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 Main Index : Writings : John Bunyan : Holy War Index : The Holy War - Part 16
The Holy War - Part 15 | Index | The Holy War - Part 17



Now having entrenched himself, he did cast up four mounts against the town: the first he called Mount Diabolus, putting his own name thereon, the more to affright the town of Mansoul; the other three he called thus - Mount Alecto, Mount Megara, and Mount Tisiphone; for these are the names of the dreadful furies of hell. Thus he began to play his game with Mansoul, and to serve it as doth the lion his prey, even to make it fall before his terror. But, as I said, the captains and soldiers resisted so stoutly, and did do such execution with their stones, that they made him, though against stomach, to retreat, wherefore Mansoul began to take courage.

Now upon Mount Diabolus, which was raised on the north side of the town, there did the tyrant set up his standard, and a fearful thing it was to behold; for he had wrought in it by devilish art, after the manner of a scutcheon, a flaming flame fearful to behold, and the picture of Mansoul burning in it.

When Diabolus had thus done, he commanded that his drummer should every night approach the walls of the town of Mansoul, and so to beat a parley; the command was to do it at nights, for in the daytime they annoyed him with their slings; for the tyrant said, that he had a mind to parley with the now trembling town of Mansoul, and he commanded that the drums should beat every night, that through weariness they might at last, if possible, (at the first they were unwilling yet,) be forced to do it.

So this drummer did as commanded: he arose, and did beat his drum. But when his drum did go, if one looked toward the town of Mansoul, 'Behold darkness and sorrow, and the light was darkened in the heaven thereof.' No noise was ever heard upon earth more terrible, except the voice of Shaddai when he speaketh. But how did Mansoul tremble! it now looked for nothing but forthwith to be swallowed up.

When this drummer had beaten for a parley, he made this speech to Mansoul: 'My master has bid me tell you, that if you will willingly submit, you shall have the good of the earth; but if you shall be stubborn, he is resolved to take you by force.' But by that the fugitive had done beating his drum, the people of Mansoul had betaken themselves to the captains that were in the castle, so that there was none to regard, nor to give this drummer an answer; so he proceeded no further that night, but returned again to his master to the camp.

When Diabolus saw that by drumming he could not work out Mansoul to his will, the next night he sendeth his drummer without his drum, still to let the townsmen know that he had a mind to parley with them. But when all came to all, his parley was turned into a summons to the town to deliver up themselves: but they gave him neither heed nor hearing: for they remembered what at first it cost them to hear him a few words.

The next night he sends again, and then who should be his messenger to Mansoul but the terrible Captain Sepulchre; so Captain Sepulchre came up to the walls of Mansoul, and made this oration to the town:-

'O ye inhabitants of the rebellious town of Mansoul! I summon you in the name of the Prince Diabolus, that, without any more ado, you set open the gates of your town, and admit the great lord to come in. But if you shall still rebel, when we have taken to us the town by force, we will swallow you up as the grave; wherefore if you will hearken to my summons, say so, and if not then let me know.

'The reason of this my summons,' quoth he, 'is, for that my lord is your undoubted prince and lord, as you yourselves have formerly owned. Nor shall that assault that was given to my lord, when Emmanuel dealt so dishonourably by him, prevail with him to lose his right, and to forbear to attempt to recover his own. Consider, then, O Mansoul, with thyself, wilt thou show thyself peaceable, or no? If thou shalt quietly yield up thyself, then our old friendship shall be renewed; but if thou shalt yet refuse and rebel, then expect nothing but fire and sword.'

When the languishing town of Mansoul had heard this summoner and his summons, they were yet more put to their dumps, but made to the captain no answer at all; so away he went as he came.

But, after some consultation among themselves, as also with some of their captains, they applied themselves afresh to the Lord Secretary for counsel and advice from him; for this Lord Secretary was their chief preacher, (as also is mentioned some pages before,) only now he was ill at ease; and of him they begged favour in these two or three things -

1. That he would look comfortably upon them, and not keep himself so much retired from them as formerly. Also, that he would be prevailed with to give them a hearing, while they should make known their miserable condition to him. But to this he told them as before, that 'as yet he was but ill at ease, and therefore could not do as he had formerly done.'

2. The second thing that they desired was, that he would be pleased to give them his advice about their now so important affairs, for that Diabolus was come and set down before the town with no less than twenty thousand doubters. They said, moreover, that both he and his captains were cruel men, and that they were afraid of them. But to this he said, 'You must look to the law of the Prince, and there see what is laid upon you to do.'

