[21] the whole prospect seemed in motion and as it fleeted away I followed till impelled by the swiftness of my steps I shot headlong from the edge of the Mountain and kept falling, continually falling till lost in immensity. The Horror and amazement of my Descent dissolved the Dream. I started up, stared wildly around and when sense and recollection returned, found myself extended in the same Hall, by the same pillars as before, the Fire expiring and its embers just glooming thro’ the shade. — Such are my phantastic Visions and such the flights of my fancy when Reason has abandoned it. The vast excursions it had made the variety and rapid succession of Images and all the agitation of my slumber fatigued instead of refreshing me and desirious of more sound repose I stole silently to Bed. The Storms and driving Showers soon hushed me to sleep and I dreamt no more. — Thus you see my Reason or my fancy is continually employed, when abandoned by the one I obey the other. These two powers are my Sun and Moon. The first dispels vapours and clears up the face of things, the other throws over all Nature a dim Haze and may be styled the Queen of Delusions. I should be too happy could I remain all Winter under the dominion of these sovereigns, lapt in the silence and solitude, they both so [22] peculiarly esteem; but I must return again to London again be teized with Visits and dull impertinent society again suffer the encroachments of Fashion and crouch beneath the Influence of solemn Idleness and approved Dissipation. — But no this is too terrifying a prospect. I will break my shackles however splendid and maintain my Allegiance. I will seclude myself if possible from the World, in the midst of its Empire and converse many hours every day with you, Moisasour and Nouronihar. — I am determin’d to enjoy my Dreams my phantasies and all my singularity, however irksome and discordant to the Worldlings around. In spite of them I will be happy, will employ myself in trifles, according to their estimation and instead of making myself master of the present political state of America, instead of forming wise plans for its future subjection or calculating when Spain will follow her Neighbor’s example I will read, talk and dream of the Yncas of their gentle empire, the solemn worship of the Sun, the charms of Quito and the majesty of the Andes. — The appearance of Ontario and Niagara, when first discovered, the Customs of Virginia, its lovely savannahs, its Idol Kiwasa, the Tombs of its Monarchs shall engage my attention. It shall dwell also [23] on Florida and the Temple of Tolomeco; but it shall never be turned towards a Philadelphian Meeting house. It shall sometimes be occupied with the expeditions of Columbus Cabral and Soto but never with those of General Gage. I scarce ever reflect at present on the state of Affairs either in England or America If I did, what would I encounter but disgust and Indignations. Let me not conclude with these disagreeable words, let me rather finish by expressing my Peace and Contentment here, my tranquil occupations and undisturbed Reveries, my ardent wishes and desires of Futurity. Farewell Would, that you could disengage yourself from the little Bustles and paltry concerns of this poor World like
William Beckford

