« ZurückWeiter »
The same first Mover certain bounds has plac'd, So should we make our death a glad relief
And joyous of our conquest early won :
Why should we inourn that he so soon is freed, On some unalter'd cause they sure depend: lOr call untimely what the Gods decreci? Parts of the whole are we; but God the whole; With grief as just a friend may be deplor'd, Who gives us life and animating soul.
From a foul prison to free air restor d. For nature cannot from a part derive
Ought he to thank his kinsmen or his wife, That being, which the whole can only give: Could tears rccal him into wretched life? He perfect, stable ; but imperfect we,
Their sorrow hurts themselves; on him is list; Subject to change, and diff'rent in degree ; And, worse than both, offends liis happy ghost. Plants, beasts, and man; and, as our organs are, What then remains, but, after past annoy, We more or less of his perfection share. .. To take the good vicissitude of joy? But by a long descent thi' ethereal fire
To thank the gracious Gods for what they give, Corrupts; and formis, the mortal part, expire: Possess our souls, and, while we live, to live? As he withdraws his virtuve, so they pass ;'. f Orelain we then two sorrows to combine, And the same maiter makes another mass. And in one point th'extremes of grief to join; This law th'Omniscient Pow'r was pleas'd to give, That trience resulting jov may be renewd; 'That ev'ry kind should by succession live: As jarring notes in harniony conclude. That individuals die his will ordains;
| Then I propose that Palamon shall be The propagated species still remains.
In marriage join'd with beauteous Emils; The monarch oak, the patriarch of the trees, For which already I hye gaind th' assent Shoots rising up, and spreads by low degrecs ; | Of my free people in full parliament. Three centuries he grows, and three he stays, Long love to her has borne the faithful kniglit, Supreme in state, and in three more decays; l And well deserv'd, had fortune dose him right: So wears the paving pebble in the street, 'Tis time to mend her fault ; since Emily And towns and tow'rs their fatal periods meet : By Arcite's death from former rows is free: So rivers, rapid once, now naked lie,
If you, fair sister, ratify th' accord, Forsaken of their springs, and leave their chan-| And take hiin for your husband and your lord, nels dry.
'Tis no dishonor to conser your grace So man, at first a drop, dilates with heat, On one descended from a royal race : Then, form’d, the little heart begins to beat; | And were he less, yet years of service past Secret he fecds unknowing in the cell; From grateful souls exact reward at last. At length, for hatching ripe, he breaks the shell, / Pity is Heaven's and yours : nor can she find And struggles into breath, and cries for aid; TA throne so soft as in a woman's mind. Then, helpless, in his mother's lap is laid. He said; she blush'd ; and, as o'eraw'd by night, He creeps, he walks, and, issuing into man, Seem'd to give Theseus what she gave the knight Grudges their life froin whence his own began : Then, turning to the Theban, thus he said; Reckless of laws, effects to rule alone, Small arguments are needful to persuade Anxious to reign, and restless on the throne : Your temper to comply with iny command; First vegetive, ihen feels, and reasons last ; And, speaking thus, he gave Emilia's hand. Rich of three souls, and lives all three to waste. Sinild Venus, to behold her own true knight? Some thus: but thousands more in flow'r of age: Obtain the conquest, tho' he lost the tight; For few arrive to run the latter stage.
And bless'd with nuptial bliss the sweet labo- 1 Sunk in the first, in battle some are slain,
rious night, And others whelm'd beneath the stormy main. Eros and Anteros on either side, What makes all this, but Jupiter the king. One fir'd the bridegroom, and one warm'd the At whose command we perish and we spring ? | bride; Then 'tis our best, since thus ordain'd to die, And long-attending Hymen from above To make a virtue of necessity. .
