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THE VISION OF MIRZA—II.
1. The genius seeing me indulge myself on this melancholy prospect, told me I had dwelt long enough upon it. 'Take thine eyes off the bridge,' said he, and tell me if thou yet seest anything thou dost not comprehend. Upon looking up, 'What mean,' said I, 'those great flights of birds that are perpetually hovering about the bridge, and settling upon it from time to time? I see vultures, harpies, ravens, cormorants, and, among many other feathered creatures, several little winged boys, that perch in great numbers upon the middle arches. “These,' said the genius, ‘are Envy, Avarice, Superstition, Despair, Love, with the like cares and passions that infest Human Life.'
2. I here fetched a deep sigh. ‘Alas,' said I, ‘man was made in vain !-how is he given away to misery and mortality !-tortured in life, and swallowed up in death!' The genius being moved with compassion towards me, bade me quit so uncomfortable a prospect. *Look no more,' said he,‘on man in the first stage of his existence, in his setting out for eternity, but cast thine eye on that thick mist into which the tide bears the several generations of mortals that fall into it.'
3. I directed my sight as I was ordered, and— whether or no the good genius strengthened it with any supernatural force, or dissipated part of the mist that was before too thick for the eye to penetrate-I saw the valley opening at the farther end, and spreading forth into an immense ocean, that had a huge rock of adamant running through the midst of it, and dividing it into two equal parts.
4. The clouds still rested on one half of it, insomuch
that I could discover nothing in it; but the other appeared to me a vast ocean planted with innumerable islands that were covered with fruits and flowers, and interwoven with a thousand little shining seas that ran among them. I could see persons dressed in glorious habits, with garlands upon their heads, passing among the trees, lying down by the sides of fountains, or resting on beds of flowers, and could hear a confused harmony of singing-birds, falling waters, human voices, and musical instruments.
5. Gladness grew in me upon the discovery of so delightful a scene. I wished for the wings of an eagle that I might fly away to those happy seats, but the genius told me there was no passage to them except through the gates of death that I saw opening every moment upon the bridge.
6. The islands,' said he, 'that lie so fresh and green before thee, and with which the whole face of the ocean appears spotted as far as thou canst see, are more in number than the sands on the sea-shore; there are myriads of islands behind those which thou here discoverest, reaching farther than thine eye, or even thine imagination, can extend itself. These are the mansions of good men after death, who, according to the degree and kinds of virtue in which they excelled, are distributed among these several islands, which abound with pleasures of different kinds and degrees, suitable to the relishes and perfections of those who are settled in them. Every island is a paradise accommodated to its respective inhabitants.
7. ‘Are not these, O Mirza ! habitations worth contending for? Does life appear miserable, that gives thee opportunities of earning such a reward? Is death to be feared, that will convey thee to so happy an
existence? Think not man was made in vain, who has such an eternity reserved for him.'
8. I gazed with inexpressible pleasure on these happy islands. At length said I: ‘Show me now, I beseech thee, the secrets that lie hid under those dark clouds which cover the ocean on the other side of the rock of adamant ?' The genius making me no answer, I turned about to address myself to him a second time, but I found that he had left me. I then turned again to the vision which I had been so long contemplating, but instead of the rolling tide, the arched bridge, and the happy islands, I saw nothing but the long hollow valley of Bagdat, with oxen, sheep, and camels grazing upon the sides of it.
Addison. vul’-tures Su-per-sti’-tion im-mense' suit-a-ble harp'-ies De-spair in'-stru-ments hab-i-ta'-tions cor-mor-ants pas'-sions im-ag-in-a'-tion op-por-tun'-i-ties
Av'-ar-ice gen-er-a'tions ex-celled graz'-ing in-dulge', give himself up to.
gar'-lands, wreaths of flowers or mel'-an-chol-y pros'-pect, sad scene.
leaves. com-pre-hend', know fully.
har'-mon-y, pleasant musical sound. per-pet'-u-al-ly, always; continually. myr'-i-ads, great numbers. in-fest', disturb; trouble greatly. dis-trib'-ut-ed, divided amongst; mor-tal'-i-ty, death.
scattered over. tor'-tured, made to suffer pain. rel'-ish-es, tastes; likings, com-pas'-sion, pity,
ac-com'-mo-dat-ed, suited. pros'-pect, scene.
con-tend'-ing, striving, dis'-si-pat-ed, scattered ; cleared re-served', kept. away.
in-ex-press'-1-ble, that could not be pen'-e-trate, see through.
uttered. ad'-a-mant, very hard stone,
con-tem'-plat-ing, gazing upon. EXERCISES.–1. The Greek prefix anti- or ant- means against ; as antipathy, a feeling against; antarctic, opposite to (against) the arctic; antagonist, one who contends against another; antipodes, those living on the other side of the globe, and whose feet are opposite to (against) ours.
2. Analyse and parse the following: ““What mean, "said I,“ those great flights of birds that are perpetually hovering about the bridge?”'
3. Make sentences of your own, and use in each one or more of the following words : Prospect, distribute, contend, reserve.
No zephyr fondly sues the mountain's breast,
Yet still, even here, content can spread a charm,
af-ford' ban-quet glare
veg'-e-ta-ble peas'-ant ig'-nor-ance sur-vey, look at. man'-sion, place of abode. churl-ish soil, a soil that is not
fruitful. ver’-nal blooms, spring blossoms. tor'-pid, dull; inactive.
ar-ray, clothe gaily; deck.