Page images
PDF
EPUB

N E W ATLANTIS.

A WORK UNFINISHED.

TO THE READER.

This fable my lord devised, to the end that he might exhibit therein a model or description of a college, instituted for the interpreting of nature, and the producing of great and marvellous works, for the benefit of men; under the name of Solomon's House, or the College of the Six Days' Works. And even so far his lordship hath proceeded, as to finish that part. Certainly the model is more vast and high, than can possibly be imitated in all things; notwithstanding most things therein are within men's power to effect. His lordship thought also in this present fable, to have composed a frame of laws, or of the best state or mould of a commonwealth ; but foresceing it would be a long work, his desire of collecting the Natural History diverted him, which he preferred many degrees before it. This work of the New

as much as concerneth the English edition, his lordship designed for this place ; in regard it hath so near affinity, in one part of it, with the preceding Natural History.

W. RAWLEY.

NEW ATLANTIS.

We sailed from Peru, where we had continued | hitherto were not come to light. Wherefore we by the space of one whole year, for China and bent our course thither, where we saw the appearJapan, by the South Sea, taking with us victuals for ance of land all that night; and in the dawning of twelve months; and had good winds from the cast, the next day, we might plainly discern that it was though soft and weak, for five months space and a land, flat to our sight, and full of boscage, which more. But then the wind came about, and settled made it show the more dark. And after an hour in the west for many days, so as we could make and a half's sailing, we entered into a good haven, little or no way, and were sometimes in purpose to being the port of a fair city ; not great indeed, but turn back. But then again there arose strong and well built, and that gave a pleasant view from the great winds from the south, with a point east, which sea; and we thinking every minute long till we carried us up, for all that we could do, towards the were on land, came close to the shore, and offered north : by which time our victuals failed us, though to land. But straightways we saw divers of the we had made good spare of them. So that finding people with batons in their hands, as it were, forourselves in the midst of the greatest wilderness of bidding us to land; yet without any cries or fiercewaters in the world, without victual, we gave our ness, but only as warning us off by signs that they selves for lost men, and prepared for death. Yet made. Whereupon being not a little discomforted, we did lift up our hearts and voices to God above, we were advising with ourselves what we should do. who showeth “ his wonders in the deep;" beseech- During which time there made forth to us a small ing him of his mercy, that as in the beginning he boat, with about eight persons in it; whereof one of discovered the face of the deep, and brought forth them had in his hand a tipstaff of a yellow cane, dry land; so he would now discover land to us, that tipped at both ends with blue, who came aboard our we might not perish. And it came to pass, that the ship, without any show of distrust at all. And when next day about evening, we saw within a kenning he saw one of our number present himself somewhat before us, towards the north, as it were thick clouds, afore the rest, he drew forth a little scroll of parchwhich did put us in some hope of land; knowing ment, somewhat yellower than our parchment, and how that part of the South Sea was utterly un- shining like the leaves of writing-tables, but otherknown; and might have islands or continents, that I wise soft and flexible, and delivered it to our fore

most man. In which scroll were written in ancient | ye are no pirates ; nor have shed blood lawfully nor Hebrew, and in ancient Greek, and in good Latin unlawfully within forty days past : you may have of the school, and in Spanish, these words ; “Land licence to come on land.” We said, “we were all ye not, none of you, and provide to be gone from ready to take that oath.” Whereupon one of those this coast within sixteen days, except you have that were with him, being, as it seemed, a notary, farther time given you: meanwhile, if you want made entry of this act. Which done, another of fresh water, or victual, or help for your sick, or that the attendants of the great person, which was with your ship needeth repair, write down your wants, him in the same boat, after his lord had spoken a and you shall have that which belongeth to mercy.” | little to him, said aloud; “My lord would have you This scroll was signed with a stamp of cherubim's know, that it is not of pride or greatness, that he wings, not spread, but hanging downwards, and by cometh not aboard your ship; but for that in your them a cross. This being delivered, the officer answer you declare, that you have many sick amongst returned, and left only a servant with us to receive you, he was warned by the conservator of health of our answer. Consulting hereupon amongst ourselves, the city, that he should keep a distance.” We bowed we were much perplexed. The denial of landing, ourselves towards him and answered, “ we were his and hasty warning us away, troubled us much; on humble servants; and accounted for great honour, the other side, to find that the people had languages, and singular humanity towards us, that which was and were so full of humanity, did comfort us not already done ; but hoped well, that the nature of a little. And above all, the sign of the cross to that the sickness of our men was not infectious.” So instrument was to us a great rejoicing, and as it he returned ; and a while after came the notary to were a certain presage of good. Our answer was us aboard our ship; holding in his hand a fruit of in the Spanish tongne ; “ That for our ship, it was that country, like an orange, but of colour between well; for we had rather met with calms and contrary orange tawny and scarlet, which cast a most excel. winds than any tempests. For our sick, they were lent odour. He used it, as it seemeth, for a presermany, and in very ill case ; so that if they were not vative against infection. He gave us our oath; permitted to land, they ran in danger of their lives.“ By the name of Jesus and his merits :” and after Our other wants we set down in particular; adding, told us, that the next day by six of the clock in the " that we had some little store of merchandise, which morning we should be sent to, and brought to the if it pleased them to deal for, it might supply our Strangers' house, so he called it, where we should be wants without being chargeable unto them.” We accommodated of things, both for our whole, and offered some reward in pistolets unto the servant, and for our sick. So he left us; and when we offered a piece of crimson velvet to be presented to the officer; him some pistolets, he smiling, said, “ he must not but the servant took them not, nor would scarce be twice paid for one labour:” meaning, as I take look upon them; and so left us, and went back in it, that he had a salary sufficient of the state for his another little boat which was sent for him.

