The Blazing World, by Margaret Cavendish

The Second Part of the Description of the New Blazing-World.

The Empress having now ordered and setled her Government to the best advantage and quiet of her Blazing-World, lived and reigned most happily and blessedly, and received oftentimes Visits from the Immaterial Spirits, who gave her Intelligence of all such things as she desired to know, and they were able to inform her of: One time they told her, how the World she came from, was imbroiled in a great War, and that most parts or Nations thereof made War against that Kingdom which was her Native Country, where all her Friends and Relations did live; at which the Empress was extreamly troubled; insomuch that the Emperor perceived her grief by her tears, and examining the cause thereof, she told him that she had received Intelligence from the Spirits, that that part of the World she came from, which was her native Country, was like to be destroyed by numerous Enemies that made War against it. The Emperor being very sensible of this ill news, especially of the Trouble it caused to the Empress, endeavoured to comfort her as much as possibly he could; and told her, that she might have all the assistance which the Blazing-World was able to afford. she answered, That if there were any possibility of transporting Forces out of the Blazing-World, into the World she came from, she would not fear so much the ruin thereof: but, said she, there being no probability of effecting anysuch thing, I know not how to shew my readiness to serve my Native Country. The Emperor asked, Whether those Spirits that gave her Intelligence of this War, could not with all their Power and Forces, assist her against those Enemies? she answered, That Spirits could not arm themselves, nor make any use of Artificial Arms or Weapons; for their Vehicles were Natural Bodies, not Artificial: Besides, said she, the violent and strong actions of war, will never agree with Immaterial Spirits; for Immaterial Spirits cannot fight, nor make Trenches, Fortifications, and the like. But, said the Emperor, their Vehicles can; especially if those Vehicles be mens Bodies, they may be serviceable in all the actions of War. Alas, replied the Empress, that will never do; for first, said she, it will be difficult to get so many dead Bodies for their Vehicles, as to make up a whole Army, much more to make many Armies to fight with so many several Nations; nay, if this could be, yet it is not possible to get so many dead and undissolved Bodies in one Nation; and for transporting them out of other Nations, it would be a thing of great difficulty and improbability: But put the case, said she, all these difficulties could be overcome; yet there is one obstruction or hindrance which can no ways be avoided: For although those dead and undissolved Bodies did all die in one minute of time; yet before they could Rendezvouze, and be put into a posture of War, to make a great and formidable Army, they would stink and dissolve; and when they came to a fight, they would moulder into dust and ashes, and so leave the purer Immaterial Spirits naked: nay, were it also possible, that those dead bodies could be preserved from stinking and dissolving, yet the Souls of such Bodies would not suffer Immaterial Spirits to rule and order them, but they would enter and govern them themselves, as being the right owners thereof, which would produce a War between those Immaterial Souls, and the Immaterial Spirits in Material Bodies; all which would hinder them from doing any service in the actions of War, against the Enemies of my Native Countrey. You speak Reason, said the Emperor, and I wish with all my Soul I could advise any manner or way, that you might be able to assist it; but you having told me of your dear Platonick Friend the Duchess of Newcastle and of her good and profitable Counsels, I would desire you to send for her Soul, and conferr with her about this business.

The Empress was very glad of this motion of the Emperor, and immediately sent for the Soul of the said Duchess, which in a minute waited on her Majesty. Then the Empress declared to her the grievance and sadness of her mind, and how much she was troubled and afflicted at the News brought her by the Immaterial Spirits, desiring the Duchess, if possible, to assist her with the best Counsels she could, that she might shew the greatness of her love and affection which she bore to her Native Countrey. Whereupon the Duchess promised her Majesty to do what lay in her power; and since it was a business of great Importance, she desired some time to consider of it; for, said she, Great Affairs require deep Considerations; which the Empress willingly allowed her. And after the Duchess had considered some little time, she desired the Empress to send some of her Syrens or Mear men, to see what passages they could find out of the Blazing-World, into the World she came from; for, said she, if there be a passage for a Ship to come out of that World into this; then certainly there may also a Ship pass thorow the same passage out of this World into that. Hereupon the Mear- or Fish-men were sent out; who being many in number, employ'd all their industry, and did swim several ways; at last having found out the passage, they returned to the Empress, and told her, That as their Blazing World had but one Emperor, one Government, one Religion, and one Language, so there was but one Passage into that World, which was so little, that no Vessel bigger than a Packet-Boat could go thorow; neither was that Passage always open, but sometimes quite frozen up. At which Relation both the Empress and Duchess seemed somewhat troubled, fearing that this would perhaps be an hindrance or obstruction to their Design.

