Observations Upon a Blazing World

Blazing World: Corporeal

In the mean time the Emperess was also making and dissolving several worlds in her own mind, and was so puzled, that she could not settle in any of them; where∣fore she sent for the Duchess, who being ready to wait on the Emperess, carried her beloved world along with her, and invited the Emperess's Soul to observe the frame, order and Government of it. Her Majesty was so ravished with the perception of it, that her soul desired to live in the Duchess's World; but the Duchess advised her to make such another World in her own mind; for, said she, your Majesties mind is full of rational corporeal motions, and the rational mo∣tions of my mind shall assist you by the help of sensitive expressions, with the best instructions they are able to give you.

The Emperess being thus perswaded by the Duchess to make an imaginary World of her own, fol∣lowed her advice; and after she had quite finished it, and framed all kinds of Creatures proper and useful for it, strengthened it with good Laws, and beautified it with Arts and Sciences; having nothing else to do, un∣less she did dissolve her imaginary world, or made some alterations in the Blazing-world, she lived in, which yet she could hardly do, by reason it was so well order∣ed that it could not be mended; for it was governed without secret and deceiving Policy; neither was there any ambition, factions, malicious detractions, civil dissensions, or home-bred quarrels, divisions in Reli∣gion, forreign Wars, &c. but all the people lived in a peaceful society, united Tranquillity, and Religious Conformity; she was desirous to see the world the Duchess came from, and observe therein the several so∣veraign Governments, Laws and Customs of several Nations. The Duchess used all the means she could, to divert her from that Journey, telling her, that the world she came from, was very much disturbed with factions, divisions and wars; but the Emperess would not be perswaded from her design; and lest the Em∣perour, or any of his subjects should know of her travel, and obstruct her design, she sent for some of the Spirits she had formerly conversed withal, and inquired whe∣ther none of them could supply the place of her soul in her body at such a time, when she was gone to travel into another World? They answered, Yes, they could; for not onely one, said they, but many Spi∣rits may enter into your body, if you please. The Emperess replied, she desired but one Spirit to be Vice∣Roy of her body in the absence of her Soul, but it must be an honest and ingenious Spirit; and if it was possi∣ble, a female Spirit. The Spirits told her, that there was no difference of Sexes amongst them; but, said they, we will chuse an honest and ingenious Spirit, and such a one as shall so resemble your soul, that nei∣ther the Emperour, nor any of his subjects, although the most Divine, shall know whether it be your own soul, or not: which the Emperess was very glad at, and after the Spirits were gone, asked the Duchess, how her body was supplied in the absence of her soul? who answered Her Majesty, That her body, in the ab∣sence of her soul, was governed by her sensitive and rational corporeal motions. Thus those two female souls travelled together as lightly as two thoughts into the Duchess her native World; and which is remark∣able, in a moment viewed all the parts of it, and all the actions of all the Creatures therein, especially did the Emperess's soul take much notice of the several actions of humane Creatures in all the several Nations and parts of that World, and wonder'd that for all there were so many several Nations, Governments, Laws, Religions, Opinions, &c. they should all yet so ge∣nerally agree in being Ambitious, Proud, Self-con∣ceited, Vain, Prodigal, Deceitful, Envious, Mali∣cious, Unjust, Revengeful, Irreligious, Factious, &c. She did also admire, that not any particular State, Kingdom or Common-wealth, was contented with their own shares, but endeavoured to encroach upon their neighbours, and that their greatest glory was in Plunder and Slaughter, and yet their victorie's less then their expenses, and their losses more then their gains, but their being overcome in a manner their utter ruine. But that she wonder'd most at, was, that they should prize or value dirt more then mens lives, and vanity more then tranquillity; for the Emperor of a world, said she, injoys but a part, not the whole; so that his plea∣sure consists in the opinions of others. It is strange to me, answered the Duchess, that you should say thus, being your self, an Emperess of a World, and not onely of a world, but of a peaceable, quiet, and obedient world. 'Tis true, replied the Emperess, but although it is a peaceable and obedient world, yet the Government thereof is rather a trouble, then a pleasure; for order cannot be without industry, contrivance and direction; besides, the Magnificent state, that great Princes keep or ought to keep, is troublesome. Then by your Ma∣jesties discourse, said the Duchess, I perceive that the greatest happiness in all Worlds consist in Modera∣tion: No doubt of it, replied the Emperess; and af∣ter these two souls had visited all the several places, Con∣gregations and Assemblies both in Religion and State, the several Courts of Judicature, and the like, in several Nations, the Emperess said, That of all the Mo∣narchs of the several parts of that World, she had ob∣served the Grand-Signior was the greatest; for his word was a Law, and his power absolute. But the Duchess pray'd the Emperess to pardon her that she was of another mind; for, said she, he cannot alter Ma∣homets Laws and Religion; so that the Law and Church do govern the Emperor, and not the Empe∣ror them. But, replied the Emperess, he has power in some particulars; as for example, to place and dis∣place subjects in their particular Governments of Church and State, and having that, he has the Com∣mand both over Church and State, and none dares oppose him. 'Tis true, said the Duchess; but if it pleases your Majesty, we will go into that part of the world whence I came to wait on your Majesty, and there you shall see as powerful a Monarch as the Grand-Signior; for though his Dominions are not of so large extent, yet they are much stronger, his Laws are easie and safe, and he governs so justly and wisely, that his subjects are the happiest people of all the Na∣tions or parts of that world. This Monarch, said the Emperess, I have a great mind to see: Then they both went, and in a short time arrived into his Dominions; but coming into the Metropolitan City, the Emperess's soul observed many Galants go into an house, and en∣quiring of the Duchess's soul, what house that was? She told her, It was one of the Theatres where Come∣dies and Tragedies were acted. The Emperess asked, Whether they were real? No, said the Duchess, They are feigned. Then the Emperess desired to en∣ter into the Theatre, and when she had seen the Play that was acted, the Duchess asked her how she liked that Recreation? I like it very well, said the Empe∣ress; but I observe, that the Actors make a better show then the Spectators, and the Scenes a better then the Actors, and the Musick and Dancing is more plea∣sant and acceptable then the Play it self; for I see, the Scenes stand for wit, the Dancing for humour, and the Musick is the Chorus. I am sorry, replied the Duchess, to hear your Majesty say so; for if the Wits of this part of the world should hear you, they would condemn you. What, said the Emperess, would they condemn me for preferring a natural face before a sign-post, or a natural humour before an artificial dance, or Musick before a true and profitable Rela∣tion? As for relation, replied the Duchess, our Po∣ets defie and condemn it into a Chimney-corner, fitter for old Womens Tales, then Theatres. Why, said the Emperess, do not your Poets actions comply with their judgments? for their Plays are composed of old stories, either of Greek or Roman, or some new-found World. The Duchess answered her Majesty, that it was true, that all or most of their Plays were taken out of old Stories, but yet they had new actions, which being joined to old stories, together with the addition of new Prologues, Scenes, Musick and Dancing, made new Plays.

