any man's pocket. I pray you now this (second) time accept him and use him as I have intended for you, and you shall reap the fruit, though I forbid you not to be Christianly merry with him. So fare you well, in all friendly well wishes. R. B. May 28, 1627.”
* The sixteenth edition was published in 1683. It was reprinted at Bristol about thirty years ago.
+ In that vein Bernard has also been followed by Bishop Womack,unless indeed that excellent Divine intended in his Propria quæ maribus, to satirize the absurd names given by the Puritans to their children : this however he might intend, and yet have imitated Bernard. The names of the Triers in his Examination of Tilenus, are Dr. Absolute, Mr. Fatality, Mr. Preterition, Mr. Efficax, Mr. Indefectible, Dr. Confidence, Mr. Meanwell, Mr. Simulant, Mr. Take-o'-Trust, Mr. Impertinent, Mr. Narrow-Grace, in whom Philip Nye was personated; Mr. Know-Little, who stood for Hugh Peters; Dr. Dubious, whom nobody doubts to be the representation of Baxter; and Dr. Dam-Man, a name which was that of one of the Secretaries at the Dort Synod, and which to an English ear perfectly designated his rigid principles.
This curious tract has been reprinted in Mr. Nichols's “ Calvinism and Arminianism Compared,” a work of more research concerning the age of James and Charles the First, than any other in our language.
the charm of story, and has nothing of that romantic interest, which “holds children from sleep;” and therefore its popularity has past away. But it is written with great spirit and ability, and for its own merit, as well as for the traits of the times with which it abounds, well deserves to be reprinted.
No one who reads this little book can doubt that it had a considerable effect upon the style of Bunyan's invention. The Bee had been shewn by this elder one where honey of a peculiar flavour might be extracted, but the new honey was of our Bee's own gathering
Lately, however, a charge has been brought against John the Bee, of direct and knavish plagiarism. The following paragraph appeared in some London Journal, and was generally copied into the Provincial Newspapers ;-"The friends of John Bunyan will be much surprised to hear that he is not the author of the Pilgrim's Progress, but the mere translator. It is, however, an act of plagiarism, to publish it in such a way as to mislead his readers; but it is never too late to call things by their right names. The truth is, that the work was even published in French, Spanish, and Dutch, besides other languages, before John Bunyan saw it; and we have ourselves seen a copy in the Dutch language, with numerous plates, printed long previous to Bunyan's time.” “ It is very difficult,” says Mr. Montgomery, “to imagine for what purpose such a falsehood (if it be one) should be framed; or how such a fact (if it be a fact) could have been so long concealed; or when declared thus publicly, why it should never have been established by the production of this Dutch copy, with its numerous plates. Be this as it may, till the story is authenticated it must be regarded as utterly unworthy of credit.”
I also, upon reading this notable paragraph in a Newspaper, felt as Montgomery had done, and as "it is never too soon to call things by their right names," bestowed upon it at once its proper qualification. It would indeed be as impossible for me to believe that Bunyan did not write the Pilgrim's Progress, as that Porson did write a certain copy of verses entitled the Devil's Thoughts. There must have been a grievous want of common sense in the person who wrote the paragraph, to suppose that such a plagiarism could have escaped detection till he discovered