At last the Duchess desired the Empress to send for her Ship-wrights, and all her Architects, which were Giants; who being called, the Duchess told them how some in her own World had been so ingenious, as to contrive Ships that could swim under Water, and asked, Whether they could do the like? The Giants answered, They had never heard of that Invention; nevertheless, they would try what might be done by Art, and spare no labour or industry to find it out. In the mean time, while both the Empress and Duchess were in a serious Counsel, after many debates, the Duchess desired but a few Ships to transport some of the Bird- Worm- and Bear- men: Alas! said the Empress, What can such sorts of Men do in the other World? especially so few? They will be soon destroyed, for a Musket will destroy numbers of Birds in one shot. The Duchess said, I desire your Majesty will have but a little patience, and relie upon my advice, and you shall not fail to save your own Native Country, and in a manner become a Mistress of all that World you came from. The Empress, who loved the Duchess as her own Soul, did so; the Giants returned soon after, and told her Majesty, that they had found out the Art which the Duchess had mentioned, to make such Ships as could swim under water; which the Empress and Duchess were both very glad at, and when the Ships were made ready, the Duchess told the Empress, that it was requisite that her Majesty should go her self in body, as well as in Soul; but I, said she, can onely wait on your Majesty after a Spiritual manner, that is, with my Soul. Your Soul, said the Empress, shall live with my Soul, in my Body; for I shall onely desire your Counsel and Advice. Then said the Duchess, Your Majesty must command a great number of your Fish-men to wait on your Ships; for you know that your Ships are not made for Cannons, and therefore are no ways serviceable in War; for though by the help of your Engines, they can drive on, and your Fish-men may by the help of Chains and Ropes, draw them which way they will, to make them go on, or flye back, yet not so as to fight: And though your Ships be of Gold, and cannot be shot thorow, but onely bruised and battered; yet the Enemy will assault and enter them, and take them as Prizes; wherefore your Fishmen must do you Service instead of Cannons. But how, said the Empress, can the Fish-men do me service against an Enemy, without Cannons and all sorts of Arms? That is the reason, answered the Duchess, that I would have numbers of Fish-men, for they shall destroy all your Enemies Ships, before they can come near you. The Empress asked in what manner that could be? Thus, answered the Duchess: Your Majesty must send a number of Worm-men to the Burning-Mountains (for you have good store of them in the Blazing-World) which must get a great quantity of the Fire-stone, whose property, you know, is, that it burns so long as it is wet; and the Ships in the other World being all made of Wood, they may by that means set them all on fire; and if you can but destroy their Ships, and hinder their Navigation, you will be Mistress of all that World, by reason most parts thereof cannot live without Navigation. Besides, said she, the Fire-stone will serve you instead of Light or Torches; for you know, that the World you are going into, is dark at nights (especially if there be no Moon-shine, or if the Moon be overshadowed by Clouds) and not so full of Blazing-Stars as this World is, which make as great a light in the absence of the Sun, as the Sun doth when it is present; for that World hath but little blinking Stars, which make more shadows then light, and are onely able to draw up Vapours from the Earth, but not to rarifie or clarifie them, or to convert them into serene air.

This Advice of the Duchess was very much approved; and joyfully embraced by the Empress, who forthwith sent her Worm-men to get a good quantity of the mentioned Fire-stone. she also commanded numbers of Fish-men to wait on her under Water, and Bird-men to wait on her in the Air; and Bear- and Worm-men to wait on her in Ships, according to the Duchess's advice; and indeed the Bear-men were as serviceable to her, as the North Star; but the Bird-men would often rest themselves upon the Deck of the Ships; neither would the Empress, being of a sweet and noble Nature, suffer that they should tire or weary themselves by long flights; for though by Land they did often fly out of one Countrey into another, yet they did rest in some Woods, or on some Grounds, especially at night, when it was their sleeping time: And therefore the Empress was forced to take a great many Ships along with her, both for transporting those several sorts of her loyal and serviceable Subjects, and to carry provisions for them: Besides, she was so wearied with the Petitions of several others of her Subjects who desired to wait on her Majesty, that she could not possibly deny them all; for some would rather chuse to be drowned, then not tender their duty to her.

Thus after all things were made fit and ready, the Empress began her Journey; I cannot properly say, she set Sail, by reason in some Part, as in the passage between the two Worlds (which yet was but short) the Ships were drawn under water by the Fish-men with Golden Chains, so that they had no need of Sails there, nor of any other Arts, but onely to keep out water from entering into the Ships, and to give or make so much Air as would serve, for breath or respiration, those Land-Animals that were in the Ships; which the Giants had so Artificially contrived, that they which were therein, found no inconveniency at all: And after they had passed the Icy Sea, the Golden Ships appeared above Water, and so went on until they came near the Kingdom that was the Empress's Native Countrey; where the Bear-men through their Telescopes discovered a great number of Ships which had beset all that Kingdom, well rigg'd and mann'd.

