The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart (1901)/Chapter 35



(Solomon's Companions express Displeasure.)

Seeing Solomon thus deceived, those who were the foremost among his following—Moses, Elias, Isaias, Jeremias—began to speak with great zeal; they protested before heaven and earth that they would take no part in such abominations, and they admonished the whole following to refrain from such vanity and folly. But as no few, none the less, followed Solomon's example, their ire became yet more inflamed, and they thundered yet more furiously, particularly Isaias, Jeremias, Baruch, Stephen, Paul, and others. Moses demanded that those with him should gird on their swords; Elias that fire should come downward from heaven; Ezechias that all those idols should be destroyed.

(They heed not Wheedling Speech.)

2. Seeing this, those who had been sent forth to mislead Solomon—Affability, Flattery, and Pleasure, taking with them some of the philosophers, Mammon, and others—advised the zealots to moderate themselves and behave in a more temperate fashion. When the wisest of men, Solomon, had submitted his mind and become accustomed to the ways of the world, why should they walk apart from the others, and continue to cavil? But this advice was not heard; the more they saw that Solomon's example misled and deceived many, the more they angered, ran to and fro, screamed and raged; and this matter caused great riot.

(Public Forces are sent against them.)

3. For the queen, who had been advised of all this by her attendants, issued charters by which she summoned all men to her aid. Power, the leader of her bodyguard, was appointed general, and ordered to arrest the rioters and punish them as a warning to all. Then the alarm was sounded, and many assembled, prepared for the war, not only men of the estate of the mercenaries, but also magistrates, officials, judges, tradesmen, philosophers, physicians, lawyers, and even priests; women even went forth in divers dresses and with divers arms (for it was said that against such public enemies of the world all must give their aid, be they young or old). Seeing this vast army rolling along, I ask my guides: "What will now befall?" Then the interpreter: "Now wilt thou learn what is the fate of those who, by their cavilling, cause riots and conspiracies among men."

(Battle, Captivity, Murder, Burning, and other Torture.)

4. Then these men, attacking now one, then a second, a third, a tenth, strike, cut, and knock them down, trample them underfoot, capture them, bind them, lead them to prison, according to the greatness of their fury against each one of them. It is wondrous that my heart broke not from pity; but though terrified by such cruelty and quivering, I yet dared not budge. Then I see that some of those who had been imprisoned and struck down wrung their hands, craving pardon for their deeds; while others maintained their opinions, however cruelly they were treated. Then, incontinent, some were before my eyes cast into the fire; others thrown into the water, hanged, decapitated, crucified, tortured with pincers, sawed, pierced, chopped, roasted on gridirons—I cannot, indeed, number all the cruel forms of death that these men suffered; but the worldly ones rejoiced and exulted over this.