3. Then they desired that his highness would help them to frame a petition to Shaddai, and unto Emmanuel his Son, and that he would set his own hand thereto as a token that he was one with them in it: 'For,' said they, 'my Lord, many a one have we sent, but can get no answer of peace; but now, surely, one with thy hand unto it may obtain good for Mansoul.'

But all the answer that he gave to this was, 'that they had offended their Emmanuel, and had also grieved himself, and that therefore they must as yet partake of their own devices.'

This answer of the Lord Secretary fell like a millstone upon them; yea, it crushed them so that they could not tell what to do; yet they durst not comply with the demands of Diabolus, nor with the demands of his captain. So then here were the straits that the town of Mansoul was betwixt, when the enemy came upon her: her foes were ready to swallow her up, and her friends did forbear to help her.

Then stood up my Lord Mayor, whose name was my Lord Understanding, and he began to pick and pick, until he had picked comfort out of that seemingly bitter saying of the Lord Secretary; for thus he descanted upon it: 'First,' said he, 'this unavoidably follows upon the saying of my Lord, "that we must yet suffer for our sins." Secondly, But,' quoth he, 'the words yet sound as if at last we should be saved from our enemies, and that after a few more sorrows, Emmanuel will come and be our help.' Now the Lord Mayor was the more critical in his dealing with the Secretary's words, because my lord was more than a prophet, and because none of his words were such, but that at all times they were most exactly significant; and the townsmen were allowed to pry into them, and to expound them to their best advantage.

So they took their leaves of my lord, and returned, and went, and came to the captains, to whom they did tell what my Lord High Secretary had said; who, when they had heard it, were all of the same opinion as was my Lord Mayor himself. The captains, therefore, began to take some courage unto them, and to prepare to make some brave attempt upon the camp of the enemy, and to destroy all that were Diabolonians, with the roving doubters that the tyrant had brought with him to destroy the poor town of Mansoul.

So all betook themselves forthwith to their places - the Captains to theirs, the Lord Mayor to his, the subordinate preacher to his, and my Lord Willbewill to his. The captains longed to be at some work for their prince; for they delighted in warlike achievements. The next day, therefore, they came together and consulted; and after consultation had, they resolved to give an answer to the captain of Diabolus with slings; and so they did at the rising of the sun on the morrow; for Diabolus had adventured to come nearer again, but the sling-stones were to him and his like hornets. For as there is nothing to the town of Mansoul so terrible as the roaring of Diabolus's drum, so there is nothing to Diabolus so terrible as the well playing of Emmanuel's slings. Wherefore Diabolus was forced to make another retreat, yet further off from the famous town of Mansoul. Then did the Lord Mayor of Mansoul cause the bells to be rung, 'and that thanks should be sent to the Lord High Secretary by the mouth of the subordinate preacher; for that by his words the captains and elders of Mansoul had been strengthened against Diabolus.'

When Diabolus saw that his captains and soldiers, high lords and renowned, were frightened, and beaten down by the stones that came from the golden slings of the Prince of the town of Mansoul, he bethought himself, and said, 'I will try to catch them by fawning, I will try to flatter them into my net.'

Wherefore, after a while, he came down again to the wall, not now with his drum, nor with Captain Sepulchre; but having all besugared his lips, he seemed to be a very sweet-mouthed, peaceable prince, designing nothing for humour's sake, nor to be revenged on Mansoul for injuries by them done to him; but the welfare, and good, and advantage of the town and people therein was now, as he said, his only design. Wherefore, after he had called for audience, and desired that the townsfolk would give it to him, he proceeded in his oration, and said:-

'Oh, the desire of my heart, the famous town of Mansoul! how many nights have I watched, and how many weary steps have I taken, if perhaps I might do thee good! Far be it, far be it from me to desire to make a war upon you; if ye will but willingly and quietly deliver up yourselves unto me. You know that you were mine of old. Remember also, that so long as you enjoyed me for your lord, and that I enjoyed you for my subjects, you wanted for nothing of all the delights of the earth, that I, your lord and prince, could get for you, or that I could invent to make you bonny and blithe withal. Consider, you never had so many hard, dark, troublesome, and heart-afflicting hours, while you were mine, as you have had since you revolted from me; nor shall you ever have peace again, until you and I become one as before. But, be but prevailed with to embrace me again, and I will grant, yea, enlarge your old charter with abundance of privileges; so that your license and liberty shall be to take, hold, enjoy, and make your own all that is pleasant from the east to the west. Nor shall any of those incivilities, wherewith you have offended me, be ever charged upon you by me, so long as the sun and moon endure. Nor shall any of those dear friends of mine that now, for the fear of you, lie lurking in dens, and holes, and caves in Mansoul, be hurtful to you any more; yea, they shall be your servants, and shall minister unto you of their substance, and of whatever shall come to hand. I need speak no more; you know them, and have sometime since been much delighted in their company. Why, then, should we abide at such odds? Let us renew our old acquaintance and friendship again.