Shower') on the bed the whole Idalian grove. Take what he gives, since to rebel is vain; All of a tenor wils their after-life, The bad grows better, which we well sustain ; No day discolor'd with domestic strife; And could we choose the time, and choose aright, No jealousy, but mutual truth believ'd, "Tis best to die, our honor at the height. Secure repose, and kindness undeceir'd. When we have done our ancestors no shame, Thus Heaven, beyond the compass of his thought, But servd our friends, and well secur'd our fame: Sent him the blessing he so dearly bought. Then should we wish our happy life to close, So may the Queen of Love long duty bless, And leave no more for fortune to dispose : And all irue lovers find the same success
1 Thus man by his own strength to Heaven would § 29. Religio Laici. Dryden.
Ind would not be obligd to God for more. (soar; AX EPISTLE.
Vain wretched creature! how art thou mísled, Dim as the borrow'd beams of moon and stars To think thy wit these godlike notions bred ! To lonely weary wand'ring travellers,
These truths are not the product of thy mind, Is reason to the soul : an as on high
But dropt from heaven, and of a nobler kind. Those rolling fires discover but the sky, Reveal'd religion first inform'd thy sight, Nor light us here; so reason's glimnm'ring ray .Ind reason saw not till faith sprung the light. Was lent not to assure our doubtful way, Hence all thy nat'ral worship takes the source ; But guide tis upward to a better day.
'Tis revelation, what thou think'st discourse. And as those nightly tapers disappear
Else how coinest thou to see these truths so clear, When day's bright lorrläscends orir hemisphere; Which so obscure to Heathens did appear? So pale grow's reason at religion's sight; Not Plato these, nor Aristotle found; So dies, and so dissolves in supernat'ral light. Nor he whose visilom oracles renown'd. Somefew, whoselampshonebrighter, harebeenied Hast thou a wit so deep, or so sublime, .. From cause to canse, to nature's secret head; Or canst thou lower dive, or higher climb ? And found that one first principle must be: Canst thou by reason more of godhead know But what, or who, that universal He;
Than Plutarch, Seneca, or Cicero? Whether some soul encompassing this ball, Those giant wits in happier ages born, , Unmade, unmor'd ; yet making, moving all; When armsand arts did Greeceand Rome adorn, Or various atoms, interfering dance,
Knew no such system; no such piles could raise Leap'd into form, the noble work of chance ; JOf nat'ral worship built on prayer and praise Or this great all was froin eternity; . To one sule God. Not e'en the Stagyrite himself could see, Xor did remorse to expiate sin prescribe ; And Epicurus gress'd as well as he ;
But slew their fellow-creatures for a bribe : As blindly grop'd they for a future state; The guiltiess victim groan'd for their offence; As rashly judg'd of providence and fate : And cruelty and blood were penitence. But least of all could their endeavours find If sheep and oxen could atone for men, What mast concern'd the good of human kind : Ah! at how cheap á rate the rich might sin! For happiness was never to be found,
And great oppressors might heaven's wrath be. But vanish'd from them like enchanied ground. By ofl'ring his own creatures for a spoil! (guile, One thought content the good to be enjoyd : Darst thou, poor worm, offend Infinity? This every little accident destroy'd :
And must the terms of pence be given by thee? The wiser madınen did for virtue toil ;
Then thou art Justice in the last appeal; A thorny, or at best a barren soil :
Thy easy God instructs thee to rebet; In pleasure some their glutton soulswouldstoep: And like a king, remote and weak, must take But found thcirline too short, the well too deep; What satisfaction thou art pleas'd to make.. And leaky vessels which no bliss could keep. But if there be a pow'r too just and strong Thus anxious thoughts in endless circles roll, |To wink at crimes, and bear unpunish'd wrong, Without a centre where to fix the soul : Look humbly upward, see his will disclose In this wild maze their vain endeavours end : The forfeit first, and then the fine impose; How can the less the greater comprehend? 1 A mulct thy poverty could never pay, Or fivite reason reach Infinity?
