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ed by the ships and vessels of all the nations before named. And, as it cometh to pass, they had many times men of other countries, that were no sailors, that came with them; as Persians, Chaldeans, Arabians, so as almost all nations of might and fame resorted hither; of whom we have some stirps and bitle tribe with us at this day. And for our own ships, they went sundry voyages, as well to your Straits, which you call the pillars of Hercules, as to other parts in the Atlantic and Mediterranean seas; as to Peguin, which is the same with Cambaline, and Quinzy, upon the Oriental seas, as far as to the borders of the East Tartary.
"At the same time, and an age after, or more, the inhabitants of the great Atlantis did flourish. For though the narration and description which is made by a great man with you, that the descendants of Neptune planted there; and of the magnificent temple, palace, city, and hill; and the manifold streams of goodly navigable rivers, which, as so many chains, environed the same site and temple; and the several degrees of ascent, whereby men did climb up to the same, as if it had been a scala cœli; be all poetical and fabulous: yet so much is true, that the said country of Atlantis, as well that of Peru, then Coya, as that of Mexico, then named Tyrambel, were mighty and proud kingdoms, in arms, shipping, and riches: so mighty, as at one time, or at least within the space of ten years, they both made two great expeditions, they of Tyrambel, through the Atlantic to the Mediterranean sea; and they of Poya, through the South sea upon this our island: and for the former of these, which was into Europe, the same author amongst you, as it seemeth, had some relation from the Egyptian priest whom he eth. For assuredly, such a thing there was. But whether it were the ancient Athenians that had the glory of the repulse and resistance of those forces, I can say nothing but certain it is, there never came back either ship, or man, from that voyage. Neither had the other voyage of those of Coya upon us had better fortune, if they had not met with enemies of greater clemency. For the king of this island, by name Altabin, a wise man, and a great warrior; knowing well both his own strength, and that of his enemies; handled the matter so, as he cut off their land-forces from their ships, and entoiled both their navy and their camp, with a greater power than theirs, both by sea and land; and compelled them to render themselves without striking stroke :(and after they were at his mercy, contenting himself only with their oath, that they should no more bear arms against him, dismissed them all in safety.) But the divine revenge overtook not long after those proud enterprises. For within less than the space of one hundred years, the great Atlantis was utterly lost and destroyed:(not by a great earthquake, as your man saith, for that whole tract is little subject to earthquakes, but by a particular deluge or inandation: those countries having, at this day, far greater rivers, and far higher mountains, to pour down waters, than any part of the old world. But it is true, that the same inundation was not deep; not past forty foot, in most places, from the ground:
so that although it destroyed man and beast generally, yet some few wild inhabitants of the woods escaped. Birds also were saved by flying to the high trees and woods. For as for men, although they had buildings in many places higher than the depth of the water; yet that inundation, though it were shallow, had a long continuance; whereby they of the vale, that were not drowned, perished for want of food, and other things necessary. So as marvel you not at the thin population of America, nor at the rudeness and ignorance of the people; (for you must account your inhabitants of America as a young people; younger a thousand years, at the least, than the rest of the world; for that there was so much time between the universal flood and their particular inundation. For the poor remnant of human seed, which remained in their mountains, peopled the country again slowly, by little and little ;(and being simple and savage people, not like Noah and his sons, which was the chief family of the earth, they were not able to leave letters, arts, and civility to their posterity, and having likewise in their mountainous habitations been used, in respect of the extreme cold of those regions, to clothe themselves with the skins of tigers, bears, and great hairy goats, that they have in those parts: when after they came down into the valley, and found the intolerable heats which are there, and knew no means of lighter apparel, they were forced to begin the custom of going naked, which continueth at this day.)(Only they take great pride and delight in the feathers of birds; and this also they took from those their ancestors of the mountains, who were invited unto it by the infinite flights of birds, that came up to the high grounds, while the waters stood below.) So you see, by this main accident of time, we lost our traffic with the Americans, with whom, of all others, in regard they lay nearest to us, we had most commerce. As for the other parts of the world, it is most manifest, that in the ages following, (whether it were in respect of wars, or by a natural revolution of time, navigation did every where greatly decay and especially far voyages, the rather by the use of galleys, and such vessels as could hardly brook the ocean, were altogether left and omitted. So then, that part of intercourse which could be from other nations to sail to us, you see how it hath long since ceased; except it were by some rare accident, as this of yours. But now of the cessation of that other part of intercourse, which might be by our sailing to other nations, I must yield you some other cause. For I cannot say, if I shall say truly, but our shipping, for number, strength, mariners, pilots, and all things that appertain to navigation, is as great as ever: and therefore why we should sit at home, I shall now give you an account by itself and it will draw nearer to give you satisfaction to your principal question.