'Bear with your friend; I take the liberty at this time to speak thus freely unto you. The love that I have to you presses me to do it, as also does the zeal of my heart for my friends with you: put me not therefore to further trouble, nor yourselves to further fears and frights. Have you I will, in a way of peace or war; nor do you flatter yourselves with the power and force of your captains, or that your Emmanuel will shortly come in to your help; for such strength will do you no pleasure.

'I am come against you with a stout and valiant army, and all the chief princes of the den are even at the head of it. Besides, my captains are swifter than eagles, stronger than lions, and more greedy of prey than are the evening wolves. What is Og of Bashan! what is Goliath of Gath! and what are an hundred more of them, to one of the least of my captains! How, then, shall Mansoul think to escape my hand and force?'

Diabolus having thus handed his flattering, fawning, deceitful, and lying speech to the famous town of Mansoul, the Lord Mayor replied to him as follows: 'O Diabolus, prince of darkness, and master of all deceit; thy lying flatteries we have had and made sufficient probation of, and have tasted too deeply of that destructive cup already. Should we therefore again hearken unto thee, and so break the commandments of our great Shaddai, to join in affinity with thee, would not our Prince reject us, and cast us off for ever? And, being cast off by him, can the place that he has prepared for thee be a place of rest for us? Besides, O thou that art empty and void of all truth, we are rather ready to die by thy hand, than to fall in with thy flattering and lying deceits.'

When the tyrant saw that there was little to be got by parleying with my Lord Mayor, he fell into an hellish rage, and resolved that again, with his army of doubters, he would another time assault the town of Mansoul.

So he called for his drummer, who beat up for his men (and while he did beat, Mansoul did shake) to be in a readiness to give battle to the corporation: then Diabolus drew near with his army, and thus disposed of his men. Captain Cruel and Captain Torment, these he drew up and placed against Feel- gate, and commanded them to sit down there for the war. And he also appointed that, if need were, Captain No-Ease should come in to their relief. At Nose-gate he placed the Captain Brimstone and Captain Sepulchre, and bid them look well to their ward, on that side of the town of Mansoul. But at Eye- gate he placed that grim-faced one, the Captain Past-Hope, and there also now he did set up his terrible standard.

Now Captain Insatiable, he was to look to the carriages of Diabolus, and was also appointed to take into custody that, or those persons and things, that should at any time as prey be taken from the enemy.

Now Mouth-gate the inhabitants of Mansoul kept for a sally- port; wherefore that they kept strong; for that it was it by and out at which the townsfolk did send their petitions to Emmanuel their Prince. That also was the gate from the top of which the captains did play their slings at the enemies; for that gate stood somewhat ascending, so that the placing of them there, and the letting of them fly from that place, did much execution against the tyrant's army. Wherefore, for these causes, with others, Diabolus sought, if possible, to land up Mouth-gate with dirt.

Now, as Diabolus was busy and industrious in preparing to make his assault upon the town of Mansoul, without, so the captains and soldiers in the corporation were as busy in preparing within; they mounted their slings, they set up their banners, they sounded their trumpets, and put themselves in such order as was judged most for the annoyance of the enemy, and for the advantage of Mansoul, and gave to their soldiers orders to be ready at the sound of the trumpet for war. The Lord Willbewill also, he took the charge of watching against the rebels within, and to do what he could to take them while without, or to stifle them within their caves, dens, and holes in the town-wall of Mansoul. And, to speak the truth of him, ever since he took penance for his fault, he has showed as much honesty and bravery of spirit as any he in Mansoul; for he took one Jolly, and his brother Griggish, the two sons of his servant Harmless-Mirth, (for to that day, though the father was committed to ward, the sons had a dwelling in the house of my lord,) - I say, he took them, and with his own hands put them to the cross. And this was the reason why he hanged them up: after their father was put into the hands of Mr. True-Man the gaoler, they, his sons, began to play his pranks, and to be ticking and toying with the daughters of their lord; nay, it was jealoused that they were too familiar with them, the which was brought to his lordship's ear. Now his lordship being unwilling unadvisedly to put any man to death, did not suddenly fall upon them, but set watch and spies to see if the thing was true; of the which he was soon informed, for his two servants, whose names were Find-Out and Tell-All, catched them together in uncivil manner more than once or twice, and went and told their lord. So when my Lord Willbewill had sufficient ground to believe the thing was true, he takes the two young Diabolonians, (for such they were, for their father was a Diabolonian born,) and has them to Eye-gate, where he raised a very high cross, just in the face of Diabolus, and of his army, and there he hanged the young villains, in defiance to Captain Past-Hope, and of the horrible standard of the tyrant.