Had not cternal wisdom found the way, For what could fathom God were more than He. And with celestial wealth supplied thy store ; The Deist thinks he stands on firmer ground ; His justice makes the fine; hismercy quitsthescore. Cries cuine, the mighty secret's found :
See God descending in thy human frame; God is that spring of good ; supreme, and best ; Th' offending suffering in th' offender's name ; We made to serve, and in that service blest. All thy misdeeds to him imputed see, If so, some rules of worship must be given, And all his righteousness devolv'd on thee. Distributed alike to all by Heaven:
| For, granting we have sinn'd, and that th' of. Else God were partial, and to some denied i Of man is made against Omnipotence, sfence The means his justice should for all provide. Some price that bears proportion must be paid ; This gen'ral worship is to praise and pray;
And infinite with infinite'be weigh'd.
What farther means can reason now direct,
Proof needs not here: for whether we compare| But boundless wisdom, boundless mercy, may That impious idle superstitious ware
Find, ev'n for those bewilder'd souls, a way;
The word is scarce more antient than the law; Who knows what reasons may his mercy lead;
(They, who the written rule had never know, In sev'ral ages born, in sev'ral parts,
Were to themselves both rule and law alone : Weave suchi agreeing truths? or how, or why, To nature's plain indictment they shall plead; Should all conspire w cheat us with a lye. Ani by their conscience be condemn'd or freed." Uvask'd their pains, ingrateful their advice, Most righteous doom! because a rule rereald Starring their vin, anri martyrdom their price. is none to those from whom it was conceald.
If on the book itself we cast our view, Then those who follow'd reason's dictates right Concurrent heathens prove the swry true; Liv'd up, and lified high their nat'ral light; The doctrine, miracles; which must convince, With Socrates may see iheir Maker's face, For heaven in them appeals to human sense; While thousand rubric-nar yrs want a place. And tho' they prove noi, they confirm the cause, Nor does it baulk my charity, to find When what is taught agrees with nature's laws. Th' Egyptian bishop of another mind;
Then for the style, majestic and divine, For though his creed eternal iruth contains, It speaks no less than God in ev'ry line; 'Tis hard for mu to doom to endless pains Commanding words; whose force issiillihe same. All who beijer'd not all his zeal requir'd; As the first tiat that produc'd our frame. Unless he first could prore he was inspir'd. All faiths besicie or did bv anns ascend, (Tien let us either think he meant to say, Orsince indulg'd has made mankind their friend, This faiti, where publish'd, was the only way; This only doctrine does our luiste oppose, Orelse concinde that, Arius to confule, Uvferi by nature's soil, in which it grows; The good old man, too eager ir, dispute, Cross to our ini'rests, curbing sense and sin: Flew high ; and as his christian fury rose Oppress'd wiilout, and undermind within, Damnd all for heretics who durst oppose. li thrives thro' yain ; its own tormentors tires ;! Thus far niy charity this path has tried ; And with a stubbom patience still aspires. A much unskilful, but well-meaning guide : To what can reason such etlects assign
Yet what they are, e'en these crude thoughts Transcending nature, but to lavo divine;
were bred, Which in that sacred volume are contain'd; By reading that which better thou had read. Sufficient, clear, and for that use ordain'd? Tuy matchless author's work; which thou my But stay : the Deist here will urge anew.
