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THE VISION OF EFETA.
BY OWEN STOVER.
Truth stands before him in a full, clear blaze,
AFTER the death of an ancient relative, who seemed to take much delight in the contemplation of human life, and to note any remarkable events that might throw light upon the character of his species, a number of curious manuscripts were found in his study, one of which bore the above title, and is as follows:
“ Having leisure, and prompted by the curiosity of our nature, I set out upon a voyage to distant countries and nations, to behold, with my own eyes, the varied beauty, the magnificent scenery, and multiplied phenomena which nature has lavished so profusely over the visible universe; to visit those spots which the study of youth had rendered memorable as the theatre of heroic action; to view man in his different gradations of improvement, and meditate upon those causes, which, operating on the flexibility of his nature, mould and fashion him into a being of such infinite diversity. The charm of novelty gradually subsiding, and wearied with the toil and privation of such a pilgrimage, I returned to my native home. But 't is distance lends enchantment to the yiew,' and the face of nature was now changed, the
dream of life had vanished; and the unhallowed workings of undignified passions, obscuring the brightest horizon, the pang of grief that seems even to gnaw the heart of beauty itself, and the gloomy abodes of misery and human wretchedness, which I had seen, threw me in a solemn and profound meditation. There was a voice that whispered within me: “Man is born to mourn, the noblest sons of Adam are doomed to taste the
of bitterness -yes, by the inexorable decrees of the Omnipotent, woes and joys are inwrought in the human heart: spem vultu simulat, premit altum corde dolorem.' Wholly absorbed with these thoughts, I unconsciously arrived in a beautiful grove of majestic oaks, under whose thick foliage I took shelter from the burning rays of the sun. The delicious zephyrs, that fanned my wearied brow, soon lulled me into a deep slumber. Methought I saw an immense assembly of people before me, whom, I understood, a phalanx of distinguished sages where to entertain with their schemes and devices for the improvement of human felicity. As this was a subject deeply interesting to me, I rejoiced at this opportunity of hearing the views of these good and learned men. When I was about entering the hall, my attention was arrested by a clear and exceedingly sweet voice behind me, saying, • Follow me.' Its rich and melodious tones touched my heart; and, when I looked around, I beheld one of the loveliest objects in creation. Plain, neat, and simple in attire, her stature was a perfect symmetry of elegance and grace; her countenance glowed with the most exquisite beauty, and ten thousand delicacies. Fear and sus
, picion were extinct, in the unbounded confidence and raptures which I felt. She again bade me follow her; and waving a golden sceptre in her hand, I instinctively obeyed. She moved with a blazing torch before her,
and, as she passed onward, every object became bright and luminous with her radiance. She conducted me to an elevated mountain: she paused, touched my forehead with her sceptre, and my vision became exceedingly clear and powerful. Now look to your left,' said she; and, turning, I saw a huge and immense valley, overshadowed with clouds, thick mist, and pestilential vapours. I discovered a large, cumbrous figure squatted upon a slimy mound, in the centre of the extended marshes and ravines; whenever she attempted to rise, she was again drawn back by huge leaden anchors; at last she endeavoured to reconcile herself to her unhappy condition, although nearly suffocated by the noxious effluvia and heavy atmosphere that arose in volumes from the surrounding bogs and fens. Upon the back of her iron crown I perceived, in large characters, Ignorance. I observed, likewise, a great number of vultures, ravens, cormorants and serpents; of foxes, panthers, and wolves, flying, hissing, and coursing through the valley, insomuch that every corner of it echoed with the most dismal croaking and howling. I looked upon my guide and said that, that gloomy abode chills my heart.' She smiled and replied:
That is the Vale of Indolence; but it has undergone a great revolution, for Avarice once descended there and cohabited with Ignorance, and the consequence was a very numerous progeny,
you have seen, and whose real names are Hate, Suspicion, Envy, Malice, Calumny, Ingratitude, Uncharitableness, and their more remote descendants. This is a fierce and inveterate generation: their nature and the constitution of their minds are assimilated to the murky atmosphere which they breathe: their appetite is insatiable. When a foreign being of a more noble nature, with the most innocent views, enters within their precints, they all eagerly follow him, and, unless he be clothed in the invincible armour, conferred by a neighbouring sovereignity, they never cease their merciless pursuit, until they have fed upon his vitals. When there is no other prey, they fall upon each other. Then their combat grows terrific—their fury, unrelenting!' I took another view, and, as flashes of lightning broke through the darkness that hung upon the bottom of the vale, I discovered deep pits, unobserved before, and was told by my guide that these were the pits of misery, despair, and perdition, into which this evil generation were all ultimately ingulfed. I drew a heavy sigh, as my heart sunk within me. My guide then led me to a greater elevation, and, as she bade me look to the right, I beheld a magnificent prospect. The richest verdure covered the landscape; trees of every variety, loaded with blossoms and glowing fruit, embellished it; fountains of crystal water and pellucid streams refreshed and adorned the scene. The balmy air, filled with dewy odours, was fanned by gentle zephyrs; and a perpetual sunshine hung upon the lovely spot. In the midst of this enchantment there was a white transparent palace, based, as it seemed, on a vast adamantine rock, which tornadoes and the convulsions of nature could not shake. Its top was lost in the heavens. Within this splendid palace I observed a majectic figure, enthroned, like a goddess, in a circle of refulgent light. Grace, dignity, and ease were in all her actions; her eye glowed with hallowed fire, and her whole countenance beamed with benevolence and justice. She seemed feasting on ambrosia, distilled by Hope in the cup of Immortality. A host of bright and buoyant nymphs danced around her:
* Hearts burning with a high empyreal flame.'
I felt delighted with the sight before me, and asked my guide what happy place this was. That,' said she, • is the Garden of Knowledge, and the loveliest dwelling within it, which you see yonder, is the Temple of Virtue, in which the Goddess of Wisdom presides. And the happy race of beings, that inhabit there, are known by the name of Justice, Mercy,Honesty, Charity, Sympathy, Love, and many other tribes. Among these the most perfect harmony and affection subsists, and
• A chain
No warfare, no thoughts of injury and injustice are indulged, all passions are purified; but the most remarkable characteristic of this godlike race is that every being has a pure light burning within him, which no external violence or accident can extinguish; and while it burns, by a law of his nature, the possessor cannot be positively unhappy. This is a most beautiful economy in Providence, that, although the tie of Sympathy with its fellow beings, which gives birth to many joyous raptures, should be lost or severed, the seal of bliss is, nevertheless, stamped upon his soul by the presiding Deity of the place. If, perchance, there should be any collision in their will and desires, to which the mortal part of their nature renders them subject, and light up the flame of discord, still it is cælestibus iræ, the anger of heavenly minds, and honour, dignity and justice never lose their dominion over his intellect: animum ex sua mente et divinitate genuit Deus.' -Here my guide paused; and, as I felt grateful obligations for the revelation she had made, I desired to know to whom I owed this happiness. She told me, Truth: that she frequently visited this favourite garden, where she was ever held in grateful remembrance, but seldom