"There reigned in this island, about nineteen hundred years ago, a king whose memory of all others we most adore; not superstitiously, but as a divine instrument, though a mortal man; his name was Solomona: and we esteem him as the lawgiver of our nation. This king had a large heart, inscru
table for good, and was wholly bent to make his | all hath the pre-eminence. It was the erection and kingdom and people happy. He therefore taking into consideration, how sufficient and substantive this land was to maintain itself without any aid at all of the foreigner, being five thousand six hundred miles in circuit, and of rare fertility of soil, in the greatest part thereof; and finding also the shipping of this country might be plentifully set on work, both by fishing and by transportations from port to port, and likewise by sailing unto some small islands that are not far from us, and are under the crown and laws of this state; and recalling into his memory the happy and flourishing estate wherein this land then was; so as it might be a thousand ways altered to the worse, but scarce any one way to the better; thought nothing wanted to his noble and heroical intentions, but only, as far as human foresight might reach, to give perpetuity to that, which was in his time so happily established. Therefore amongst his other fundamental laws of this kingdom, he did ordain the interdicts and prohibitions, which we have, touching entrance of strangers; which at that time, (though it was after the calamity of America, was frequent; (doubting novelties, and commixture of manners. It is true, the like law, against the admission of strangers without licence, is an ancient law in the kingdom of China, and yet continued in use but there it is a poor thing; and hath made them a curious, ignorant, fearful, foolish nation. But our lawgiver made his law of another temper. For first, he hath preserved all points of humanity, in taking order, and making provision for the relief of strangers distressed, whereof you have tasted." At which speech, as reason was, we all rose up and bowed ourselves. He went on. "That king also, still desiring to join humanity and policy together; and thinking it against humanity to detain strangers here against their wills; and against policy that they should return, and discover their knowledge of this estate, he took this course: he did ordain, that of the strangers that should be permitted to land, as many, at all times, might depart as would; but as many as would stay, should have very good conditions, and means to live, from the state. Wherein he saw so far, that now in so many ages since the prohibition, we have memory, not of one ship that ever returned, and but of thirteen persons only, at several times, that chose to return in our bottoms. What those few that have returned may have reported abroad I know not: but you must think, whatsoever they have said, could be taken where they came but for a dream. Now for our travelling from hence into parts abroad, our lawgiver thought fit altogether to restrain it. So is it not in China. For the Chinese sail where they will or can; which showeth that their law of keeping out strangers is a law of pusillanimity and fear. But this restraint of ours hath one only exception, which is admirable; preserving the good which cometh by communicating with strangers, and avoiding the hurt; and I will now open it to you. And here I shall seem a little to digress, but you will by and by find it perYe shall understand, my dear friends, that amongst the excellent acts of that king, one above
institution of an order or society which we call
world." And when he had said this, he was silent; | in the house with him: who is called ever after the and so were we all. For indeed we were all astonished to hear so strange things so probably told. And he perceiving that we were willing to say somewhat, but had it not ready, in great courtesy took us off, and descended to ask us questions of our voyage and fortunes, and in the end concluded, that we might do well to think with ourselves, what time of stay we would demand of the state; and bade us not to scant ourselves; for he would procure such time as we desired. Whereupon we all rose up, and presented ourselves to kiss the skirt of his tippet, but he would not suffer us; and so took his leave. But when it came once amongst our people, that the state used to offer conditions to strangers that would stay, we had work enough to get any of our men to look to our ship; and to keep them from going presently to the governor to crave conditions. But with much ado we refrained them, till we might agree what course to take.
