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Relate, who first, who last resign'd to rest;
625 O sing, and hush the Nations with thy Song !
In vain, in vain,- the all-composing Hour Refiftless falls : The Muse obeys the Pow'r. She comes ! she comes! the fable Throne behold Of Night Primeval, and of Chaos old! 630 Before her, Fancy's gilded clouds decay, And all its varying Rain-bows die away. Wit shoots in vain its momentary fires, The meteor drops, and in a flash expires. As one by one, at dread Medea's strain, The fick’ning stars fade off th’ ethereal plain ;
And Virg. Aeneid. vii.
« Et meministis enim, Divae, et memorare poteftis :
Ad nos vix tenuis famae perlabitur aura." But our Poet had yet another reason for putting this task upon the Muse, that, all besides being asleep, the only could relate what passed.
Scrill, P. *
VER. 621. Relate, who firl, who laf resign'd to rel;
IV bofe Heads fbe partly, whose completely bles.] “ Quem telo primum, quem poftremum afpera Virgo Dejicis ? aut quot humi morientia corpora fundis ?"
As Argus' eyes, by Hermes' wand opprest,
Philosophy, that reach'd the Heav'ns before,
REMARKS. Ver. 643. Philosophy, that lean'd on Heav'n] Philosophy has at length brought things to that pass, as to have it esteemed unphilosophical to rest in the first cause ; as if its business were an endless indagation of cause after cause, without ever coming to the First. So that to avoid this unlearned disgrace, some of the propagators of our best philosophy have had recourse to the contrivance here hinted at. For this philosophy, which is founded on the principle of Gravitation, first considered that property in matter as something extrinsical to it, and impressed by God upon it. Which fairly and modestly coming up to the first Cause, was pushing natural enquiries as far as they should go. But this stopping, though at the extent of our ideas, and on the maxim of the great founder of this Philosophy, Bacon, who says, Circa ultimates rerum fruflranea eft inquifitio, was mistaken by foreign philosophers as recurring to the occult qualities of the Peripatetics; whose sense is thus delivered by a great Poet, whom, indeed, it more became than a Philofopher.
Vidit Cyllenius omnes
Phyfic of Metaphysic begs defence,
Accedunt propius. Videor mihi cernere terrå
Anti-Lucr. To avoid which imaginary discredit to the new theory, it was thought proper to seek for the cause of gravitation in a certain subtile matter or elastic fluid, which pervaded all body. By this means, instead of really advancing in natural enquiries, we were brought back again, by this ingenious expedient, to an unsatisfactory second cause :
Philosophy, that lean'd on Heav'n before,
Shrinks to her second cause, and is no more. For it might still, by the same kind of objection, be asked, what was the cause of that elasticity ? See this folly censured, ver. 475. and confuted in the following words of an excellent Philosopher, who having demonstrated the absolute impofùbility of any subtile matter or elastic fluid's being able to perform the office here assigned to it, as it must impel every particle of matter an infinite number of different ways at once, and incessantly, goes on thus, “ When it is said that the higher we rise in the scale of NATURE towards the supreme cause, the views we have from Philosophy appear more beautiful and extensive; we may observe that the scale of material causes in philosophy is not like the rising scale of Beings in the creation: though the supposed scale here seems to have been taken from that. In the scale of Beings, the beginning is low: and every species rises in perfection as we ascend: There is an amazing variety, from dead matter, to living spirit: nor does the gradation end there. This is full of instruction and delight: we see ourselves in the middle of the scale, and are certain of rising higher, as rational beings were not made for utter extinction. But it is not so in a scale of material CAUSES. There are no degrees of perfection in matter. All matter is equally an unactive substance, that refifts a change of its state. The higher we had ascended in Juch a scale, we should have met with the more obscurity. We see it is so in reality to those who pretend to mount this way. The first fort of matter might perhaps have been seen easily; the
See Mystery to Mathematics fly!
Ver. 645, 646. Physic of Metaphyfic, &c.—And Metaphysic calls, &c.] Certain writers, as Malbranche, Norris, and Berkley, have thought it of importance, in order to secure the existence of the foul, to bring in question the reality of body: which they have attempted to do by a very refined metaphysical reasoning : While others of the fame party, in order to persuade us of the necessity of a Revelation which promises immortality, have been as anxious to prove that those qualities which are commonly supposed to be. long only to an immaterial Being are but the result from certain dispositions of the particles of matter, and consequently that the soul is naturally mortal. Thus, between their different reasonings, these good men have left us neither Soul nor Body; nor the Sciences of Physics and Metaphysics the least support, by making them depend upon, and go a begging to, one another.
Religion blushing veils her sacred fires,
Ver. 654. thy uncreating word : ] After this noble and energetic line, the expression in the next, of_"lets the curtain fall,” is an unhappy defcent in style and imagery.