service. For, as I after learned, they call an officer About three hours after we had despatched our that taketh rewards, Twice-paid. answer, there came towards us a person, as it seemed, The next morning early, there came to us the of place. He had on him a gown with wide sleeves, officer that came to us at first with his cane, and of a kind of water-chamblet, of an excellent azure told

us, “ he came to conduct us to the Strangers' colour, far more glossy than ours; his under apparel house; and that he had prevented the hour, because was green, and so was his hat, being in the form we might have the whole day before us for our of a turbane, daintily made, and not so huge as the business. For," said he, “if you will follow my Turkish turbans; and the locks of his hair came advice, there shall first go with me, some few of you, down below the brims of it. A reverend man was and see the place, and how it may be made convehe to behold. He came in a boat, gilt in some part nient for you ; and then you may send for your sick, of it, with four persons more only in that boat; and the rest of your number, which we will bring and was followed by another boat, wherein were

on land.”

We thanked him, and said, that this some twenty. When he was come within a flight care, which he took of desolate strangers, God would shot of our ship, signs were made to us, that we reward. And so six of us went on land with him : should send forth some to meet him upon the water, and when we were on land, he went before us, and which we presently did in our ship-boat, sending the turned to us, and said, “ he was but our servant, principal man amongst us save one, and four of our and our guide.” He led us through three fair number with him. When we were come within streets; and all the way we went there were gathered six yards of their boat, they called to us to stay, some people on both sides, standing in a row; but and not to approach farther ; which we did. And in so civil a fashion, as if it had been, not to wonder thereupon the man, whom I before described, stood at us, but to welcome us; and divers of them, as we up, and with a loud voice in Spanish, asked, “Are ye passed by them, put their arms a little abroad; Christians ?” We answered, “we were ;” fearing which is their gesture when they bid any welcome. the less, because of the cross we had seen in the The Strangers' house is a fair and spacious house, subscription. At which answer the said person built of brick, of somewhat a bluer colour than our lifted up his right hand towards heaven, and drew it brick; and with handsome windows, some of glass, softly to his mouth, which is the gesture they use some of a kind of cambric oiled. He brought us when they thank God, and then said: “If ye will first into a fair parlour above stairs, and then asked us, swear, all of you, by the merits of the Saviour, that “What number of persons we were ? And how many

sick ?" We answered, “we are in all, sick and we shall see Europe, God only knoweth. It is a whole, one and fifty persons, whereof our sick were kind of miracle hath brought us hither: and it must seventeen." He desired us to have patience a little, be little less that shall bring us hence. Therefore and to stay till he came back to us, which was about in regard of our deliverance past, and our danger an hour after; and then he led us to see the present and to come, let us look up to God, and every chambers, which were provided for us, being in

man reform his own ways.

Besides we are come number nineteen: they having cast it, as it seem here amongst a christian people, full of piety and eth, that four of those chambers, which were better humanity : let us not bring that confusion of face than the rest, might receive four of the principal | upon ourselves, as to show our vices or unworthiness men of our company, and lodge them alone by them before them. Yet there is more: for they have by selves; and the other fifteen chambers, were to lodge commandment, though in form of courtesy, cloistered us two and two together.

