...Then I saw in my dream, that when they were got out of the wilderness,
they presently saw a town before them, and the name of that town is Vanity;
and at the town there is a fair kept, called Vanity Fair: it is kept all the
year long. it beareth the name of Vanity Fair because the town where it is
kept is lighter than vanity; and, also because all that is there sold, or
that cometh thither, is vanity. As is the saying of the wise, all that
cometh is vanity.
This fair is no new-erected business, but a thing of ancient standing; I
will shew you the original of it.
Almost five thousand years agone, there were pilgrims walking to the
Celestial City, as these two honest persons are: and Beelzebub, Apollyon,
and Legion, with their companions, perceiving by the path that the pilgrims
made, that their way to the city lay through this town of Vanity, they
contrived here to set up a fair; a fair wherein, should be sold all sorts of
vanity, and that it should last all the year long: therefore at this fair
are all such merchandise sold, as houses, lands, trades, places, honours,
preferments, titles, countries, kingdoms, lusts, pleasures, and delights of
all sorts, as whores, bawds, wives, husbands, children, masters, servants,
lives, blood, bodies, souls, silver, gold, pearls, precious stones, and what
And, moreover, at this fair there is at all times to be seen juggling
cheats, games, plays, fools, apes, knaves, and rogues, and that of every
Here are to be seen, too, and that for nothing, thefts, murders,
adulteries, false swearers, and that of a bloodred colour.
And as in other fairs of less moment, there are the several rows and
streets, under their proper names, where such and such wares are vended; so
here likewise you have the proper places, rows, streets, (viz; countries and
kingdoms,) where the wares of this fair are soonest to be found. Here is the
Britain Row, the French Row, the Italian Row, the Spanish Row, the German
Row, where several sorts of vanities are to be sold. But, as in other fairs,
some one commodity is as the chief of all the fair, so the ware of Rome and
her merchandise is greatly promoted in this fair; only our English nation,
with some others, have taken a dislike thereat.
Now, as I said, the way to the Celestial City lies just through this town
where this lusty fair is kept; and he that will go to the city, and yet not
go through this town, must needs go out of the world. The Prince of princes
himself, when here, went through this town to his own country, and that upon
a fair day too; yea, and as I think, it was Beelzebub, the chief lord of
this fair, that invited him to buy of his vanities; yea, would have made him
lord of the fair, would he but have done him reverence as he went through
the town. Yea, because he was such a person of honour, Beelzebub had him
from street to street, and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world in a
little time, that he might, if possible, allure the Blessed One to cheapen
and buy some of his vanities; but he had no mind to the merchandise, and
therefore left the town, without laying out so much as one farthing upon
these vanities. This fair, therefore, is an ancient thing, of long standing,
and a very great fair. Now these pilgrims, as I said, must needs go through
this fair. Well, so they did: but, behold, even as they entered into the
fair, all the people in the fair were moved, and the town itself as it were
in a hubbub about them; and that for several reasons: for --
First, The pilgrims were clothed with such kind of raiment as was diverse
from the raiment of any that traded in that fair. The people, therefore, of
the fair, made a great gazing upon them: some said they were fools, some
they were bedlams, and some they are outlandish men.
Secondly, And as they wondered at their apparel, so they did likewise at
their speech; for few could understand what they said; they naturally spoke
the language of Canaan, but they that kept the fair were the men of this
world; so that, from one end of the fair to the other, they seemed
barbarians each to the other.
Thirdly, But that which did not a little amuse the merchandisers was,
that these pilgrims set very light by all their wares; they cared not so
much as to look upon them; and if they called upon them to buy, they would
put their fingers in their ears, and cry, Turn away mine eyes from beholding
vanity, and look upwards, signifying that their trade and traffic was in
One chanced mockingly, beholding the carriage of the men, to say unto
them, What will ye buy? But they, looking gravely upon him, answered, We buy
the truth. At that there was an occasion taken to despise the men the more;
some mocking, some taunting, some speaking reproachfully, and some calling
upon others to smite them. At last things came to a hubbub and great stir in
the fair, insomuch that all order was confounded. Now was word presently
brought to the great one of the fair, who quickly came down, and deputed
some of his most trusty friends to take these men into examination, about
whom the fair was almost overturned. So the men were brought to examination;
and they that sat upon them, asked them whence they came, whither they went,
and what they did there, in such an unusual garb? The men told them that
they were pilgrims and strangers in the world, and that they were going to
their own country, which was the heavenly Jerusalem, and that they had given
no occasion to the men of the town, nor yet to the merchandisers, thus to
abuse them, and to let them in their journey, except it was for that, when
one asked them what they would buy, they said they would buy the truth. But
they that were appointed to examine them did not believe them to be any
other than bedlams and mad, or else such as came to put all things into a
confusion in the fair. Therefore they took them and beat them, and besmeared
them with dirt, and then put them into the cage, that they might be made a
spectacle to all the men of the fair.
- Behold Vanity Fair! the pilgrims there
Are chain'd and stand beside:
Even so it was our Lord pass'd here,
And on Mount Calvary died.
There, therefore, they lay for some time, and were made the objects of
any man's sport, or malice, or revenge, the great one of the fair laughing
still at all that befell them. But the men being patient, and not rendering
railing for railing, but contrariwise, blessing, and giving good words for
bad, and kindness for injuries done, some men in the fair that were more
observing, and less prejudiced than the rest, began to check and blame the
baser sort for their continual abuses done by them to the men; they,
therefore, in angry manner, let fly at them again, counting them as bad as
the men in the cage, and telling them that they seemed confederates, and
should be made partakers of their misfortunes. The other replied that, for
aught they could see, the men were quiet, and sober, and intended nobody any
harm; and that there were many that traded in their fair that were more
worthy to be put into the cage, yea, and pillory too, than were the men they
had abused. Thus, after divers words had passed on both sides, the men
behaving themselves all the while very wisely and soberly before them, they
fell to some blows among themselves, and did harm one to another. Then were
these two poor men brought before their examiners again, and there charged
as being guilty of the late hubbub that had been in the fair. So they beat
them pitifully, and hanged irons upon them, and led them in chains up and
down the fair, for an example and a terror to others, lest any should speak
in their behalf, or join themselves unto them. But Christian and Faithful
behaved themselves yet more wisely, and received the ignominy and shame that
was cast upon them, with so much meekness and patience, that it won to their
side, though but few in comparison of the rest, several of the men in the
fair. This put the other party yet into greater rage, insomuch that they
concluded the death of these two men. Wherefore they threatened, that the
cage nor irons should serve their turn, but that they should die, for the
abuse they had done, and for deluding the men of the fair.
Then were they remanded to the cage again, until further order should be
taken with them. So they put them in, and made their feet fast in the
Here, therefore, they called again to mind what they had heard from their
faithful friend Evangelist, and were the more confirmed in their way and
sufferings by what he told them would happen to them. They also now
comforted each other, that whose lot it was to suffer, even he should have
the best of it; therefore each man secretly wished that he might have that
preferment: but committing themselves to the all-wise disposal of Him that
ruleth all things, with much content, they abode in the condition in which
they were, until they should be otherwise disposed of.
Then a convenient time being appointed, they brought them forth to their
trial, in order to their condemnation. When the time was come, they were
brought before their enemies and arraigned. The judge's name was Lord
Hategood. Their indictment was one and the same in substance, though
somewhat varying in form, the contents whereof were this: --
'That they were enemies to and disturbers of their trade; that they had
made commotions and divisions in the town, and had won a party to their own
most dangerous opinions, in contempt of the law of their prince.'
- Now, Faithful, play the man, speak for thy God:
Fear not the wickeds' malice; nor their rod!
Speak boldly, man, the truth is on thy side:
Die for it, and to life in triumph ride.
Then Faithful began to answer, that he had only set himself against that
which hath set itself against Him that is higher than the highest. And, said
he, as for disturbance, I make none, being myself a man of peace; the
parties that were won to us, were won by beholding our truth and innocence,
and they are only turned from the worse to the better. And as to the king
you talk of, since he is Beelzebub, the enemy of our Lord, I defy him and
all his angels.
Then proclamation was made, that they that had aught to say for their
lord the king against the prisoner at the bar, should forthwith appear and
give in their evidence. So there came in three witnesses, to wit, Envy,
Superstition, and Pickthank. They were then asked if they knew the prisoner
at the bar; and what they had to say for their lord the king against him.
Then stood forth Envy, and said to this effect: My Lord, I have known
this man a long time, and will attest upon my oath before this honourable
bench that he is --
Judge. Hold! Give him his oath. (So they sware him.) Then he said --
Envy. My Lord, this man, notwithstanding his plausible name, is one of
the vilest men in our country. He neither regardeth prince nor people, law
nor custom; but doth all that he can to possess all men with certain of his
disloyal notions, which he in the general calls principles of faith and
holiness. And, in particular, I heard him once myself affirm that
Christianity and the customs of our town of Vanity were diametrically
opposite, and could not be reconciled. By which saying, my Lord, he doth at
once not only condemn all our laudable doings, but us in the doing of them.
Judge. Then did the Judge say to him, Hast thou any more to say?
Envy. My Lord, I could say much more, only I would not be tedious to the
court. Yet, if need be, when the other gentlemen have given in their
evidence, rather than anything shall be wanting that will despatch him, I
will enlarge my testimony against him. So he was bid to stand by.
Then they called Superstition, and bid him look upon the prisoner. They
also asked, what he could say for their lord the king against him. Then they
sware him; so he began.
Super. My Lord, I have no great acquaintance with this man, nor do I
desire to have further knowledge of him; however, this I know, that he is a
very pestilent fellow, from some discourse that, the other day, I had with
him in this town; for then, talking with him, I heard him say, that our
religion was naught, and such by which a man could by no means please God.
Which sayings of his, my Lord, your Lordship very well knows, what
necessarily thence will follow, to wit, that we do still worship in vain,
are yet in our sins, and finally shall be damned; and this is that which I
have to say.
Then was Pickthank sworn, and bid say what he knew, in behalf of their
lord the king, against the prisoner at the bar.
Pick. My Lord, and you gentlemen all, This fellow I have known of a long
time, and have heard him speak things that ought not to be spoke; for he
hath railed on our noble prince Beelzebub, and hath spoken contemptibly of
his honourable friends, whose names are the Lord Old Man, the Lord Carnal
Delight, the Lord Luxurious, the Lord Desire of Vain Glory, my old Lord
Lechery, Sir Having Greedy, with all the rest of our nobility; and he hath
said, moreover, That if all men were of his mind, if possible, there is not
one of these noblemen should have any longer a being in this town. Besides,
he hath not been afraid to rail on you, my Lord, who are now appointed to be
his judge, calling you an ungodly villain, with many other such like
vilifying terms, with which he hath bespattered most of the gentry of our
When this Pickthank had told his tale, the Judge directed his speech to
the prisoner at the bar, saying, Thou runagate, heretic, and traitor, hast
thou heard what these honest gentlemen have witnessed against thee?
Faith. May I speak a few words in my own defence?
Judge. Sirrah! sirrah! thou deservest to live no longer, but to be slain
immediately upon the place; yet, that all men may see our gentleness towards
thee, let us hear what thou, vile runagate, hast to say.
- 1. I say, then, in answer to what Mr. Envy hath spoken, I never said
aught but this, That what rule, or laws, or customs, or people, were
flat against the Word of God, are diametrically opposite to
Christianity. If I have said amiss in this, convince me of my error, and
I am ready here before you to make my recantation.
- 2. As to the second, to wit, Mr. Superstition, and his charge
against me, I said only this, That in the worship of God there is
required a Divine faith; but there can be no Divine faith without a
Divine revelation of the will of God. Therefore, whatever is thrust into
the worship of God that is not agreeable to Divine revelation, cannot be
done but by a human faith, which faith will not be profitable to eternal
- 3. As to what Mr. Pickthank hath said, I say (avoiding terms, as
that I am said to rail, and the like) that the prince of this town, with
all the rabblement, his attendants, by this gentleman named, are more
fit for a being in hell, than in this town and country: and so, the Lord
have mercy upon me!
