Old Adam and his fair Daughters

For those of you who have not had these pleasure of reading one of the most widely read books in history, this is a quote from Pilgrim’s Progress by Bunyan. The scene here concerns a neighbor named faithful who has been offered a job by old Adam.

As with all allegory, the symbolism is clear, heavy-handed, and exists without any depth or double meeting to confound the reader. Most allegories are not worth reading, but this Puritan classic may well be the exception that tempts the rule.


He said his name was Adam the First, and I dwell in the Town of Deceit. I asked him then, What was his work? and what the wages that he would give?

He told me, That his work was many delights; and his wages, that I should be his Heir at last. I further asked him, What House he kept, and what other Servants he had? So he told me, That his House was maintained with all the dainties in the world; and that his Servants were those of his own begetting.

Then I asked how many Children he had? He said that he had but three Daughters: The Lust of the Flesh, The Lust of the Eyes, and The Pride of Life, and that I should marry them all if I would. Then I asked him how long time he would have me live with him? And he told me, As long as he lived himself.

Faith. Why, at first, I felt myself somewhat inclinable to go with the man, for I thought he spake very fair … When it came burning hot into my mind, whatever he said, and however he flattered, when he got me home to his House, he would sell me for a slave. So I bid him forbear to talk, for I would not come near the door of his House.