We took ourselves now for free men, seeing there was no danger of our utter perdition; and lived most joyfully, going abroad and seeing what was to be seen in the city and places adjacent within our tedder; and obtaining acquaintance with many of the city, not of the meanest quality; at whose hands we found such humanity, and such a freedom and desire to take strangers as it were into their bosom, as was enough to make us forget all that was dear to us in our own countries: and continually we met with many things, right worthy of observation and relation; as indeed, if there be a mirror in the world worthy to hold men's eyes, it is that country. | One day there were two of our company bidden to a feast of the family, as they call it. A most natural, pious, and reverend custom it is, showing that nation to be compounded of all goodness. This is the manner of it. It is granted to any man, that shall live to see thirty persons descended of his body alive together, and all above three years old, to make this feast, which is done at the cost of the state. The father of the family, whom they call the Tirsan, two days before the feast, taketh to him three of such friends as he liketh to choose; and is assisted also by the governor of the city, or place, where the feast is celebrated; and all the persons of the family of both sexes are summoned to attend him. These two days the Tirsan sitteth in consultation concerning the good estate of the family. There, if there be any discords or suits between any of the family, they are compounded and appeased. There, if any of the family be distressed or decayed, order is taken for their relief, and competent means to live. There, if any be subject to vice, or take ill courses, they are reproved and censured. So likewise direction is given touching marriages, and the course of life which any of them should take, with divers other the like orders and advices. The governor assisteth, to the end to put in execution, by his publie authority, the decrees and orders of the Tirsan, if they should be disobeyed; though that seldom needeth; such reverence and obedience they give to the order of nature. The Tirsan doth also then ever choose one man from amongst his sons, to live
Son of the Vine. The reason will hereafter appear. On the feast-day, the father, or Tirsan, cometh forth after divine service into a large room where the feast is celebrated; which room hath a half pace at the upper end. Against the wall, in the middle of the half pace, is a chair placed for him, with a table and carpet before it. Over the chair is a state made round or oval, and it is of ivy; an ivy somewhat whiter than ours, like the leaf of a silver asp, but more shining: for it is green all winter. And the state is curiously wrought with silver and silk of divers colours, broiding or binding in the ivy; and is ever of the work of some of the daughters of the family; and veiled over at the top with a fine net of silk and silver. But the substance of it is true ivy; whereof, after it is taken down, the friends of the family are desirous to have some leaf or sprig to keep. The Tirsan cometh forth with all his generation or lineage, the males before him, and the females following him; and if there be a mother, from whose body the whole lineage is descended, there is a traverse placed in a loft above on the right hand of the chair, with a privy door, and a carved window of glass, leaded with gold and blue; where she sitteth, but is not seen. When the Tirsan is come forth, he sitteth down in the chair; and all the lineage place themselves against the wall, both at his back, and upon the return of the half pace, in order of their years, without difference of sex, and stand upon their feet. When he is set, the room being always full of company, but well kept, and without disorder; after some pause there cometh in from the lower end of the room a taratan, which is as much as a herald, and on either side of him two young lads; whereof one carrieth a scroll of their shining yellow parchment; and the other a cluster of grapes of gold, with a long foot or stalk. The herald and children are clothed with mantles of sea-water green sattin; but the herald's mantle is streamed with gold, and hath a train. Then the herald with three curtesies, or rather inclinations, cometh up as far as the half pace; and there first taketh into his hand the scroll. This scroll is the king's charter, containing gift of revenue, and many privileges, exemptions, and points of honour, granted to the father of the family; and is ever styled and directed, "To such an one, our wellbeloved friend and creditor :" which is a title proper only to this case. For they say, the king is debtor to no man, but for propagation of his subjects.) The seal set to the king's charter, is the king's image, imbossed or moulded in gold; and though such charters be expedited of course, and as of right, yet they are varied by discretion, according to the number and dignity of the family. This charter the herald readeth aloud: and while it is read, the father or Tirsan standeth up, supported by two of his sons, such as he chooseth. Then the herald mounteth the half pace, and delivereth the charter into his hand: and with that there is an acclamation by all that are present in their language, which is thus much: "Happy are the people of Bensalem." Then the herald taketh into his hand from the other child
