« ZurückWeiter »
Deluded wretches, (thus their madness cries)
Dull mopes, weak dupes of philofophic lies,
Uncomforted, unjoyous, and unbleft,
Lost from the pleasures here at large poffeft.
What pleasures boast they?
Pleasures of the stews,
Pleasures which Riot's frantic bowls infuse.
These high fruition their gross fouls repute,
And man's chief good to sink into a brute.
But who that lovely bevy, blithe and gay,
So smoothly gliding down the hilly way?
i Those are th' Opinions, who have guided right
The unexperienc'd to the plain of light:
Returning, new adventurers to bring,
The blessings of the last-arriv'd they fing,
Why ingrefs yielded to their favour'd ward
Among the Virtues, to themselves debarrd? Opinion's foot is never never found
Where Knowledge dwells, 'tis interdicted ground, į At Wisdom's gate th’ Opinions must resign
Their charge, those limits their employ confine.
Thus trading barks, skill'd in the wat'ry road,
To diftant climes convey their precious load,
Then turn their prow, light bounding o'er the main,
And with new traffic store their keels again.
Thus far is clear. But yet untold remains
What the Good Genius to the crowd ordains,
| she distinction between Opinion and Knowledge.
Just on the verge of life.
k He bids them hold
535 A spirit with erected courage
Never (he calls) on Fortune's faith rely,
Nor grasp her dubious gifts as property.
Let not her smile transport, her frown dismay,
Nor praise, nor blame, nor wonder at her sway
Which reason never guides: 'tis fortune ftill,
Capricious chance and arbitrary will,
Bad bankers, vain of treasure not their own,
With foolish rapture hug the trusted loan :
Impatient, when the pow'rful bond demands
Its unremember'd cov'nånt from their hands.
Unlike to such, without a figh restore
What Fortune lends : anon she'll lavish more ;
Repenting of her bounty snatch away,
Yea seize your patrimonial fund for prey.
550 Embrace her proffer'd boon, but instant rise, Spring upward, and secure a lasting prize, The gift which Wisdom to her fons divides ; Knowledge, whose beam the doubting judgment guides, Scatters the sensual fog, and clear to view
555 Distinguishes false int'reft from the true. Flee, flee to this, with unabating pace, Nor parly for a moment at the place Where Pleasure and her Harlots, tempt, nor rest But at False Wisdom's inn, a tranfient guest : * The instructions of the Genius.
For fhort refection, at her table fit,
And taste what science may your palate hit :
Then wing your journey forward, till you reach
True Wisdom, aed imbibe the truths fhe'll teach.
Sach is th' advice the friendly Genius gives, 565
He perishes who scorns, who follows lives.
And thus this moral picce instructs; if aught
Is mystic fill, reveal your doubting thought.
Tbanks, generous Sire; tell, then, the transient bait,
The Genius grants us at False Wisdom's gate.
Whate'er in arts or sciences is found
Of solid ufe, in their capacious round,
These, Plato reasons, like a curbing rein,
Unruly youth from devious starts restrain.
Muft we, solicitous our souls to fave,
Afiffance from these previous studies crave ??
Neceflity there's none. We'll not deny
Their merit in some less utility;
But they contribute, we aver, no part
To heal the manners and amend the heart.
An author's meaning, in a tongue unknown,
May glimmer thro' translation in our own:
Yet masters of his language, we might gain
Some trivial purposes by tedious pain,
So in the sciences, tho', rudely taught,
585 We may attain the little that we ought;
· Natural knowledge, how far useful, and when unprofitable and burtful.
Yet, accurately known they might convey
More light not wholly useless in its way.
But Virtue may be reach'd, thro' all her rules,
Without the curious subtleties of fchools.
How! not the learn'd excel the common shoal,
In pow'rful aids to meliorate the foul ?
Blind as the crowd alas ! to good and ill,
Intangled by the like corrupted will,
What boasts the man of letters o'er the reft?
Skill'd in all tongues, of all the arts posseft,
What hinders but he sink into a fot,
A libertine, or villain in a plot,
Miser, or knave, or whatso'er you'll name
Of moral lunacy and reason's shame?
Scandals too rife!
How, then, for living right
Avail those studies, and their vaunted light
Beyond the vulgar?
Nothing. But disclose
The cause from whence this strange appearance grows.
Held by a potent charm in this retreat
They dwell, content with nearness to the feat
Of Virtuous Wisdom.
Near, met hinks, in vain:
Since numbers, oft, from out the nether plain,
'Scap'd from the snares of Lewdness and Excess,
Unde vious to her lofty station press,
Yet pass these letter'd clans,
What, then, are there
In moral things, advantag'd o'er the lees
Of human race? in moral things, we find
These duller or less tractable of mind.
Pride, pride averts their eyes
From ofer'd light: in felf-sufficience wise,
Altho' anknowing, they presume to know:
Clogg’d with that vain conccit they creep below,
Nor can moont up to yon exalted bound,
True Wisdoin's mansion, by the humble found.
Not found by these, till the vain vifions spread,
By Fale Opinion, in the learned head,
Repentance scatter; and deceiv'd no more,
They own th' illusion which deceiv'd before,
That for True Wildom they embrac d her Made,
And hence the healing of their souls delay'd.
Strangers, thefe lessons, oft revolving, hold
Fait to your hearts, and into habit mould:
To this high scope life's whole attention bend,
Despise aught elle as erring from your end.
Do thus, or unavailing is my care,
And all th' instruction dies away in air,