Page:The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart.pdf/18

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INTRODUCTION

founded on the world-old conceit that imagines the world as a city and man as a pilgrim, who beholds it and examines it. It is natural that this allegorical idea took very different shapes in the hands of different writers. Sometimes, as with Komensky, the world appears twofold—the evil, earthly world that is but mockery, and the "paradise of the heart" in which the soul finds solace, even before its union with God, "the centre of all." Oftener the latter ideal world only is delineated, as in countless works, from Plato downward. It is, I think, improbable that Komensky knew Plato's writings, but I feel certain that he knew the quaint work of the so-called Kebes,[1] entitled

Πιναξ. There is no doubt that this new little known work influenced Komensky to some extent. I have now before me a copy of the edition of the book published at Leyden in 1640. It contains an engraving that could almost be imagined as being an illustration of Komensky's allegorical work. We see the gate of life, through which all must enter; the various streets in which men reside, according to their callings; and in the heights the dwellings of eternal bliss. More's "Utopia" and Campanella's "Civitas Solis" undoubtedly influenced Komensky when writing the "Labyrinth," and he mentions both More and Campanella by name in the book. On the other hand, there is no trace in it of the

 
  1. This book was long attributed to Kebes, a disciple of Plato. Recent research has rendered it probable that it was written by a philosopher during the reign of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius.