Chapter IV The pilgrim is bridled and bespectacled

Hearing this, I was horrified at the thought of what fine companions I had acquired. One of them (I mused) had made mention of a bridle. The other was named Delusion. He spoke of his Queen as Vanity (although that seemed to have been an unguarded slip of the tongue). What next?

2 Accordingly, as I walked on in silence, with downcast eyes and unwilling, halting steps, Searchall exclaimed: “How now, you weathercock, I suspect you are minded to turn back!” Before I had time to answer, he threw a bridle over my neck, the bit of which slipped quickly into my mouth. He remarked at the same time: “Now you will be more willing to persevere in what you have begun.”

The bridle of vanity

3 I examined the bridle and found it was made of the headstall of Curiosity, the bit having been forged of the steel of Tenacity in undertakings. Then I understood that I should no longer journey through the world of my own will, as I had intended, but should be forcibly driven on by my mind’s curiosity and my insatiable thirst for knowledge.

4 Just then Delusion on the other side remarked: “For my part, I present you with these glasses through which you must examine the world.” After he fixed the glasses on my nose, everything immediately assumed a changed aspect. For they had the power (as I have tested many times afterwards) of making distant objecdts appear near and the near distant, of the small large and the large small, of the ugly things beautiful and the beautiful ugly, of the black white and the white black, and so on. Hence, I realized that it was not without good reason that he was called Delusion, since he could not make and impose such glasses upon mankind.

Ground from assumption and habit

5 As I learned later, the lenses were ground from the glass of Assumption, and were set in horn-rims called Habit.

6 Fortunately, he placed them askew on my nose, so that they did not fit me properly and did not prevent me, when I raised my head, from looking under them and thus seeing things in their proper, natural aspect. This gladdened me, and I thought to myself: even though you stop my mouth and cover my eyes, yet I trust God that you will not be able to restrain my reason and my mind. I will go and see what kind of world this is that my Lady Vanity desires us to examine in her own fashion, but forbids us to look at with our own eyes!