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The Author's Apology for his Book (cont.)

John Bunyan
John Bunyan

You see the ways the Fisher-man doth take

To catch the Fish; what Engins doth he make?
Behold! how he ingageth all his Wits;
Also his Snares, Lines, Angles, Hooks and Nets:
Yet Fish there be, that neither Hook nor Line,
Nor Snare, nor Net, nor Engin can make thine;
They must be grop'd for, and be tickled too,
Or they will not be catch'd, what e'er you do.

How doth the Fowler seek to catch his Game

By divers means, all which one cannot name?
His Gun, his Nets, his Lime-twigs, light and bell:
He creeps, he goes, he stands; yea, who can tell
Of all his postures? Yet there's none of these
Will make him master of what Fowls he please.
Yea, he must Pipe, and Whistle, to catch this;
Yet if he does so, that Bird he will miss.

If that a Pearl may in a Toads-head dwell,

And may be found too in an Oister-shell;
If things that promise nothing, do contain
What better is then Gold; who will disdain,
(That have an inkling of it,) there to look,
That they may find it? Now my little Book,
(Tho void of all those paintings that may make
It with this or the other man to take,)
Is not without those things that do excel,
What do in brave, but empty notions dwell.

Well, yet I am not fully satisfied,

That this your Book will stand, when soundly try'd.

Why, what's the matter? It is dark. What tho?

But it is feigned, What of that I trow?
Some men by feigning words as dark as mine,
Make truth to spangle, and its rays to shine.

But they want solidness. Speak man thy mind:

They drown'd the weak; Metaphors make us blind.

Solidity, indeed becomes the Pen

Of him that writeth things Divine to men:
But must I needs want solidness, because
By Metaphors I speak; was not Gods Laws,
His Gospel-laws in older time held forth
By Types, Shadows and Metaphors? Yet loth
Will any sober man be to find fault
With them, lest he be found for to assault
The highest Wisdom. No, he rather stoops,
And seeks to find out what by pins and loops,
By Calves, and Sheep; by Heifers, and by Rams;
By Birds and Herbs, and by the blood of Lambs;
God speaketh to him: And happy is he
That finds the light, and grace that in them be.

Be not too forward therefore to conclude,

That I want solidness; that I am rude:
All things solid in shew, not solid be;
All things in parables despise not we,
Lest things most hurtful lightly we receive;
And things that good are, of our souls bereave.

My dark and cloudy words they do but hold

The Truth, as Cabinets inclose the Gold.

The prophets used much by Metaphors

To set forth Truth; Yea, who so considers
Christ, his Apostles too, shall plainly see,
That Truths to this day in such Mantles be.

Am I afraid to say that holy Writ,

Which for its Stile, and Phrase, puts down all Wit,
Is every where so full of all these things,
(Dark Figures, Allegories,) yet there springs
From that same Book that lustre, and those rayes
Of light, that turns our darkest nights to days.

Come, let my Carper, to his Life now look,

And find There darker Lines, than in my Book
He findeth any. Yea, and let him know,
That in his best things there are worse lines too.

May we but stand before impartial men,

To his poor One, I durst adventure Ten,
That they will take my meaning in these lines
Far better then his lies in Silver Shrines.
Come, Truth, although in Swadling-clouts, I find
Informs the Judgement, rectifies the Mind,
Pleases the Understanding, makes the Will
Submit; the Memory too it doth fill
With what doth our Imagination please;
Likewise, it tends our troubles to appease.


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