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The doctrine, miracles; which must convince, Then let us either think he meant to say
Flew high; and as his Christian fury rose,
Damn'd all for heretics who durst oppose. Commanding words; whose force is still the same Thus far my charity this path has try'd; As the first fiat that produc'd our frame.
A much unskilful, but well-meaning guide : [bred All faiths beside, or did by arms ascend;
Yet what they are, ev'n these crude thoughts were Or sense indulg'd has made mankind their friend : By reading that which better thou hast read. This only doctrine does our lusts oppose :
Thy matchless author's work: which thou, my friend, Cufed by Nature's soil, in which it grows; By well translating better dost commend: Cross to our interests, curbing sense and sin; Those youthful hours which, of thy equals most Oppress'd without, and undermin'd within,
In toys have squander'd, or in vice have lost, It thrives through pain; its own tormentors tires; Those hours hast thou to nobler use employ'd ; And with a stubborn patience still aspires.
And the severe delights of truth enjoy'd. To what can reason such effects assign
Witness this weighty book, in which appears Transcending nature, but to laws divine;
The crabbed toil of many thoughtful years, Which in that sacred volume are contain'd; Spent by the author, in the sifting care Sufficient, clear, and for that use ordain'd?
Of rabbins old sophisticated ware But stay: the deist here will urge anew,
From gold divine; which he who well can sort No supernatural worship can be true :
May afterwards make algebra a sport.
A treasure, which if country-curates buy,
Save pains in various readings, and translations ; Nor ought that bears reveal'd religion's name. And without Hebrew make most learn'd quotations. 'Tis said the sound of a Messiah's birth
A work so full with various learning fraught, Is gone through all the habitable Earth :
So nicely ponder'd, yet so strongly wrought, But still that text must be confin'd alone
As Nature's height and Art's last hand requir'd : To what was then inhabited and known :
As much as man could compass, uninspir’d. And what provision could from thence accrue Where we may see what errours have been made To Indian souls, and worlds discover'd new ? Both in the copier's and translator's trade : In other parts it helps, that, ages past,
| How Jewish, popish, interests have prevail'd, The Scriptures there were known, and were embrac'd, | And where infallibility has fail'd. Till sin spread once again the shades of night : For some, who have his secret meaning guess'd, What's that to these, who never saw the light? | Have found our author not too much a priest : Of all objections this indeed is chief
For fashion-sake he seems to have recourse
To pope, and councils, and tradition's force :
Could not but find the weakness of the new ;
If God's own people, who of God before Much more may strangers who ne'er heard his name. Knew what we know, and had been promis'd more, And though no name be for salvation known, In fuller terms, of Heaven's assisting care, But that of his eternal Son's alone;
And who did neither time nor study spare Who knows how far transcending goodness can To keep this book untainted, unperplext, Extend the merits of that Son to man?
Let in gross errors to corrupt the text, Who knows what reasons may his mercy lead; Omitted paragraphs, embroil'd the sense, Or ignorance invincible may plead ?