Then the Judge called to the jury, (who all this while stood by, to hear
and observe:) Gentlemen of the jury, you see this man about whom so great an
uproar hath been made in this town. You have also heard what these worthy
gentlemen have witnessed against him. Also you have heard his reply and
confession. It lieth now in your breasts to hang him or save his life; but
yet I think meet to instruct you into our law.
There was an Act made in the days of Pharaoh the Great, servant to our
prince, that lest those of a contrary religion should multiply and grow too
strong for him, their males should be thrown into the river. There was also
an Act made in the days of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, another of his
servants, that whosoever would not fall down and worship his golden image,
should be thrown into a fiery furnace. There was also an Act made in the
days of Darius, that whoso, for some time, called upon any god but him,
should be cast into the lions' den. Now the substance of these laws this
rebel has broken, not only in thought, (which is not to be borne,) but also
in word and deed, which must therefore needs be intolerable.
For that of Pharaoh, his law was made upon a supposition, to prevent
mischief, no crime being yet apparent; but here is a crime apparent. For the
second and third, you see he disputeth against our religion; and for the
treason he hath confessed, he deserveth to die the death.
Then went the jury out, whose names were, Mr. Blind-man, Mr. No-good, Mr.
Malice, Mr. Love-lust, Mr. Live-loose, Mr. Heady, Mr. High-mind, Mr. Enmity,
Mr. Liar, Mr. Cruelty, Mr. Hate-light, and Mr. Implacable; who every one
gave in his private verdict against him among themselves, and afterwards
unanimously concluded to bring him in guilty before the Judge. And first,
among themselves, Mr. Blind-man, the foreman, said, I see clearly that this
man is a heretic. Then said Mr. No-good, Away with such a fellow from the
earth. Ay, said Mr. Malice, for I hate the very looks of him. Then said Mr.
Love-lust, I could never endure him. Nor I, said Mr. Live-loose, for he
would always be condemning my way. Hang him, hang him, said Mr. Heady. A
sorry scrub, said Mr. High-mind. My heart riseth against him, said Mr.
Enmity. He is a rogue, said Mr. Liar. Hanging is too good for him, said Mr.
Let us despatch him out of the way, said Mr. Hate-light. Then said Mr.
Implacable, Might I have all the world given me, I could not be reconciled
to him; therefore, let us forthwith bring him in guilty of death. And so
they did; therefore he was presently condemned to be had from the place
where he was, to the place from whence he came, and there to be put to the
most cruel death that could be invented.
They, therefore, brought him out, to do with him according to their law;
and, first, they scourged him, then they buffeted him, then they lanced his
flesh with knives; after that, they stoned him with stones, then pricked him
with their swords; and, last of all, they burned him to ashes at the stake.
Thus came Faithful to his end.
Now I saw that there stood behind the multitude a chariot and a couple of
horses, waiting for Faithful, who (so soon as his adversaries had despatched
him) was taken up into it, and straightway was carried up through the
clouds, with sound of trumpet, the nearest way to the Celestial Gate.
- Brave Faithful, bravely done in word and deed;
Judge, witnesses, and jury have, instead
Of overcoming thee, but shewn their rage:
When they are dead, thou'lt live from age to age.
But as for Christian, he had some respite, and was remanded back to
prison. So he there remained for a space; but He that overrules all things,
having the power of their rage in his own hand, so wrought it about, that
Christian for that time escaped them, and went his way; and as he went, he
sang, saying --
- Well, Faithful, thou hast faithfully profest
Unto thy Lord; with whom thou shalt be blest,
When faithless ones, with all their vain delights,
Are crying out under their hellish plights:
Sing, Faithful, sing, and let thy name survive;
For though they kill'd thee, thou art yet alive!
Now I saw in my dream, that Christian went not forth alone, for there was
one whose name was Hopeful (being made so by the beholding of Christian and
Faithful in their words and behaviour, in their sufferings at the fair,) who
joined himself unto him, and, entering into a brotherly covenant, told him
that he would be his companion. Thus, one died to bear testimony to the
truth, and another rises out of his ashes, to be a companion with Christian
in his pilgrimage. This Hopeful also told Christian, that there were many
more of the men in the fair, that would take their time and follow after...