The Empress before she came in sight of the Enemy, sent some of her Fish- and Bird-men to bring her intelligence of their Fleet; and hearing of their number, their station and posture, she gave order that when it was Night, her Bird-men should carry in their beeks some of the mentioned Fire-stones, with the tops thereof wetted; and the Fish-men should carry them likewise, and hold them out of the Water; for they were cut in the form of Torches or Candles, and being many thousands, made a terrible shew; for it appear'd as if all the Air and Sea had been of a Flaming-Fire; and all that were upon the Sea, or near it, did verily believe, the time of Judgment, or the Last Day was come, which made them all fall down, and Pray.

At the break of Day, the Empress commanded those Lights to be put out, and then the Naval Forces of the Enemy perceived nothing but a Number of Ships without Sails, Guns, Arms, and other Instruments of War; which Ships seemed to swim of themselves, without any help or assistance: which sight put them into a great amaze; neither could they perceive that those Ships were of Gold, by reason the Empress had caused them all to be coloured black, or with a dark colour; so that the natural colour of the Gold could not be perceived through the artificial colour of the paint, no not by the best Telescopes. All which put the Enemies Fleet into such a fright at night, and to such wonder in the morning, or at day-time, that they know not what to judg or make of them; for they know neither what Ships they were, nor what Party they belonged to, insomuch that they had no power to stir.

In the mean while, the Empress knowing the Colours of her own Country, sent a Letter to their General, and the rest of the chief Commanders, to let them know, that she was a great and powerful Princess, and came to assist them against their Enemies: wherefore she desired they should declare themselves, when they would have her help and assistance.

Hereupon a Councel was called, and the business debated; but there were so many cross and different Opinions, that they could not suddenly resolve what answer to send the Empress; at which she grew angry, insomuch that she resolved to return into her Blazing- World, without giving any assistance to her Countrymen: but the Duchess of Newcastle intreated her Majesty to abate her passion; for, said she, Great Councels are most commonly slow, because many men have many several Opinions: besides, every Councellor striving to be the wisest, makes long speeches, and raise many doubts, which cause retardments. If I had long-speeched Councellors, replied the Empress, I would hang them, by reason they give more Words, then Advice. The Duchess answered, That her Majesty should not be angry, but consider the differences of that and her Blazing-World; for, said she, they are not both alike; but there are grosser and duller understandings in this, than in the Blazing-World.

At last a Messenger came out, who returned the Empress thanks for her kind proffer, but desired withal, to know from whence she came, and how, and in what manner her assistance could be serviceable to them? The Empress answered, That she was not bound to tell them whence she came; but as for the manner of her assistance, I will appear, said she, to your Navy in a splendorous Light, surrounded with Fire. The Messenger asked at what time they should expect her coming? I'le be with you, answered the Empress, about one of the Clock at night. With this report the Messenger returned; which made both the poor Councellors and Sea-men much afraid; but yet they longed for the time to behold this strange sight.

The appointed hour being come, the Empress appear'd with Garments made of the Star-stone, and was born or supported above the Water, upon the Fish- mens heads and backs, so that she seemed to walk upon the face of the Water, and the Bird- and Fish-men carried the Fire-stone, lighted both in the Air, and above the Waters.

Which sight, when her Country-men perceived at a distance, their hearts began to tremble; but coming something nearer, she left her Torches, and appeared onely in her Garments of Light, like an Angel, or some Deity, and all kneeled down before her, and worshipped her with all submission and reverence: But the Empress would not come nearer than at such a distance where her voice might be generally heard, by reason she would not have that any of her Accoustrements should be perceived, but the splendor thereof; and when she was come so near that her voice could be heard and understood by all, she made this following Speech:

Dear Country-men, for so you are, although you know me not; I being a Native of this Kingdom, and hearing that most part of this World had resolved to make Warr against it, and sought to destroy it, at least to weaken its Naval Force and Power, have made a Voyage out of another World, to lend you my assistance against your Enemies. I come not to make bargains with you, or to regard my own Interest more than your Safety; but I intend to make you the most powerful Nation of this World, and therefore I have chosen rather to quit my own Tranquility, Riches and Pleasure, than suffer you to be ruined and destroyed. All the Return I desire, is but your grateful acknowledgment, and to declare my Power, Love and Loyalty to my Native Country: for, although I am now a Great and Absolute Princess, and Empress of a whole World, yet I acknowledg, that once I was a Subject of this Kingdom, which is but a small part of this World; and therefore I will have you undoubtedly believe, that I shall destroy all your Enemies before this following Night, I mean those which trouble you by Sea; and if you have any by Land, assure your self I shall also give you my assistance against them, and make you triumph over all that seek your Ruine and Destruction.

Upon this Declaration of the Empress, when both the General, and all the Commanders in their several Ships, had return'd their humble and hearty Thanks to Her Majesty for so great a favour to them, she took her leave, and departed to her own Ships. But, good Lord! what several Opinions and Judgments did this produce in the minds of her Country-men! some said she was an Angel; others, she was a sorceress; some believed her a Goddess; others said the Devil deluded them in the shape of a fine Lady.