After this, both the Souls went to the Court, where all the Royal Family was together, attended by the chief of the Nobles of their Dominions, which made a very magnificent show; and when the soul of the Emperess viewed the King and Queen, she seemed to be in amaze, which the Duchess's soul perceiving, asked the Emperess how she liked the King, the Queen, and all the Royal Race? She answered, that in all the Monarchs she had seen in that World, she had not found so much Majesty and affability mixt so exactly together, that none did overshadow or eclipse the other; and as for the Queen, she said, that Vertue sate Tri∣umphant in her face, and Piety was dwelling in her heart, and that all the Royal Family seem'd to be en∣dued with a Divine splendor: but when she had heard the King discourse, she believ'd, that Mercury and Apollo had been his Celestial instructors; and my dear Lord and Husband, added the Duchess, has been his Earthly Governour. But after some short stay in the Court, the Duchess's soul grew very Melancholy; the Empe∣ress asking the cause of her sadness? She told her, that she had an extreme desire to converse with the soul of her noble Lord and dear Husband, and that she was impatient of a longer stay. The Emperess desired the Duchess to have but patience so long, until the King, the Queen, and the Royal Family were retired, and then she would bear her company to her Lord and Husbands Soul, who at that time lived in the Country some 112 miles off; which she did: and thus these two souls went towards those parts of the King∣dom where the Duke of Newcastle was.

But one thing I forgot all this while, which is, That although thoughts are the natural language of souls, yet by reason souls cannot travel without Vehicles, they use such language as the nature and propriety of their Vehicles require, and the Vehicles of those two souls being made of the purest and finest sort of air, and of a humane shape; this purity and fineness was the cause that they could neither be seen nor heard by any humane Creature; when as, had they been of some grosser sort of Air, the sound of that Airs language would have been as perceptible as the blowing of Ze∣phyrus.