The chambers were us within these walls for three days: who knoweth handsome and cheerful chambers, and furnished whether it be not to take some taste of our manners civilly. Then he led us to a long gallery, like a and conditions ? And if they find them bad, to dorture, where he showed us all along the one side, banish us straightways; if good, to give us farther for the other side was but wall and window, seven time. For these men, that they have given us for teen cells, very neat ones, having partitions of cedar attendance, may withal have an eye upon us. Therewood. Which gallery and cells, being in all forty, fore for God's love, and as we love the weal of our many more than we needed, were instituted as an souls and bodies, let us so behave ourselves as we infirmary for sick persons. And he told us withal, may be at peace with God, and may find grace in that as any of our sick waxed well, he might be re the eyes of this people.” Our company with one moved from his cell to a chamber: for which pur-voice thanked me for my good admonition, and pro

there were set forth ten spare chambers, besidesmised me to live soberly and civilly, and without the . brought us back to the parlour, and lifting up his spent our three days joyfully, and without care, in cane a little, as they do when they give any charge expectation what would be done with us when they or command, said to us, “ Ye are to know that the were expired. During which time, we had every custom of the land requireth, that after this day and hour joy of the amendment of our sick; who thought to-morrow, which we give you for removing of your themselves cast into some divine pool of healing; people from your ship, you are to keep within doors they mended so kindly and so fast. for three days. But let it not trouble you, nor do The morrow after our three days were past, there not think yourselves restrained, but rather left to came to us a new man, that we had not seen before, your rest and ease. You shall want nothing, and clothed in blue as the former was, save that his there are six of our people appointed to attend you, turban was white, with a small red cross on the top. for any business you may have abroad." We gave He had also a tippet of fine linen. At his coming him thanks, with all affection and respect, and said, in he did bend to us a little, and put his arms abroad. “God surely is manifested in this land.” We offer We of our parts saluted him in a very lowly and ed him also twenty pistolets; but he smiled, and submissive manner; as looking that from him we only said; “What? twice paid !” And so he left us. should receive sentence of life or death. He desired Soon after our dinner was served in; which was to speak with some few of us: whereupon six of us right good viands, both for bread and meat: better only stayed, and the rest avoided the room.

He than any collegiate diet that I have known in Europe. said, “ I am by office governor of this House of We had also drink of three sorts, all wholesome and Strangers, and by vocation I am a christian priest ; good ; wine of the grape; a drink of grain, such as and therefore am come to you, to offer you my seris with us our ale, but more clear; and a kind of vice, both as strangers, and chiefly as Christians. cider made of a fruit of that country; a wonderful Some things I may tell you, which I think you will pleasing and refreshing drink. Besides, there were not be unwilling to hear. The state hath given brought in to us great store of those scarlet oranges you licence to stay on land for the space of six for our sick : which, they said, were an assured re weeks: and let it not trouble you if

your occasions medy for sickness taken at sea. There was given ask farther time, for the law in this point is not preus also a box of small grey or whitish pills, which cise; and I do not doubt but myself shall be able to they wished our sick should take, one of the pills obtain for you such farther time as may be conveevery night before sleep; which, they said, would nient. Ye shall also understand, that the Strangers' hasten their recovery. The next day, after that our House is at this time rich, and much aforehand; trouble of carriage, and removing of our men and for it hath laid up revenue these thirty-seven years ; goods out of our ship, was somewhat settled and for so long it is since any stranger arrived in this quiet, I thought good to call our company together; part: and therefore take ye no care; the state will and when they were assembled said unto them; defray you all the time you stay ; neither shall you “My dear friends, let us know ourselves, and how it stay one day the less for that. As for any merstandeth with us. We are men cast on land, as chandise you have brought, ye shall be well used, Jonas was, out of the whale's belly, when we were and have your return either in merchandise, or in as buried in the deep : and now we are on land, we gold and silver: for to us it is all one. And if you are but between death and life ; for we are beyond have any other request to make, hide it not. For both the old world and the new; and whether ever ye shall find, we will not make your countenance to