the cluster of grapes, which is of gold; both the stalk and the grapes. But the grapes are daintily enamelled; and if the males of the family be the greater number, the grapes are enamelled purple, with a little sun set on the top; if the females, then they are enamelled into a greenish yellow, with a crescent on the top. The grapes are in number, as many as there are descendants of the family. This golden cluster the herald delivereth also to the Tirsan; who presently delivereth it over to that son, that he had formerly chosen to be in the house with him: who beareth it before his father as an ensign of honour, when he goeth in public, ever after; and is thereupon called the Son of the Vine. After this ceremony ended, the father or Tirsan retireth; and after some time cometh forth again to dinner, where he sitteth alone under the state as before; and none of his descendants sit with him, of what degree or dignity soever, except he hap to be of Solomon's House. He is served only by his own children, such as are male; who perform unto him all service of the table upon the knee; and the women only stand about him, leaning against the wall. The room below the half pace hath tables on the sides for the guests that are bidden; who are served with great and comely order; (and towards the end of dinner, which, in the greatest feasts with them, lasteth never above an hour and a half, there is a hymn sung, varied according to the invention of him that composeth it, for they have excellent poesy, but the subject of it is, always, the praises of Adam, and Noah, and Abraham; whereof the former two peopled the world, and the last was the father of the faithful: concluding ever with a thanksgiving for the nativity of our Saviour, in whose birth the births of all are only blessed.) Dinner being done, the Tirsan retireth again; and having withdrawn himself alone into a place, where he maketh some private prayers, he cometh forth the third time, to give the blessing; with all his descendants, who stand about him as at the first. Then he calleth them forth by one and by one, by name, as he pleaseth, though seldom the order of age be inverted. The person that is called, the table being before removed, kneeleth down before the chair, and the father layeth his hand upon his head, or her head, and giveth the blessing in these words: "Son of Bensalem, or daughter of Bensalem, thy father saith it; the man by whom thou hast breath and life speaketh the word; The blessing of the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace, and the Holy Dove be upon thee, and make the days of thy pilgrimage good and many." This he saith to every of them; and that done, if there be any of his sons of eminent merit and virtue, so they be not above two, he calleth for them again; and saith, laying his arm over their shoulders, they standing; "Sons, it is well ye are born, give God the praise, and persevere to the end." And withal he delivereth to either of them a jewel, made in the figure of an ear of wheat, which they ever after wear in the front of their turban or hat. This done, they fall to music and dances, and other recreations, after their manner, for the rest of the day. This is the full order of that feast.
By that time six or seven days were spent, I was fallen into strait acquaintance with a merchant of that city, whose name was Joabin. He was a Jew, and circumcised: for they have some few stirps of Jews yet remaining among them, whom they leave to their own religion: which they may the better do, because they are of a far differing disposition from the Jews in other parts. For whereas they hate the name of Christ, and have a secret inbred rancour against the people amongst whom they live; these, contrariwise, give unto our Saviour many high attributes, and love the nation of Bensalem extremely. Surely this man of whom I speak, would ever acknowledge that Christ was born of a virgin; and that he was more than a man; and he would tell how God made him ruler of the seraphims which guard his throne; and they call him also the milken way, and the Eliah of the Messias; and many other high names; which though they be inferior to his divine Majesty, yet they are far from the language of other Jews. And for the country of Bensalem, this man would make no end of commending it: being desirous by tradition among the Jews there, to have it believed, that the people thereof were of the generations of Abraham, by another son, whom they called Nachoran; and that Moses, by a secret cabala, ordained the laws of Bensalem which they now use; and that when the Messias should come, and set in his throne at Hierusalem, the king of Bensalem should set at his feet, whereas other kings should keep a great distance. But yet setting aside these Jewish dreams, the man was a wise man, and learned, and of great policy, and excellently seen in the laws and customs of that nation. Amongst other discourses, one day I told him I was much affected with the relation I had from some of the company, of their custom in holding the feast of the family; for that, methought, I had never heard of a solemnity wherein nature did so much preside. And because propagation of families proceedeth from the nuptial copulation, I desired to know of him, what laws and customs they had concerning marriage; and whether they kept marriage well; and whether they were tied to one wife? For that where population is so much affected, and such as with them it seemed to be, there is commonly permission of plurality of wives. To this he said, "You have reason for to commend that excellent institution of the feast of the family; and indeed we have experience, that those families that are partakers of the blessing of that feast, do flourish and prosper ever after in an extraordinary manner. But hear me now, and I will tell you what I know. You shall understand, that there is not under the heavens so chaste a nation as this of Bensalem; nor so free from all pollution or foulness. It is the virgin of the world. I remember I have read in one of our European books, of an holy hermit among you, that desired to see the spirit of fornication; and there appeared to him a little foul ugly Æthiop: but if he had desired to see the spirit of chastity of Bensalem, it would have appeared to him in the likeness of a fair beautiful cherubim. For there is nothing amongst mortal men more fair and admirable, than the chaste minds
month be passed from their first interview. Marriage without consent of parents they do not make void, but they mulct it in the inheritors for the children of such marriages are not admitted to inherit above a third part of their parents' inheritance. I have read in a book of one of your men, of a feigned commonwealth, where the married couple are permitted before they contract, to see one another naked. This they dislike; for they think it a scorn to give a refusal after so familiar knowledge: but because of many hidden defects in men and women's bodies, they have a more civil way; for they have near every town a couple of pools, which they call Adam and Eve's pools, where it is permitted to one of the friends of the man, and another of the friends of the woman, to see them severally bathe naked."