friend, No supernat'ral worship can be true;
By well translating better riost commend : Because a gen'rol law is thai alone
Those yeuthful hours which of thy equals most Which must to all, and ev'ry where, be known: 'In tovs have squander'd, or in vice have lost; A style so large as not this book can claim, Those hours hast thou to pobler use employ'd, Noraught that bears reveald religion's name. And the scvere delights of truth enjoy'd. "Tis said, the sound of a Messiah's birth Ilirness this weighty book, in which appears Is gone thro' all the habitable earth;
l'The crabbed toil of inany thoughtful years, But still that text inust be confind alone Spent by thy author, in the sitting care To what was then inhabited and known: Oi rabbins old sophisticated ware And what provisions could from theuce accrue tom rold divine; which he who well can sort To Indian souls, and worlds discover'd new? May afterwards make algebra a sport. In other parts it helps, that ages past, . A treasure, which if country curates buy, The scriptures there were known, and were They Junius and Tremellius may defy; einbrac d
Save pains in various readings and translations ; Till sin spread once again the shades of night: And without Hebrew make must learn'd quo What's that to these, who never saw the light? tations. Of all objections this indeed is chief
A work so full with various learning fraught, To startle reason, stagger frail belief:
So nicely ponder'd, yet so strongly wroughi, . Wegrant 'tis true, that Heaven from humansense As nature's height and art's last hand requir'd, Has hid the secret paths of Providence : As much as inan could compass, uninspird:
Where we may see what errors have been made, Wehold, and say we prove from scripture plain,
Now what appeal cani end th' important suit?
Were none admitted ihere but inen of wit.
Born to instruct, as others to be taught,
Which doctrine, this or that, does best agree .
Gives truth the reverend majesty of age;
And still the ncarer to the spring we go,
Such an omniscient church we wish indeer! ; E'en Arius and Pelagius durst provoke 'Twere worth both Testaments; cast in the creed: To what the centuries preceeding spoke. But if this muther be a guide so sure
Such diff'rence is there in an oft told talo: 'As can all doubts resolve, and truth secure, | But truth by its own sinews will prevail. Then her infallibility; as well
Tradition written therefore more cominends Where copies are corrupi or laine, can tell ; Authority, than what from voice descends ; Restore lost canons wiih as little pains, And this, as perfect as its kind can be, As truly explicate what still remains:
Rolls down io 113 the sacred history : Which vet no council care pretend to do; Which, from the universal church receiv'd, Unless, like Es.tras, they could write it new: Is tried, and after for itself believ'd. Strange confidence still io interpret true,
The partial Papists would infer from hence Yet not be sure that all they have explain'd Their church, in last resort, should juilge the als in the blest original contain'd.
Sense. Vlore safe, and much nuore modest, 'tis to say, But first they would assunc with wondrous art God would not leave mankind without a way: Themselves to be the whole, who are but part And that the scriptures, tho' not every where ofthit vast frame the church; yet grant they were Free from corruption, or entire, or clear, The handers-down, can they from thence infer Are incorrupt, suficient, clear, entire,
A right t'interpret? or would tliev alone, In all thing; which onr neerful faith require. Who brought the present, claim it for their own! If others in the same glacs liester see,
'The book's a comilou largess to mankind; "Tis for themselves they look, but not for me: Not more for them than ev'ry wan design'd: For ny salvation must its dooin receive, The welcome news is in the letter found; Not from what others, but what I believe. The carrier's not commission' to expound. Must all tradition then be set aside?
It speaks itself, and what it does contain This to affirm, were ignorance and pride. In all things needful to be known is plain. Are there not many points, some needful sore In tiines o'ergrown with rust and ignorance, To saving faith, tbát scripture leaves obscure? A gainftill trade their clergy did advance; Which ei'ry sect will wrest a sey'ral way; When want of learning kept the laymen low, For what one sect interprets, all secie isy: and none but priests were authoriz'd to know:
When what small knowledge was in them did In doubtful questions 'tis the safest way dwell;
To learn what unsuspected antients say : And he a god who could but read and spell; For 'tis not likely we should higher soar The mother-church did mightily prevail; In search of heaven than all the church before; She parcel'd out the Bible by retail:
Nor can we be deceix'd unless we see But still expounded what she sold or gare, The scripture and the fathers disagrec.. To keep it in her power to damn or save. If after all they stand suspected still, Scripture was scarce, and, as the market went, For no man's faith depends upon his will ; Poor lavmen took salvation on content; 'Tis soine relief, that points not clearly knowa As needy men take money good or bad : Chad. Without much hazard may be let alone : God's word they had not but the priest's they And after hearing what our church can say, Yet whate'er false conveyances they made, If still our reason runs another way, a The lawyer still was certain to be paid.