fall by the answer ye shall receive. Only this I showeth that you 'first seek the kingdom of heamust tell you, that none of you must go above a ven;' and I shall gladly and briefly satisfy your kuran," that is with them a mile and a half, “ from demand. the walls of the city without special leave.” We “ About twenty years after the ascension of our answered, after we had looked awhile one upon an Saviour, it came to pass, that there was seen by the other, admiring this gracious and parent-like usage; people of Renfusa, a city upon the eastern coast of " that we could not tell what to say: for we wanted our island, within night, the night was cloudy and words to express our thanks; and his noble free calm, as it might be some mile into the sea, a great offers left us nothing to ask. It seemed to us, that pillar of light; not sharp, but in form of a column we had before us a picture of our salvation in hea or cylinder rising from the sea, a great way up toven: for we that were awhile since in the jaws of wards heaven: and on the top of it was seen a large death, were now brought into a place where we cross of light, more bright and resplendent than the found nothing but consolations. For the command-body of the pillar. Upon which so strange a specment laid upon us, we would not fail to obey it, tacle, the people of the city gathered a pace together though it was impossible but our hearts should be upon the sands to wonder ; and so after put theminflamed to tread farther upon this happy and holy selves into a number of small boats, to go nearer to ground.” We added; " that our tongues should this marvellous sight. But when the boats were first cleave to the roofs of our mouths, ere we should come within about sixty yards of the pillar, they forget either his reverend person, or this whole found themselves all bound, and could go no farther, nation in our prayers.” We also most humbly be- yet so as they might move to go about, but might sought him to accept of us as his true servants, by not approach nearer: so as the boats stood all as as just a right as ever men on earth were bounden, in a theatre, beholding this light as a heavenly laying and presenting both our persons and all we sign. It so fell out, that there was in one of the had at his feet. He said ; " he was a priest, and boats one of the wise men of the society of Sololooked for a priest's reward; which was our brotherly mon's house, which house or college, my good brelove, and the good of our souls and bodies.” So he thren, is the very eye of this kingdom; who having went from us, not without tears of tenderness in his awhile attentively and devoutly viewed and coneyes ; and left us also confused with joy and kind-templated this pillar and cross, fell down upon his ness, saying amongst ourselves, “that we were come face; and then raising himself up upon his knees, into a land of angels, which did appear to us daily, and lifting up his hands to heaven, made his prayers and prevent us with comforts which we thought not in this manner: of, much less expected."

" • Lord God of heaven and earth; thou hast The next day, about ten of the clock, the governor vouchsafed of thy grace, to those of our order, to came to us again, and after salutations said fami- know thy works of creation, and the secrets of them ; liarly, that he was come to visit us; and called for and to discern, as far as appertaineth to the genea chair, and sat him down: and we being some ten rations of men, between divine miracles, works of of us, the rest were of the meaner sort, or else gone nature, works of art, and impostures and illusions of abroad, sat down with him. And when we were set, all sorts. I do here acknowledge and testify before he began thus: “ We of this island of Bensalem," this people, that the thing which we now see before for so they call it in their language, “ have this; our eyes, is thy finger, and a true miracle; and forthat by means of our solitary situation, and of the asmuch as we learn in our books, that thou never laws of secrecy which we have for our travellers, workest miracles, but to a divine and excellent end, and our rare admission of strangers; we know well for the laws of nature are thine own laws, and thou most part of the babitable world, and are ourselves exceedest them not but upon great cause, we most unknown. Therefore because he that knoweth least humbly beseech thee to prosper this great sign, and is fittest to ask questions, it is more reason for the to give us the interpretation and use of it in mercy; entertainment of the time, that ye ask me questions, which thou dost in some part secretly promise by than that I ask you.” We answered ; “ That we sending it unto us.' humbly thanked him that he would give us leave so " When he had made this prayer, he presently to do: and that we conceived by the taste we had found the boat he was in movable and unbound; already, that there was no worldly thing on earth whereas all the rest remained still fast; and taking more worthy to be known than the state of that that for an assurance of leave to approach, he caused happy land. But above all,” we said, “ since that the boat to be softly and with silence rowed towards we were met from the several ends of the world, the pillar. But ere he came near it, the pillar and and loped assuredly that we should meet one day in cross of light brake up, and cast itself abroad, as it the kingdom of heaven, for that we were both parts were into a firmament of many stars; which also Christians, we desired to know, in respect that land vanished soon after, and there was nothing left to was so remote, and so divided by vast and unknown be seen but a small ark or chest of cedar, dry,

and seas, from the land where our Saviour walked on not wet at all with water, though it swam. And earth, who was the apostle of that nation, and in the fore-end of it which was towards him, grew a how it was converted to the faith ?” It appeared small green branch of palm; and when the wise in his face that he took great contentment in this man had taken it with all reverence into his boat, our question: he said, “ Ye knit my heart to you, it opened of itself, and there were found in it a book by asking this question in the first place; for it and a letter ; both written in fine parchment, and

wrapped in sindons of linen. The book contained and though the traveller into a foreign country doth all the canonical books of the Old and New Testa- commonly know more by the eye, than he that stayment, according as you have them, for we know eth at home can by relation of the traveller; yet well what the churches with you receive, and the both ways suffice to make a mutual knowledge, in Apocalypse itself: and some other books of the some degree, on both parts. But for this island, New Testament, which were not at that time writ we never heard tell of any ship of theirs, that had ten, were nevertheless in the book: and for the been seen to arrive upon any shore of Europe; no, letter it was in these words :