The morning after, when the Navies were to fight, the Empress appear'd upon the face of the Waters, dress'd in her Imperial Robes, which were all of Diamonds and Carbuncles; in one hand she held a Buckler, made of one intire Carbuncle; and in the other hand a Spear of one intire Diamond; on her head she had a Cap of Diamonds, and just upon the top of the Crown, was a Starr made of the Starr-stone, mentioned heretofore; and a Half-Moon made of the same Stone, was placed on her forehead; all her other Garments were of several sorts of precious Jewels; and having given her Fish-men directions how to destroy the Enemies of her Native Country, she proceeded to effect her design. The Fish-men were to carry the Fire-stones in cases of Diamonds (for the Diamonds in the Blazing-World, are in splendor so far beyond the Diamonds of this World, as Peble-stones are to the best sort of this Worlds Diamonds) and to uncase or uncover those Fire-stones no sooner but when they were just under the Enemis Ships, or close at their sides, and then to wet them, and set their Ships on fire; which was no sooner done, but all the Enemie's Fleet was of a Flaming fire; and coming to the place where the Powder was, it streight blew them up; so that all the several Navies of the Enemies, were destroyed in a short time: which when her Countrymen did see, they all cried out with one voice, That she was an Angel sent from God to deliver them out of the hands of their Enemies: Neither would she return into the Blazing-World, until she had forced all the rest of the World to submit to that same Nation.

In the mean time, the General of all their Naval Forces, sent to their soveraign to acquaint him with their miraculous Delivery and Conquest, and with the Empress's design of making him the most powerful Monarch of all that World. After a short time, the Empress sent her self, to the soveraign of that Nation to know in what she could be serviceable to him; who returning her many thanks, both for her assistance against his Enemies, and her kind proffer to do him further service for the good and benefit of his Nations (for he was King over several Kingdoms) sent her word, that although she did partly destroy his Enemies by Sea, yet, they were so powerful, that they did hinder the Trade and Traffick of his Dominions. To which the Empress returned this answer, That she would burn and sink all those Ships that would not pay him Tribute; and forthwith sent to all the Neighbouring Nations, who had any Traffick by Sea, desiring them to pay Tribute to the King and soveraign of that Nation where she was born; But they denied it with great scorn. Whereupon, she immediately commanded her Fish-men, to destroy all strangers Ships that traffick'd on the Seas; which they did according to the Empress's Command; and when the Neighbouring Nations and Kingdoms perceived her power, they were so discomposed in their affairs and designs, that they knew not what to do: At last they sent to the Empress, and desired to treat with her, but could get no other conditions then to submit and pay Tribute to the said King and soveraign of her Native Country, otherwise, she was resolved to ruin all their Trade and Traffick by burning their Ships. Long was this Treaty, but in fine, they could obtain nothing, so that at last they were inforced to submit; by which the King of the mentioned Nations became absolute Master of the Seas, and consequently of that World; by reason, as I mentioned heretofore, the several Nations of that World could not well live without Traffick and Commerce, by Sea, as well as by Land.

But after a short time, those Neighbouring Nations finding themselves so much inslaved, that they were hardly able to peep out of their own Dominions without a chargeable Tribute, they all agreed to join again their Forces against the King and soveraign of the said Dominions; which when the Empress receiv'd notice of, she sent out her Fish-men to destroy, as they had done before, the remainder of all their Naval Power, by which they were soon forced again to submit, except some Nations which could live without Foreign Traffick, and some whose Trade and Traffick was meerly by Land; these would no ways be Tributary to the mentioned King. The Empress sent them word, That in case they did not submit to him, she intended to fire all their Towns and Cities, and reduce them by force, to what they would not yield with a good will. But they rejected and scorned her Majesties Message, which provoked her anger so much, that she resolved to send her Bird- and Worm men thither, with order to begin first with their smaller Towns, and set them on fire (for she was loath to make more spoil then she was forced to do) and if they remain'd still obstinate in their resolutions, to destroy also their greater Cities. The onely difficulty was, how to convey the Worm-men conveniently to those places; but they desired that her Majesty would but set them upon any part of the Earth of those Nations, and they could travel within the Earth as easily, and as nimbly as men upon the face of the Earth; which the Empress did according to their desire.

