The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart (1901)/Chapter 4

CHAPTER IV

THE PILGRIM RECEIVES A BRIDLE AND SPECTACLES

Hearing this, I was terrified, and thought within myself: "Alas, for my sins have I obtained such companions! That first one (thus my mind devised) spoke of some sort of bridle; the other one is called Falsehood. His queen he calls Vanity (though I think he imprudently blabbed this out); but what is this?"

2. And whilst I thus continue silently and with downcast eyes, and my feet move on somewhat reluctantly, Searchall says: "What, thou fickle one; methinks thou wishest to go back!" And before I could answer he threw a bridle over my neck, and suddenly a bit slipped into my mouth. "Now wilt thou," he said, "go obediently to the spot for which thou hast started?"

(The Bridle of Vanity.)

3. And I look at this bridle, and behold it was stitched together out of straps of pertness, and the bit was made out of the iron of obstinacy; and I understood that I should now no longer behold the world freely as before, but that I should be drawn on forcibly by the inconstancy and disconsolateness of my mind.

(The Spectacles of Falsehood.)

4. Then my companion on the other side said: "And I give thee these spectacles, through which thou wilt henceforth look on the world," and he thrust on my nose spectacles, through which I immediately see everything differently than before. They certainly had this power (as I afterwards often experienced), that to him who saw through them distant things appeared near, near things distant; small things large, and large things small; ugly things beautiful, and beautiful things ugly; the white black, and the black white, and so forth. And I well understood that he should be called Falsehood who knew how to fashion such spectacles and place them on men.

(The Spectacles are made of Illusion and Custom.)

5. Now these spectacles, as I afterwards understood, were fashioned out of the glass of Illusion, and the rims which they were set in were of that horn which is named Custom.

6. But, fortunately for me, he had put them on me somewhat crookedly, so that they did not press closely on my eyes, and by raising my head and gazing upward I was still able clearly to see things in their natural way. I rejoiced over this, and said within myself: "Though you have closed my mouth and covered my eyes, yet I trust in my God that you will not take from me my mind and my reason. I will go on, and I wonder what then this world is which the Lady Vanity wishes us to see, but not to see with our own eyes."