That private reason 'tis more just to curb, In those dark tiines they learn'd their knack so Than by disputes the public peace disturb; That by long use they grew infallible. (well, For points obscure are of small use to learn ; At last a knowing age began t'inquire
But coinmon quiet is mankind's concern. If they the book or that did them inspire: (late, Thus have I made my own opinious clear; And inaking narrower search they found, tho'l Yet neither praise expect, nor censure fear: That what they thought the priest's was their And this unpolish'd rugged verse I chose, estate :
Las fittest for discourse, and nearest prose : Taught by the will produc'd, the written word, For while from sacred trwh I do not swerre, How long they had been cheated on record. Tom Sternhold's or Tom Shadwell's rhymes Then ev'ry man who saw the title fair,
• will serve. Clair'd a child's part, and put in for a share: Consulted soberly his private good,
$ 30. Mac Flecknoe. Dryden. And sav'd himself as cheap as e'er he could.
'Tis true, my friend, and far be dall'ry hence, All human things are subject to decay, This good had fall as bad a consequence: And when fate suminons, monarchis musi ober. The book thus put in ev'ry vulgar hand, This Flecknoe found, who like Augustus, young Which each presum'd hc best could understand, Was call'd to empire, and had govern'd long: The cominon rule was made the common prey, In prose and verse was ownd without dispute, And at the mercy of the rabble lay.
Thro' all the realms of Nonsense absolute. The tender page with horny fists was gallid: This aged prince, now flourishing in pence, And he was gifted most that loudest bawll; ! And bless'd with issue of a large increase ; The spirit gave the doctoral degree:
Worn out with business, did at length debate And ev'ry member of a company
To settle the succession of the state: Was of his tradle and of the Bible free. And pond'ring which, of all his sons, was fit Plain truths enough for needful use they found ; To reign, and wage immortal war with Wit; But men would still be itching to expound: Cried, "Tis resolv'd; for Vature pleads that he Each was ambitious of the obscurest place, Should only rule who most resembles me. No measure ta'en from knowledge, all from grace. She , alone, my perfect image bears, Study and pains were now no inore their care ; Mature in dullness froin his tender years : Texts were explain'd by fasting and by pray'r: Sh , alone, of all my sons, is he, This was the fruit the private spirit brought; Who stauds confirm'd in full stupidity. Occasion'd by great zeal and little thought; The rest to some faint meaning make pretenee; While crowds unlearn’d, with rude devotion But Sh never deviates into sense. warın,
Some beams of wit on other souls may fall, About the sacred winds buz and swarın. Strike thro', and make a lucid interval; 'The fly-blown text creates a crawling brood; But She 's genuine night adinits no ray; And turns to maggots what was meant for food. His rising fogs prevail upon the day. A thousand daily sects rise up and die; Besides his goodly fabric fills the eye, A thousand more the perish'd race supply: And seems design'd for thoughtless majesty: So all we make of Heaven's discover'd will, Thoughtless as monarch oaks that shade the plain, Is not to have it, or to use it ill.
| And spread in solemn state, supinely reign. The danger's much the same; on sev'ral shelves | Heywood and Shirley were but types of ihee, If others wreck us, or we wreck ourselves. Thou last great prophet of Tautology,
What then remains but waving each extreme, Ev'n I, a dunce of more renown than they, The tides of ignorance and pride to stem? Was sent before but to prepare thy way; Neither so rich a treasure to forego;
And coarsely clad in Norwich drugget, came Nor proudly seek beyond our pow'r to know: To teach the nations in thy greater name. Faith is not built on disquisitions vain ; My warbling lute, the lute I whilom strung, The things we must believe are few and plain. When to king John of Portugal I sung, But since men will believe more than they need, Was but the prelude of that glorious day, And ev'ry man will make himself a creed, When thou on silver Thames didst cut ihy way.