But before both the Bird- and Worm-men began their journey, the Empress commanded the Bearmen to view through their Telescopes what Towns and Cities those were that would not submit; and having a full information thereof, she instructed the Bird- and Bear-men what Towns they should begin withal; in the mean while she sent to all the Princes and soveraigns of those Nations, to let them know that she would give them a proof of her Power, and check their Obstinacies by burning some of their smaller Towns; and if they continued still in their Obstinate Resolutions, that she would convert their smaller Loss into a Total Ruin. she also commanded her Bird-men to make their flight at night, lest they be perceived. At last when both the Bird- and Worm-men came to the designed places, the Worm-men laid some Fire-stones under the Foundation of every House, and the Bird-men placed some at the tops of them, so that both by rain, and by some other moisture within the Earth, the stones could not fail of burning. The Bird-men in the mean time having learned some few words of their Language, told them, That the next time it did rain, their Towns would be all on fire; at which they were amaz'd to hear Men speak in the air; but withall they laughed when they heard them say that rain should fire their Towns; knowing that the effect of Water was to quench, not produce Fire.

At last a rain came, and upon a sudden all their Houses appeared of a flaming Fire; and the more Water there was poured on them, the more they did flame and burn; which struck such a Fright and Terror into all the Neighbouring Cities, Nations and Kingdoms, that for fear the like should happen to them, they and all the rest of the parts of that World, granted the Empress's desire, and submitted to the Monarch and sovereign of her Native Countrey, the King of Esfi; save one, which having seldom or never any rain, but onely dews, which would soon be spent in a great fire, slighted her Power: The Empress being desirous to make it stoop as well as the rest, knew that every year it was watered by a flowing Tide, which lasted some Weeks; and although their Houses stood high from the ground, yet they were built upon Supporters which were fixt into the ground. Wherefore she commanded both her Bird- and Worm-men to lay some of the Fire-stones at the bottom of those Supporters, and when the Tide came in, all their Houses were of a Fire, which did so rarifie the Water, that the Tide was soon turn'd into a Vapour, and this Vapour again into Air; which caused not onely a destruction of their Houses, but also a general barrenness over all their Countrey that year, and forced them to submit, as well as the rest of the World had done.

Thus the Empress did not onely save her Native Country, but made it the Absolute Monarchy of all that World; and both the effects of her Power and her Beauty, did kindle a great desire in all the greatest Princes to see her; who hearing that she was resolved to return into her own Blazing-World, they all entreated the favour, that they might wait on her Majesty before she went. The Empress sent word, That she should be glad to grant their Requests; but having no other place of Reception for them, she desired that they would be pleased to come into the open Seas with their Ships, and make a Circle of a pretty large compass, and then her own Ships should meet them, and close up the Circle, and she would present her self to the view of all those that came to see her: Which Answer was joyfully received by all the mentioned Princes, who came, some sooner, and some later, each according to the distance of his Countrey, and the length of the voyage. And being all met in the form and manner aforesaid, the Empress appeared upon the face of the Water in her Imperial Robes; in some part of her hair, near her face, she had placed some of the Starr- Stone, which added such a luster and glory to it, that it caused a great admiration in all that were present, who believed her to be some Celestial Creature, or rather an uncreated Goddess, and they all had a desire to worship her; for surely, said they, no mortal creature can have such a splendid and transcendent beauty, nor can any have so great a power as she has, to walk upon the Waters, and to destroy whatever she pleases, not onely whole Nations, but a whole World.

The Empress expressed to her own Countrymen, who were also her Interpreters to the rest of the Princes that were present, That she would give them an Entertainment at the darkest time of Night: Which being come, the Fire-Stones were lighted, which made both Air and Seas appear of a bright shining flame, insomuch that they put all Spectators into an extream fright, who verily believed they should all be destroyed; which the Empress perceiving, caused all the Lights of the Fire-Stones to be put out, and onely shewed her self in her Garments of Light. The Bird-men carried her upon their backs into the Air, and there she appear'd as glorious as the Sun. Then she was set down upon the Seas again, and presently there was heard the most melodious and sweetest Consort of Voices, as ever was heard out of the Seas, which was made by the Fish- men; this Consort was answered by another, made by the Bird-men in the Air, so that it seem'd as if Sea and Air had spoke, and answered each other by way of Singing-Dialogues, or after the manner of those Playes that are acted by singing-Voices.

But when it was upon break of day, the Empress ended her Entertainment, and at full day-light all the Princes perceived that she went into the Ship wherein the Prince and Monarch of her Native Country was, the King of Esfi, with whom she had several Conferences; and having assured Him of the readiness of her Assistance whensoever he required it, telling Him withal, That she wanted no Intelligence, she went forth again upon the Waters, and being in the midst of the Circle made by those Ships that were present, she desired them to draw somewhat nearer, that they might hear her speak; which being done, she declared her self in this following manner:

Great, Heroick, and Famous Monarchs, I come hither to assist the King of Esfi against his Enemies, He being unjustly assaulted by many several Nations, which would fain take away His Hereditary Rights, and Prerogatives of the Narrow Seas; at which Unjustice, Heaven was much displeased, and for the Injuries He received from His Enemies, rewarded Him with an Absolute Power, so that now he is become the Head-Monarch of all this World; which Power, though you may envy, yet you can no wayes hinder Him; for all those that endeavour to resist His Power, shall onely get Loss for their Labour, and no Victory for their Profit. Wherefore my advice to you all is, To pay him Tribute justly and truly, that you may live Peaceably and Happily, and be rewarded with the Blessings of Heaven: which I wish you from my Soul.