And now to return to my former Story; when the Emperess's and Duchess's Soul were travelling into Nottingham-shire, for that was the place where the Duke did reside; passing through the forrest of Shere∣wood, the Emperess's soul was very much delighted with it, as being a dry, plain and woody place, very pleasant to travel in both in Winter and Summer; for it is neither much dirty, nor dusty at no time: at last they arrived at Welbeck, a House where the Duke dwell'd, surrounded all with Wood, so close and full, that the Emperess took great pleasure and delight there∣in, and told the Duchess she never had observed more wood in so little a compass in any part of the Kingdom she had passed through; The truth is, said she, there seems to be more wood on the Seas, she meaning the Ships, then on the Land. The Duchess told her, the reason was, that there had been a long Civil War in that Kingdom, in which most of the best Timber-trees and Principal Palaces were ruined and destroyed; and my dear Lord and Husband, said she, has lost by it half his Woods, besides many Houses, Land, and moveable Goods; so that all the loss out of his particu∣lar Estate, did amount to above half a Million of Pounds. I wish, said the Emperess, he had some of the Gold that is in the Blazing-world, to repair his los∣ses. The Duchess most humbly thank'd her Imperial Majesty for her kind wishes; but, said she, wishes will not repair his ruines: however, God has given my Noble Lord and Husband great Patience, by which he bears all his losses and misfortunes. At last, they enter'd into the Dukes House, an habitation not so magnificent, as useful; and when the Emperess saw it, Has the Duke, said she, no other house but this? Yes, answered the Duchess, some five miles from this place, he has a very fine Castle, called Bolesover. That place then, said the Emperess, I desire to see. Alas! replied the Duchess, it is but a naked house, and uncloath'd of all Furniture. However, said the Emperess, I may see the manner of its structure and building. That you may, replied the Duchess: and as they were thus discoursing, the Duke came out of the House into the Court, to see his Horses of mannage; whom when the Duchess's soul perceived, she was so overjoyed, that her aereal Ve∣hicle became so splendorous, as if it had been enlightned by the Sun; by which we may perceive, that the passions of Souls or Spirits can alter their bodily Vehicles. Then these two Ladies Spirits went close to him, but he could not perceive them; and after the Emperess had observed the Art of Mannage, she was much pleased with it, and commended it as a noble pastime, and an exercise fit and proper for noble and heroick Persons: But when the Duke was gone into the house again, those two Souls followed him; where the Emperess observing, that he went to the exercise of the Sword, and was such an excellent and unparallell'd Master thereof, she was as much pleased with that exercise, as she was with the former: But the Duchess's soul being troubled, that her dear Lord and Husband used such a violent exercise before meat, for fear of overheating himself, without any consideration of the Empe∣ress's soul, left her aereal Vehicle, and entred into her Lord. The Emperess's soul perceiving this, did the like: And then the Duke had three Souls in one Body; and had there been but some such Souls more, the Duke would have been like the Grand-Signior in his Seraglio, onely it would have been a Platonick Seraglio. But the Dukes soul being wise, honest, witty, complaisant and noble, afforded such delight and plea∣sure to the Emperess's soul by her conversation, that these two souls became enamoured of each other; which the Duchess's soul perceiving, grew jealous at first, but then considering that no Adultery could be committed amongst Platonick Lovers, and that Platonism was Divine, as being derived from Divine Plato, cast forth of her mind that Idea of Jealousie. Then the Con∣versation of these three souls was so pleasant, that it can∣not be expressed; for the Dukes soul entertained the Emperesses soul with Scenes, Songs, Musick, witty Discourses, pleasant Recreations, and all kinds of harm∣less sports; so that the time passed away faster then they expected. At last, a Spirit came and told the Empe∣ress, that although neither the Emperour, nor any of his subjects knew that her soul was absent; yet the Em∣perours soul was so sad and melancholy, for want of his own beloved soul, that all the Imperial Court took no∣tice of it. Wherefore he advised the Emperess's Soul to return into the Blazing-world, into her own body she left there; which both the Dukes and Duchess's soul was very sorry for, and wished, that if it had been possible, the Emperess's soul might have stayed a longer time with them; but seeing it could not be otherwise, they pacified themselves: But before the Emperess re∣turned into the Blazing-world, the Duchess desired a favour of her, to wit, that she would be pleased to make an agreement between her Noble Lord, and Fortune. Why, said the Emperess, are they ene∣mies? Yes, answered the Duchess, and they have been so ever since I have been his Wife; nay, I have heard my Lord say, that she hath crossed him in all things ever since he could remember. I am sorry for that, replied the Emperess, but I cannot discourse with Fortune without the help of an Immaterial Spirit, and that cannot be done in this World, for I have no Fly-nor Bird-men here, to send into the region of the Air, where, for the most part, their habitations are. The Duchess said, she would intreat her Lord to send an Attorney or Lawyer, to plead her cause. For∣tune will bribe them, replied the Emperess, and so the Duke may chance to be cast; Wherefore the best way will be for the Duke to chuse a friend on his side, and let Fortune chuse another, and try whether by this means it be possible to compose the difference. The Duchess said, They will never come to an agreement, unless there be a Judg or Umpire to decide the Case. A Judg, replied the Empersss, is easie to be had, but to get an Impartial Judg, is a thing so difficult, that I doubt we shall hardly find one; for there is none to be had neither in Nature, nor in Hell, but onely from Heaven, and how to get such a Divine and Cele∣stial Judg, I cannot tell: Nevertheless, if you will go along with me into the Blazing-world, I'le try what may be done. 'Tis my duty, said the Duchess, to wait on your Majesty, and I shall most willingly do it, for I have no other interest to consider. Then the Duchess spake to the Duke concerning the difference between him and Fortune, and how it was her desire that they might be friends. The Duke answered, That for his part, he had always with great industry, sought her friendship, but as yet he could never obtain it, for she had always been his enemy: However, said he, I'le try, and send my two friends, Prudence and Honesty, to plead my cause. Then these two friends went with the Duchess and the Emperess into the Bla∣zing-world; (for it is to be observed, that they are somewhat like Spirits, because they are immaterial, al∣though their actions are corporeal:) and after their ar∣rival there, when the Emperess had refreshed her self, and rejoiced with the Emperor, she sent her Fly-men for some of the Spirits, and defired their assistance, to compose the difference between Fortune, and the Duke of Newcastle.

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