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best allegory that ever was written." In these last years Bunyan rose to great influence among those of his own sect, and was popularly called "Bishop Bunyan." In 1688 exposure to a rain-storm, while he was engaged in a work of mercy, resulted in a sudden illness, and he died in a few days.
Pilgrim's Progress. The popularity of Pilgrim's Progress was long confined to readers of the lower and middle classes. It was written for the people by a man of the people. It was written by a dissenter at a time when dissenters were persecuted and despised, and its distinctly religious purpose, as well as the humble station of its author, combined to place it outside the conventional bounds of literature. The polite world disdained it; the critics ignored it, or failed to take it seriously. But in the course of a hundred years the power of the book began to impress the literary and fashionable classes, and to-day the fame of Bunyan's masterpiece is probably greater than it has ever been before. has been translated into many foreign languages, and it stands with those few supreme books which, like Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and Swift's Gulliver's Travels, remain the delight and admiration of the high and the low, the young and the old, the ignorant and the cultured. What is there in the unpretentious work of "the inspired tinker" that has obtained for it the permanence and the universality of the great classics?
Its Universal Theme. In the first place, Bunyan, sectarian as he was, chose for his allegory a broad and vital theme. In Paradise Lost, Milton was concerned with some of the deepest mysteries of theology. When we pass beyond all the splendid poetry, we see that Milton's primary object is to reconcile the existence of sin in the world with the wisdom, goodness, and omnipo
tence of God. In Pilgrim's Progress, Bunyan is not occupied with such abstract and philosophical speculations; his purpose is purely practical, and his appeal is not to the head but to the heart. The keynote of Bunyan's book is the cry of the individual conscience; it is heard in the question of Christian at the very beginning of the allegory, "What shall I do to be saved?" Bunyan's appeal is thus direct and personal, for Christian, the pilgrim, is a representative man, and the general treatment of his theme is so broadly human that Christian's pilgrimage becomes the living and dramatic record of man's spiritual progress.
Its Realism. This theme of almost universal interest is not presented in an abstract, or doctrinal form, i' is made real by the intensity of Bunyan's earnestness, and picturesque and dramatic by the vividness of his poetic imagination. Christian's experiences are real to us because they were real to Bunyan; because Bunyan himself had sunk in the Slough of Despond, climbed the Hill of Difficulty, and fought his own fight with Apollyon. He could describe these things from bitter experience; he could describe them poetically because he had that power of imagery which distinguishes the poet. He turns instinctively to imagery when he describes his torments in Grace Abounding. Describing one of his periods of doubt and depression, he wrote: "I found myself in a miry bog, that shook if I did but stir." In another place he speaks of his "tumultuous thoughts, that did use, like masterless hell-hounds, to roar and bellow, and make an hideous noise within me." It is this inborn power to conceive of the invisible and intangible in objective forms that makes the allegory in Pilgrim's Progress so spontaneous, so free from any suggestion of artifice. Bunyan, moreover, was not a
mere visionary, oblivious of the vulgar realities around him; he was a shrewd observer of human life and character, and his intensely spiritual nature was well ballasted with humor and solid common sense. Although Pilgrim's Progress purports to be a dream, Bunyan does not transport us to cloud-land. Christian travels through our familiar and everyday world, meeting many very substantial human beings in the course of his journey. The very names of Bunyan's characters are often miracles of characterization. Mr. By-Ends alone, whose judgment always happened to coincide with his worldly advantage, shows Bunyan's satiric humor, his insight into human nature, and his power of dramatic portraiture.
Bunyan's Style. To such enduring qualities in Pilgrim's Progress, we must add the remarkable strength, simplicity, and beauty of its style. Like many another Puritan, Bunyan had read and re-read the Bible, until the strong, vigorous, and musical English of the King James Version had become a part of his mental as well as his spiritual life. His style was formed, his images were often taken from this great model, and his prose has much of the grandeur and restraint of his original.
Such, then, are some of the great qualities which have made a book, written without conscious art and with no thought of literary fame, a great classic. When Bunyan wrote, the fine gentlemen of the Restoration, the professional authors and critics, were bent on reforming the language, and were busy declaring the true principles of literary art. The tinker in Bedford gaol knew nothing of these matters. He had something to say, he was constrained to give his message as best he could, but to him the message was the important matter, not the words in which it was delivered. "I could also," he
says in Grace Abounding, "have slipped into a style much higher than this in which I have here discoursed, and could have adorned all things more than I have seemed to do; but I dare not. God did not play in convincing of me; the Devil did not play in tempting of me: neither did I play when I sunk as into a bottomless pit, when the pangs of Hell caught hold upon me: wherefore I may not play in relating of them, but be plain and simple, and lay down the thing as it was." Here, in brief, is the main source of Bunyan's power.
Restoration of the Monarchy in the person of CHARLES II
III. THE FRENCH INFLUENCE
THE ENGLAND OF THE RESTORATION
"We conquer'd France, but felt our captive's charms;
The long majestic march, and energy divine."
THE restoration of the monarchy in the person of Charles II is one of the important turning points in English history. It is more than a change in government; it marks the beginning of a new England in life, in thought, and in literature. Elizabethan England, with its splendid national enthusiasms, and Puritan England, with its single-minded and almost ruthless passion for liberty and godliness, were past. The Puritan government, which though rigorous had at first been effective, had failed, and the nation, at the return of the King in 1660, was in a far different mood from that which stirred the great Puritan leaders, Cromwell and Milton. A wide-spread reaction had set in against the restraint, the severity, and austerity of Puritan ideals.