After the Empress had thus finished her Speech to the Princes of the several Nations of that World, she desired that in their Ships might fall back; which being done, her own Fleet came into the Circle, without any visible assistance of Sails or Tide; and her self being entred into her own Ship, the whole Fleet sunk immediately into the bottom of the Seas, and left all the Spectators in a deep amazement; neither would she suffer any of her Ships to come above the Waters, until she arrived into the Blazing-World.

In time of the Voyage, both the Empress's and the Duchess's Soul, were very gay and merry; and sometimes they would converse very seriously with each other. Amongst the rest of their discourses, the Duchess said, she wondred much at one thing, which was, That since her Majesty had found out a passage out of the Blazing-World, into the World she came from, she did not enrich that part of the World where she was born, at least her own Family, though she had enough to enrich the whole World. The Empress's Soul answered, That she loved her Native Countrey, and her own Family, as well as any Creature could do; and that this was the reason why she would not enrich them: for, said she, not only particular Families or Nations, but all the World, their Natures are such, that much Gold, and great store of Riches, makes them mad; insomuch as they endeavour to destroy each other for Gold or Riches sake. The reason thereof is, said the Duchess, that they have too little Gold and Riches, which makes them so eager to have it. No, replied the Empress's Soul, their particular Covetousness, is beyond all the wealth of the richest World, and the more Riches they have, the more Covetous they are; for their Covetousness is Infinite. But, said she, I would there could a Passage be found out of the Blazing-World, into the World whence you came, and I would willingly give you as much Riches as you desir'd. The Duchess's Soul gave her Majesty humble thanks for her great Favour; and told her, that she was not covetous, nor desir'd any more wealth than what her Lord and Husband had before the Civil-Warrs. Neither, said she, should I desire it for my own, but my Lord's Posterities sake. Well, said the Empress, I'le command my Fish-men to use all their Skill and Industry to find out a Passage into that World which your Lord and Husband is in. I do verily believe, answered the Duchess, that there will be no Passage found into that World; but if there were any, I should not Petition your Majesty for Gold and Jewels, but only for the Elixir that grows in the midst of the Golden Sands, for to preserve Life and Health; but without a Passage, it is impossible to carry away any of it: for, whatsoever is Material, cannot travel like Immaterial Beings, such as Souls and Spirits are. Neither do Souls require any such thing that might revive them, or prolong their Lives, by reason they are unalterable: for, were Souls like Bodies, then my Soul might have had the benefit of that Natural Elixir that grows in your Blazing-World. I wish earnestly, said the Empress, that a Passage might be found, and then both your Lord and your self, should neither want Wealth, nor Long-life: nay, I love you so well, that I would make you as Great and Powerful a Monarchess, as I am of the Blazing-World. The Duchess's Soul humbly thank'd her Majesty, and told her, That she acknowledged and esteemed her Love beyond all things that are in Nature.

After this Discourse, they had many other Conferences, which for brevity's sake I'le forbear to rehearse. At last, after several Questions which the Empress's Soul asked the Duchess, she desired to know the reason why she did take such delight, when she was joyned to her Body, in being singular both in Accoustrements, Behaviour, and Discourse? The Duchess's Soul answered, she confessed that it was extravagant, and beyond what was usual and ordinary: but yet her ambition being such, that she would not be like others in any thing, if it were possible, I endeavour, said she, to be as singular as I can: for, it argues but a mean Nature, to imitate others: and though I do not love to be imitated, if I can possibly avoid it; yet, rather than imitate others, I should chuse to be imitated by others: for my Nature is such, that I had rather appear worse in Singularity, than better in the Mode. If you were not a great Lady, replied the Empress, you would never pass in the World for a wise Lady: for, the World would say, your Singularities are Vanities. The Duchess's Soul answered, she did not at all regard the Censure of this, or any other Age, concerning Vanities: but, said she, neither this present, nor any of the future Ages, can or will truly say, that I am not Vertuous and Chast: for I am confident, all that were, or are acquainted with me, and all the Servants which ever I had, will or can upon their oaths declare my actions no otherwise than Vertuous: and certainly, there's none even of the meanest Degree, which have not their Spies and Witnesses, much more those of the Nobler sort, which seldom or never are without Attendants; so that their Faults (if they have any) will easily be known, and as easily be divulged. Wherefore, happy are those Natures that are Honest, Vertuous, and Noble; not only happy to themselves, but happy to their Families. But, said the Empress, if you glory so much in your Honesty and Vertue, how comes it that you plead for Dishonest and Wicked persons, in your Writings? The Duchess answered, It was only to shew her Wit, not her Nature.