of this people. Know therefore that with them | ed that none do intermarry, or contract, until a there are no stews, no dissolute houses, no courtesans, nor any thing of that kind. Nay, they wonder, with detestation, at you in Europe, which permit such things. They say, ye have put marriage out of office; for marriage is ordained a remedy for unlawful concupiscence; and natural concupiscence seemeth as a spur to marriage. But when men have at hand a remedy more agreeable to their corrupt will, marriage is almost expulsed. And therefore there are with you seen infinite men that marry not, but choose rather a libertine and impure single life, than to be yoked in marriage; and many that do marry, marry late, when the prime and strength of their years is past. And when they do marry, what is marriage to them but a very bargain; wherein is sought alliance, or portion, or reputation, with some desire, almost indifferent, of issue; and not the faithful nuptial union And as we were thus in conference, there came one of man and wife, that was first instituted. Neither that seemed to be a messenger, in a rich huke, that is it possible, that those that have cast away so spake with the Jew: whereupon he turned to me basely so much of their strength should greatly and said; "You will pardon me, for I am commandesteem children, being of the same matter, as chaste ed away in haste." The next morning he came to men do. So likewise during marriage, is the case me again joyful. as it seemed, and said, "There is much amended, as it ought to be if those things word come to the governor of the city, that one of were tolerated only for necessity? No, but they the fathers of Solomon's House will be here this remain still as a very affront to marriage. The day seven-night; we have seen none of them this haunting of those dissolute places, or resort to dozen years. courtesans, are no more punished in married men than in bachelors. And the depraved custom of change, and the delight in meretricious embracements, where sin is turned into art, maketh marriage a dull thing, and a kind of imposition or tax. They hear you defend these things, as done to avoid greater evils; as advoutries, deflouring of virgins, unnatural lust, and the like. But they say, this is a preposterous wisdom; and they call it Lot's offer, who to save his guests from abusing, offered his daughters: nay, they say farther, that there is little gained in this; for that the same vices and appetites do still remain and abound; unlawful lust being like a furnace, that if you stop the flames altogether it will quench; but if you give it any vent it will rage. As for masculine love, they have no touch of it; and yet there are not so faithful and inviolate friendships in the world again as are there; and to speak generally, as I said before, I have not read of any such chastity in any people as theirs.
His coming is in state; but the cause
of his coming is secret. I will provide you and your fellows of a good standing to see his entry." I thanked him, and told him, I was most glad of the news. The day being come, he made his entry. He was a man of middle stature and age, comely of person, and had an aspect as if he pitied men He was clothed in a robe of fine black cloth, with wide sleeves and a cape. His under garment was of excellent white linen down to the foot, girt with a girdle of the same; and a sindon or tippet of the same about his neck. He had gloves that were curious, and set with stone; and shoes of peachcoloured velvet. His neck was bare to the shoulders. His hat was like a helmet, or Spanish Montera; and his locks curled below it decently: they were of colour brown. His beard was cut round, and of the same colour with his hair, somewhat lighter. He was carried in a rich chariot without wheels, litterwise, with two horses at either end, richly trapped in blue velvet embroidered; and two footmen on each side in the like attire. The chariot was all of cedar, gilt, and adorned with crystal; save that the fore-end had pannels of sapphires, set in borders of gold, and the hinder-end the like of emeralds of the Peru colour. There was also a sun of gold, radiant upon the top, in the midst; and on the top before a small cherub of gold, with wings displayed. The chariot was covered with cloth of gold tissued upon blue. He had before him fifty attendants, young men all, in white sattin loose coats to the mid-leg, and stockings of white silk; and shoes of blue
And their usual saying is, That whosoever is unchaste cannot reverence himself: and they say, That the reverence of a man's self is, next religion, the chiefest bridle of all vices." And when he had said this, the good Jew paused a little; whereupon I, far more willing to hear him speak on than to speak myself; yet thinking it decent, that upon his pause of speech I should not be altogether silent, said only this; "that I would say to him, as the widow of Sarepta said to Elias; that he was come to bring to memory our sins; and that I confess the righteousnesa of Bensalem was greater than the righteous-velvet; and hats of blue velvet; with fine plumes ness of Europe." At which speech he bowed his head, and went on in this manner: "They have also many wise and excellent laws touching marriage. They allow no polygamy; they have ordain
of divers colours, set round like hatbands. Next before the chariot went two men bare-headed, in linen garments down to the foot, girt, and shoes of blue velvet, who carried the one a crosier, the other a