Now this Christian act of the brave Lord Willbewill did greatly abash Captain Past-Hope, discouraged the army of Diabolus, put fear into the Diabolonian runagates in Mansoul, and put strength and courage into the captains that belonged to Emmanuel, the Prince; for they without did gather, and that by this very act of my Lord, that Mansoul was resolved to fight, and that the Diabolonians within the town could not do such things as Diabolus had hopes they would. Nor was this the only proof of the brave Lord Willbewill's honesty to the town, nor of his loyalty to his Prince, as will afterwards appear.

Now, when the children of Prudent-Thrifty, who dwelt with Mr. Mind, (for Thrift left children with Mr. Mind, when he was also committed to prison, and their names were Gripe and Rake-All; these he begat of Mr. Mind's bastard daughter, whose name was Mrs. Hold-fast-Bad;) - I say, when his children perceived how the Lord Willbewill had served them that dwelt with him, what do they but, lest they should drink of the same cup, endeavour to make their escape. But Mr. Mind, being wary of it, took them and put them in hold in his house till morning; (for this was done over night;) and remembering that by the law of Mansoul all Diabolonians were to die, (and to be sure they were at least by father's side such, and some say by mother's side too,) what does he but takes them and puts them in chains, and carries them to the selfsame place where my lord hanged his two before, and there he hanged them.

The townsmen also took great encouragement at this act of Mr. Mind, and did what they could to have taken some more of these Diabolonian troublers of Mansoul; but at that time the rest lay so squat and close, that they could not be apprehended; so they set against them a diligent watch, and went every man to his place.

I told you a little before, that Diabolus and his army were somewhat abashed and discouraged at the sight of what my Lord Willbewill did, when he hanged up those two young Diabolonians; but his discouragement quickly turned itself into furious madness and rage against the town of Mansoul, and fight it he would. Also the townsmen and captains within, they had their hopes and their expectations heightened, believing at last the day would be theirs; so they feared them the less. Their subordinate preacher, too, made a sermon about it; and he took that theme for his text, 'Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.' Whence he showed, that though Mansoul should be sorely put to it at the first, yet the victory should most certainly be Mansoul's at the last.

So Diabolus commanded that his drummer should beat a charge against the town; and the captains also that were in the town sounded a charge against them, but they had no drum: they were trumpets of silver with which they sounded against them. Then they which were of the camp of Diabolus came down to the town to take it, and the captains in the castle, with the slingers at Mouth-gate, played upon them amain. And now there was nothing heard in the camp of Diabolus but horrible rage and blasphemy; but in the town good words, prayer, and singing of psalms. The enemy replied with horrible objections, and the terribleness of their drum; but the town made answer with the slapping of their slings, and the melodious noise of their trumpets. And thus the fight lasted for several days together, only now and then they had some small intermission, in the which the townsmen refreshed themselves, and the captains made ready for another assault.

The captains of Emmanuel were clad in silver armour, and the soldiers in that which was of proof; the soldiers of Diabolus were clad in iron which was made to give place to Emmanuel's engine-shot. In the town, some were hurt, and some were greatly wounded. Now, the worst of it was, a chirurgeon was scarce in Mansoul, for that Emmanuel at present was absent. Howbeit, with the leaves of a tree the wounded were kept from dying; yet their wounds did greatly putrefy, and some did grievously stink. Of the townsmen, these were wounded, namely, my Lord Reason; he was wounded in the head. Another that was wounded was the brave Lord Mayor; he was wounded in the eye. Another that was wounded was Mr. Mind; he received his wound about the stomach. The honest subordinate preacher also, he received a shot not far off the heart but none of these were mortal.

Many also of the inferior sort were not only wounded but slain outright.

Now, in the camp of Diabolus were wounded and slain a considerable number; for instance, Captain Rage, he was wounded, and so was Captain Cruel. Captain Damnation was made to retreat, and to intrench himself further off of Mansoul. The standard also of Diabolus was beaten down, and his standard-bearer, Captain Much-Hurt, had his brains beat out with a sling-stone, to the no little grief and shame of his prince Diabolus.

Many also of the doubters were slain outright, though enough of them were left alive to make Mansoul shake and totter. Now the victory that day being turned to Mansoul, did put great valour into the townsmen and captains, and did cover Diabolus's camp with a cloud, but withal it made them far more furious. So the next day Mansoul rested, and commanded that the bells should be rung; the trumpets also joyfully sounded, and the captains shouted round the town.

My Lord Willbewill also was not idle, but did notable service within against the domestics, or the Diabolonians that were in the town, not only by keeping them in awe, for he lighted on one at last whose name was Mr. Anything, a fellow of whom mention was made before; for it was he, if you remember, that brought the three fellows to Diabolus, whom the Diabolonians took out of Captain Boanerges's companies, and that persuaded them to list themselves under the tyrant, to fight against the army of Shaddai. My Lord Willbewill did also take a notable Diabolonian, whose name was Loose-Foot: this Loose- Foot was a scout to the vagabonds in Mansoul, and that did use to carry tidings out of Mansoul to the camp, and out of the camp to those of the enemies in Mansoul. Both these my lord sent away safe to Mr. True-Man, the gaoler, with a commandment to keep them in irons; for he intended then to have them out to be crucified, when it would be for the best to the corporation, and most for the discouragement of the camp of the enemies.

My Lord Mayor also, though he could not stir about so much as formerly, because of the wound that he lately received, yet gave he out orders to all that were the natives of Mansoul, to look to their watch, and stand upon their guard, and, as occasion should offer, to prove themselves men.

Mr. Conscience, the preacher, he also did his utmost to keep all his good documents alive upon the hearts of the people of Mansoul.

Well, awhile after, the captains and stout ones of the town of Mansoul agreed and resolved upon a time to make a sally out upon the camp of Diabolus, and this must be done in the night; and there was the folly of Mansoul, (for the night is always the best for the enemy, but the worst for Mansoul to fight in,) but yet they would do it, their courage was so high; their last victory also still stuck in their memories.

So the night appointed being come, the Prince's brave captains cast lots who should lead the van in this new and desperate expedition against Diabolus, and against his Diabolonian army; and the lot fell to Captain Credence, to Captain Experience, and to Captain Good-Hope, to lead the forlorn hope. (This Captain Experience the Prince created such when himself did reside in the town of Mansoul.) So, as I said, they made their sally out upon the army that lay in the siege against them; and their hap was to fall in with the main body of their enemies. Now Diabolus and his men being expertly accustomed to night-work, took the alarm presently, and were as ready to give them battle, as if they had sent them word of their coming. Wherefore to it they went amain, and blows were hard on every side; the hell drum also was beat most furiously, while the trumpets of the Prince most sweetly sounded. And thus the battle was joined; and Captain Insatiable looked to the enemy's carriages, and waited when he should receive some prey.

The Prince's captains fought it stoutly, beyond what indeed could be expected they should; they wounded many; they made the whole army of Diabolus to make a retreat. But I cannot tell how, but the brave Captain Credence, Captain Good-Hope, and Captain Experience, as they were upon the pursuit, cutting down, and following hard after the enemy in the rear, Captain Credence stumbled and fell, by which fall he caught so great a hurt, that he could not rise till Captain Experience did help him up, at which their men were put in disorder. The captain also was so full of pain, that he could not forbear but aloud to cry out: at this, the other two captains fainted, supposing that Captain Credence had received his mortal wound; their men also were more disordered, and had no list to fight. Now Diabolus being very observing, though at this time as yet he was put to the worst, perceiving that a halt was made among the men that were the pursuers, what does he but, taking it for granted that the captains were either wounded or dead, he therefore makes at first a stand, then faces about, and so comes up upon the Prince's army with as much of his fury as hell could help him to; and his hap was to fall in just among the three captains, Captain Credence, Captain Good-Hope, and Captain Experience, and did cut, wound, and pierce them so dreadfully, that what through discouragement, what through disorder, and what through the wounds that they had received, and also the loss of much blood, they scarce were able, though they had for their power the three best hands in Mansoul, to get safe into the hold again.

Now, when the body of the Prince's army saw how these three captains were put to the worst, they thought it their wisdom to make as safe and good a retreat as they could, and so returned by the sally-port again; and so there was an end of this present action. But Diabolus was so flushed with this night's work, that he promised himself, in few days, an easy and complete conquest over the town of Mansoul; wherefore, on the day following, he comes up to the sides thereof with great boldness, and demands entrance, and that forthwith they deliver themselves up to his government. The Diabolonians, too, that were within, they began to be somewhat brisk, as we shall show afterward.

The Holy War - Part 15 | Index | The Holy War - Part 17

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