Fonthill March 1780

I was traversing a Wood in the Regions of perpetual Spring when a gate shook a little Cloud of blossoms from the branches so beautiful and fragrant that I collected them and to my surprize found your Letter almost concealed by Rose leaves. – The Genius of some eastern Wind had whafted it along. — [24] Immediately I laid myself down beneath a Tall Acacia read its poetic contents with rapture. — How pure! How truly oriental! Indeed I believed it dated from Sanaa or Hism al mowâhab the Castle of Delights. This must be an Arabian Composition, said I within myself, it breathes all the odours of that happy Country and I inhale them tho’ surrounded by perfumes; for you must know I have left Fonthill sometime and have been transported to Ginnistan . —
One Evening as I took my solitary Ramble over the Hills, sad and pensive, mourning the absence of those I love, the Sunset grew inconceivably splendid — the Caves of the Sleepers were illumated with the liveliest Red I ever beheld and the Country far around partook of the refulgence. – Not long could I contemplate the effect of this sudden Gleam; for the Clouds descending encircled the Spot on which I stood. — Judge of my astonishment and whether it decreased when a melodious Voice [25] whisper’d these words in my Ears. — “Consider how fleeting is the breath of Life! — why then must that fleeting breath be wasted in vain Lamentations. — Thou art approaching O Mortal each Hour to the fatal Boundary – beyond which are Regions whose mysteries it is not lawful to reveal. Till then bathe thy Spirits in delight and follow us to our Meads on the Summit of Amara where thou may’st sleep undisturbed on the freshest Herbage till Winter is pass’d away”. —
Can you suppose I rejected so benign a proffer — Without hesitation I committed myself to the warm Vapour that drawing nearer and nearer gilt the Slopes of the Hills and investing me bore me I know not how into the Air. — For several minutes I seemed ascending amongst Clouds of ruddy glowing [26] Colours which concealed every other object from my sight. — All was stilness in this aerial journey except when the soft Voice I had heard before sung that verse of Mesihi’s you have known me so frequently admire. –
Ysh u mush it Kimgicher Kalmay bueiami behar
Be gay – too soon the flowers of Spring will fade
This gentle admonition was repeated to me again and again; but with such infinitely varied cadence and harmonious modulation that I was griev’d when it sounded no more. — Just as it ceased the Vapours dissipated I found myself in the same delicious Landscape to which I was convey’d last Winter in a Dream. — Perhaps you recollect the description I sent you of it when awaken’d from my Trance and in that case another will be tedious. – It is sufficient for me to tell you that I pass my Time in Slumbers truly fortunate, since during their influence I forget that cruel seperation which so lately filled my Eyes with Tears. — None interrupt my repose, no other noise is audible in this [27] calm retreat but the lapse of distant Rills trickling down its craggy promontories. — Sometimes methinks I can distinguish the voices of those invisible Beings who brought me hither amongst the whispers of the Groves; but of this I am not quite certain so faint is their Melody. Every thing in my present visionary state is undecided nor can I properly be said to hear distinctly or behold with clearness. — Sounds reach me in confused but soothing murmurs and I survey the surrounding objects with Eyes half closed. — To Day however the Charm is somewhat broken and rising from my verdant Couch I crossed the Lawn which forms the summit of Amara. A Brook gurgling over some shining pebbles invited me to drink by its uncommon clearness. — Never did I taste such limpid Waters! the refreshment they gave my whole frame cannot be described. – In these moments I was more than Mortal and fancied I had drank at the cælestial Fountain. — As I was going once more to dip my hand into the Stream, I [28] seemed to hear the voice of my invisible Protectors in the impending Grove. Instantly I ran to the Spot from whence methought these Sounds proceeded but alas – a deep silence again prevail’d save when the Wind blew gently one bough against another. — At this Instant a sudden rustling seiz’d the Leaves, the blossoms fell and amongst them I found your Letter. – Were you but fully sensible of the pleasures I received from its perusal you would not so seldom write and tho’ the Space which parts us is immense I am sure to receive whatever you send me. Only walk after Sunset in some green Meadow and when the twilight breeze blows freely from the West, stretch out your Hand and trust your Letter to its guidance. —
I would feign relate a thousand circumstances of my present Situation and attempt describing the Scenes upon which I gaze at this Moment; but the favorable Wind has already risen and plays with my paper as if impatient to bear it away. — Some powerful Being directs and I dare not murmur. — Adieu think [29] often of me; but require no further information. – During these waking intervals I miss the lovely Form whose presence is my sovereign joy: that thought is attended with many sighs — But soon I shall seek refuge in my grassy Bed tis then the softest Slumbers steal o’er my senses — Even now I feel their approach — O may they never be dispell’d till Fate permits my gazing at least, a few fond moments on the one I love. —

Fonthill March 1780

My situation is sad and solitary. I stray disconsolately on the Rocks by the Caves of the Sleepers scarcely knowing which way to bend my steps. – I look around and all is a perfect void. Those Scenes which were wont to amuse me delight no more. —
My Imagination roams to other Countries in search of pleasures it no longer finds at Home. — This Evening it had been transported to those immense unfrequented Plains of Tartary which are covered with Herbs and [30] Flowers. Amongst these I fancied myself reposing and thought the one I love best in the Universe was gathering Roses by my side. — A visionary Sun gleamed faintly over the boundless prospect, no Hill, no Tree appeared. We heard the murmur of a Rill; but could not discover it; for we seemed lost in airy Flowers that waving above our Heads diffused a delicious perfume. — Why can I not communicate to you my sensations when I imagined myself on the very extremity of the World in the secure possession of all I desired? But it is impossible they are not to be described. — Such Delusions as these form my present felicity, without them I should be the most unhappy of Mankind and the persecutions of Frenguis would be intolerable. – But now when their conversations grow too discordant for my Nature I fly, fasten all my Doors, secure myself in the interior Cell and without the assistance of a magic Carpet, am transported wheresoever I list. – Had I not this power I should soon breathe my last; – but Hope that omnipotent Divinity smiles upon me and


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