nor of either the East or West Indies, nor yet of any “'I Bartholomew, a servant of the Highest, and ship of any other part of the world, that had made apostle of Jesus Christ, was warned by an angel return from them. And yet the marvel rested not that appeared to me in a vision of glory, that I in this. For the situation of it, as his lordship said, should commit this ark to the floods of the sea. in the secret conclave of such a vast sea might Therefore I do testify and declare, unto that people cause it. But then, that they should have knowwhere God shall ordain this ark to come to land, ledge of the languages, books, affairs of those that that in the same day is come unto them salvation, lie at such a distance from them, it was a thing we and

peace, and good-will, from the Father, and from could not tell what to make of; for that it seemed the Lord Jesus.'

to us a condition and propriety of divine powers and “ There was also in both these writings, as well beings, to be hidden and unseen to others, and yet the book as the letter, wrought a great miracle, to have others open, and as in a light to them.” At conform to that of the apostles in the original gift this speech the governor gave a gracious smile, and of tongues.

For there being at that time in this said; “ that we did well to ask pardon for this land, Hebrews, Persians, and Indians, besides the question we now asked; for that it imported, as if natives, every one read upon the book and letter, as we thought this land a land of magicians, that sent if they had been written in his own language. And forth spirits of the air into all parts, to bring them thus was this land saved from infidelity, as the re news and intelligence of other countries.” It was anmain of the old world was from water, by an ark, swered by us all, in all possible humbleness, but yet through the apostolical and miraculous evangelism with a countenance taking knowledge that we knew of St. Bartholomew.” And here he paused, and a that he spake it but merrily, “ That we were apt messenger came and called him from us. So this enough to think there was something supernatural in was all that passed in that conference.

this island, but yet rather as angelical than magical. The next day the same governor came again to But to let his lordship know truly, what it was us immediately after dinner, and excused himself, that made us tender and doubtful to ask this quessaying ; " that the day before he was called from tion, it was not any such conceit, but because we us somewhat abruptly, but now he would make us remembered, he had given a touch in his former amends, and spend time with us, if we held his speech, that this land had laws of secrecy touching company and conference agreeable.” We answered, strangers.” To this he said ; " You remember it " that we held it so agreeable and pleasing to us, as aright; and therefore in that I shall say to you, I we forgot both dangers past and fears to come, for must reserve some particulars, which it is not lawful the time we heard him speak; and that we thought for me to reveal ; but there will be enough left to an hour spent with him, was worth years of our give you satisfaction. former life.” He bowed himself a little to us, and “ You shall understand, that which perhaps you after we were set again, he said ; " Well, the ques- will scarce think credible, that about three thousand tions are on your part.” One of our number said, years ago, or somewhat more, the navigation of the after a little pause ;

“ that there was a matter we world, especially for remote voyages, was greater were no less desirous to know, than fearful to ask, than at this day. Do not think with yourselves, lest we might presume too far. But encouraged by that I know not how much it is increased with you his rare humanity towards us, that could scarce within these six-score years: I know it well; and think ourselves strangers, being his vowed and pro- yet I say greater then than now : whether it was, fessed servants, we would take the hardiness to pro- that the example of the ark, that saved the rem. pound it: humbly beseeching him if he thought it nant of men from the universal deluge, gave men not fit to be answered, that he would pardon it, confidence to adventure upon the waters, or what it though he rejected it.” We said ; we well ob

was, but such is the truth. The Phænicians, and served those his words, which he formerly spake, especially the Tyrians, had great fleets. So had the that this happy island where we now stood, was Carthaginians their colony, which is yet farthest known to few, and yet knew most of the nations of west. Toward the east, the shipping of Egypt, and the world; which we found to be true, considering of Palestine, was likewise great. China also, and they had the languages of Europe, and knew much the great Atlantis, that you call America, which of our state and business; and yet we in Europe, have now but junks and canoes, abounded then in tall notwithstanding all the remote discoveries and navi- ships. This island, as appeareth by faithful regisgations of this last age, never heard any of the least ters of those times, had then fifteen hundred strong inkling or glimpse of this island. This we found ships of great content. Of all this there is with you wonderful strange ; for that all nations have inter- sparing memory, or none; but we have large knowknowledge one of another, either by voyage into ledge thereof. foreign parts, or by strangers that come to them : “ At that time, this land was known and frequent

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »