To the following year (1688) belongs his Digression sur les anciens et les modernes, in which he took the modern side in the controversy then raging; his Doutes sur le systeme physique des causes occasionnelles (against Malebranche) appeared shortly afterwards.
It bears the strongest likeness to the epic in all save its unversified form; in both are found, as fixed essentials, simplicity of plot, chronological order of events, set phrases used even in describing the restless play of emotion or the changeful fortunes of a fight or a storm, while in both the absence of digression, comment or intrusion of the narrator's person is invariably maintained.
Travelling thence to Peshawar (Purushapura), the capital of Gandhara, he made a digression, through the now inaccessible valley of Swat and the Dard states, to the Upper Indus, returning to Peshawar, and then crossing the Indus (Sintu) into the decayed kingdom of Taxila (Ta-cha-si-lo, Takshasila), then subject to Kashmir.
On the other hand, he is full of cumbrous repetition, he lacks precision in argument and is prone to digression, his quotations from Scripture are often inappropriate, and he is greatly influenced by Jewish exegesis.
This singular romance is diversified by, or, to speak more properly, it is the vehicle of the most bewildering abundance of digression, burlesque amplification, covert satire on things political, social and religious, miscellaneous erudition of the literary and scientific kind.