At last the Empress arrived into the Blazing-world, and coming to her Imperial Palace, you may sooner imagine than expect that I should express the joy which the Emperor had at her safe return; for he loved her beyond his Soul; and there was no love lost, for the Empress equal'd his Affection with no less love to him. After the time of rejoicing with each other, the Duchess's Soul begg'd leave to return to her Noble Lord: But the Emperor desired, that before she departed, she would see how he had employed his time in the Empress's absence; for he had built Stables and Riding-Houses, and desired to have Horses of Manage, such as, according to the Empress's Relation, the Duke of Newcastlehad: The Emperor enquired of the Duchess, the Form and Structure of her Lord and Husband's Stables and Riding-House. The Duchess answer'd his Majesty, That they were but plain and ordinary; but, said she, had my Lord Wealth, I am sure he would not spare it, in rendring his Buildings as Noble as could be made. Hereupon the Emperor shewed the Duchess the Stables he had built, which were most stately and magnificent; among the rest, there was one double Stable that held a Hundred Horses on a side, the main Building was of Gold, lined with several sorts of precious Materials; the Roof was Arched with Agats, the sides of the Walls were lined with Cornelian, the Floor was paved with Amber, the Mangers were Mother of Pearl; the Pillars, as also the middle Isle or Walk of the Stables, were of Crystal; the Front and Gate was of Turquois, most neatly cut and carved. The Riding-House was lined with Saphirs, Topases, and the like; the Floor was all of Golden-Sand so finely sifted, that it was extreamly soft, and not in the least hurtful to the Horses feet, and the Door and Frontispiece was of Emeralds curiously carved.

After the view of these Glorious and Magnificent Buildings, which the Duchess's Soul was much delighted withall, she resolved to take her leave; but the Emperor desired her to stay yet some short time more, for they both loved her company so well, that they were unwilling to have her depart so soon: several Conferences and Discourses pass'd between them; amongst the rest, the Emperor desir'd her advice how to set up a Theatre for Plays. The Duchess confessed her Ignorance in this Art, telling his Majesty that she knew nothing of erecting Theatres or Scenes, but what she had by an Immaterial Observation, when she was with the Empress's Soul in the chief City of E. Entring into one of their Theatres, whereof the Empress could give as much account to his Majesty, as her self. But both the Emperor and the Empress told the Duchess, That she could give directions how to make Plays. The Duchess answered, That she had as little skill to form a Play after the Mode, as she had to paint or make a Scene for shew. But you have made Plays, replied the Empress: Yes, answered the Duchess, I intended them for Plays; but the Wits of these present times condemned them as uncapable of being represented or acted, because they were not made up according to the Rules of Art; though I dare say, That the Descriptions are as good as any they have writ. The Emperor asked, Whether the Property of Plays were not to describe the several Humours, Actions and Fortunes of Mankind? 'Tis so, answered the Duchess. Why then, replied the Emperor, the natural Humours, Actions and Fortunes of Mankind, are not done by the Rules of Art: But, said the Duchess, it is the Art and Method of our Wits to despise all Descriptions of Wit, Humour, Actions and Fortunes that are without such Artificial Rules. The Emperor asked, Are those good Plays that are made so Methodically and Artificially? The Duchess answer'd, They were Good according to the Judgment of the Age, or Mode of the Nation, but not according to her Judgment: for truly, said she, in my Opinion, their Plays will prove a Nursery of whining Lovers, and not an Academy or School for Wise, Witty, Noble and well-behaved men. But I, replied the Emperor, desire such a Theatre as may make wise Men; and will have such Descriptions as are Natural, not Artificial. If your Majesty be of that Opinion, said the Duchess's Soul, then my Playes may be acted in your Blazing- World, when they cannot be acted in the Blinking-World of Wit; and the next time I come to visit your Majesty, I shall endeavour to order your Majesty's Theatre, to present such Playes as my Wit is capable to make. Then the Empress told the Duchess, That she loved a foolish Farse added to a wise Play. The Duchess answered, That no World in Nature had fitter Creatures for it than the Blazing-World: for, said she, the Lowse- men, the Bird-men, the Spider- and Fox-men, the Ape-men and Satyrs appear in a Farse extraordinary pleasant.

Hereupon both the Emperor and Empress intreated the Duchess's Soul to stay so long with them, till she had ordered her Theatre, and made Playes and Farses fit for them; for they onely wanted that sort of Recreation: but the Duchess's Soul begg'd their Majesties to give her leave to go into her Native World; for she long'd to be with her dear Lord and Husband, promising, that after a short time she would return again. Which being granted, though with much difficulty, she took her leave with all Civility and Respect, and so departed from their Majesties.

After the Duchess's return into her own body, she entertained her Lord (when he was pleased to hear such kind of Discourses) with Foreign Relations; but he was never displeased to hear of the Empress's kind Commendations, and of the Characters she was pleased to give of him to the Emperor. Amongst other Relations, she told him all what had past between the Empress, and the several Monarchs of that World whither she went with the Empress; and how she had subdued them to pay Tribute and Homage to the Monarch of that Nation or Kingdom to which she owed both her Birth and Education. she also related to her Lord what Magnificent Stables and Riding-Houses the Emperor had built, and what fine Horses were in the Blazing-world, of several shapes and sizes, and how exact their shapes were in each sort, and of many various Colours, and fine Marks, as if they had been painted by Art, with such Coats or Skins, that they had a far greater gloss and smoothness than Satin; and were there but a passage out of the Blazingworld into this, said she, you should not onely have some of those Horses, but such Materials as the Emperor has, to build your Stables and Riding-Houses withall; and so much Gold, that I should never repine at your Noble and Generous Gifts. The Duke smilingly answered her, That he was sorry there was no Passage between those two Worlds; but, said he, I have always found an Obstruction to my Good Fortunes.

One time the Duchess chanced to discourse with some of her acquaintance, of the Empress of the Blazing-world, who asked her what Pastimes and Recreations her Majesty did most delight in? The Duchess answered, That she spent most of her time in the study of Natural Causes and Effects, which was her chief delight and pastime; and that she loved to discourse sometimes with the most Learned persons of that World: And to please the Emperor and his Nobles, who were all of the Royal Race, she went often abroad to take the air, but seldom in the day-time, always at night, if it might be called Night; for, said she, the Nights there, are as light as Days, by reason of the numerous Blazing-Starrs, which are very splendorous, onely their Light is whiter than the Sun's Light; and as the Sun's Light is hot, so their Light is cool; not so cool as our twinkling Starr-light, nor is their Sun-light so hot as ours, but more rate: And that part of the Blazing-world where the Empress resides, is always clear, and never subject to any Storms, Tempests, Fogs or Mists, but has onely refreshing-Dews that nourish the Earth: The air of it is sweet and temperate, and, as I said before, as much light in the Sun's absence, as in its presence, which makes that time we call Night, more pleasant there than the Day: And sometimes the Empress goes abroad by Water in Barges, sometimes by Land in Chariots, and sometimes on Horse-back; her Royal Chariots are very Glorious, the Body is one intire green Diamond; the four small Pillars that bear up the Top-cover, are four white Diamonds, cut in the form thereof; the top or roof of the Chariot, is one intire blew Diamond, and at the four corners are great springs of Rubies; the Seat is made of Cloth of Gold, stuffed with Ambergreece beaten small: the Chariot is drawn by Twelve Unicorns, whose Trappings are all Chains of Pearl; and as for her Barges, they are onely of Gold. Her Guard of State (for she needs none for security, there being no Rebels or Enemies) consists of Giants, but they seldom wait on their Majesties abroad, because their extraordinary height and bigness does hinder their prospect. Her Entertainment when she is upon the Water, is the Musick of the Fish- and Bird-men; and by Land are Horse and Foot-matches; for the Empress takes much delight in making Race-matches with the Emperor, and the Nobility; some Races are between the Fox- and Ape-men, which sometimes the Satyrs strive to outrun; and some are between the Spider-men and Licemen. Also there are several Flight-matches, between the several sorts of Bird-men, and the several sorts of Fly-men; and swimming-matches, between the several sorts of Fish-men. The Emperor, Empress, and their Nobles, take also great delight to have Collations; for in the Blazing-world, there are most delicious Fruits of all sorts, and some such as in this World were never seen nor tasted; for there are most tempting sorts of Fruit: After their Collations are ended, they Dance; and if they be upon the Water, they dance upon the Water, there lying so many Fish-men so close and thick together, as they can dance very evenly and easily upon their backs, and need not fear drowning. Their Musick, both Vocal and Instrumental, is according to their several places: Upon the Water, it is of Water-Instruments, as shells filled with Water, and so moved by Art, which is a very sweet and delightful harmony; and those Dances which they dance upon the Water, are, for the most part, such as we in this World call swimming- Dances, where they do not lift up their feet high: In Lawns, or upon Plains, they have Wind-Instruments, but much better than those in our World: And when they dance in the Woods, they have Horn-Instruments, which although they are of a sort of Wind-Instruments, yet they are of another Fashion than the former: In their Houses they have such Instruments as are somewhat like our Viols, Violins, Theorboes, Lutes, Citherins, Gittars, Harpsichords, and the like; but yet so far beyond them, that the difference cannot well be exprest; and as their places of Dancing, and their Musick is different, so is their manner or way of Dancing. In these and the like Recreations, the Emperor, Empress, and the Nobility pass their time.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/c/cavendish/margaret/blazing_world/chapter2.html

Last updated Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 14:07