With vain traditions stopt the gaping fence, Not only charity bids hope the best,
Which every common hand pull’d up with ease : Bat more the great apostle has exprest :
What safety from such brushwood-helps as these? * That if the Gentiles, whom no law inspir'd, If written words from time are not secur'd, By nature did what was by law requir’d;
How can we think have oral sounds endur'd ? They, who the written rule had never known, Which thus transmitted, if one mouth has fail'd, Were to themselves both rule and law alone : . Immortal lies on ages are intail'd: To nature's plain indictment they shall plead; And that some such have been, is prov'd too plain ; And by their conscience be condemn’d or freed.” If we consider interest, church, and gain. Most righteous doom! because a rule reveal'd O but, says one, tradition set aside, Is none to those from whom it was conceal’d. Where can we hope for an unerring guide ? Then those who follow'd reason's dictates right; For since th' original Scripture has been lost, Lård up, and lifted high their natural light; All copies disagreeing, maim'd the most, With Socrates may see their Maker's face,
Or christian faith can have no certain ground, While thousand rubric-martyrs want a place. Or truth in church-tradition must be found. Nor does it baulk my charity, to find
Such an omniscient church we wish indeed ; Th’ Egyptian bishop of another mind :
'Twere worth both Testaments ; cast in the creed : For though his creed eternal truth contains, But if this mother be a guide so sure, 'Tis hard for inan to doom to endless pains
As can all doubts resolve, al) truth secure,
Then her infallibility, as well
Restore lost canon with as little pains,
But first they would assume, with wondrous art, As truly explicate what still remains :
Themselves to be the whole, who are but part Which yet no council dare pretend to do;
Of that vast frame the church; yet grant they were Unless like Esdras they could write it new :
The handers-down, can they from thence infer Strange confidence still to interpret true,
A right t'interpret? or would they alone, Yet not be sure that all they have explain'd
Who brought the present, claim it for their own? Is ir. the blest original contain'd.
The book's a common largess to mankind; More safe, and much more modest 'tis, to say Not more for them than every man design'd: God would not leave mankind without a way : The welcome news is in the letter found; And that the Scriptures, though not every where The carrier's not commission'd to expound. Free from corruption, or entire, or clear,
TIt speaks itself, and what it does contain. Are uncorrupt, sufficient, clear, entire,
In all things needful to be known is plain. In all things which our needful faith require.
In times o'ergrown with rust and ignorance, If others in the same glass better see,
A gainful trade their clergy did advance : 'Tis for themselves they look, but not for me : When want of learning kept the laymen low, For my salvation must its doom receive,
And none but priests were authoris'd to know : Not from what others, but what I believe.
When what small knowledge was, in them did dwell; Must all tradition then be set aside ?
And he a god who could but read and spell;
Then mother-church did mightily prevail :
To keep it in her power to damn and save :
Scripture was scarce, and, as the market went,
As necdy men take money good or bad :
The lawyer still was certain to be paid. Shall I speak plain, and in a nation free
In those dark times they learn'd their knack so well, Assume an honest layman's liberty?
That by long use they grew infallible : I think, according to my little skill,
At last a knowing age began t'inquire To my own mother-church submitting still,
If they the book, or that did them inspire : That many have been sav'd, and many may, And, making narrower search, they found, though Who never heard this question brought in play
Then every man who saw the title fair,
Consulted soberly his private good;
And sav'd himself as cheap as e'er he could. Which doctrine, this, or that, does best agree
'Tis true, my friend, and far be flattery hence, With the whole tenour of the work divine :
This good had full as bad a consequence : And plainliest points to Heaven's reveal’d design; The book thus put in every vulgar hand, Which exposition flows from genuine sense, Which each presum'd he best could understand, And which is forc'd by wit and eloquence.
The common rule was made the common prey ; Not that tradition's parts are useless here:
And at the mercy of the rabble lay. When general, old, disinterested, clear :
The tender page with horny fists was gallid ; That ancient fathers thus expound the page, And he was gifted most that loudest bawl'd : Gives truth the reverend majesty of age :
The spirit gave the doctoral degree: Confirms its force by biding every test;
And every member of a company For best authorities, next rules, are best.
Was of his trade, and of the Bible free. And still the nearer to the spring we go
| Plain truths enough for needful use they found ; More limpid, more unsoil'd, the waters flow, But men would still be itching to expound : Thus first traditions were a proof alone;
Each was ambitious of th' obscurest place, Could we be certain such they were, so known : No measure ta'en from knowledge, all from grace. But since some flaws in long descent may be, Study and pains were now no more their care ; They make not truth, but probability.
Texts were explain'd by fasting and by prayer : Ev'n Arius and Pelagius durst provoke
| This was the fruit the private spirit brought; To what the centuries preceding spoke.
| Occasion'd by great zeal and little thought. Such difference is there in an oft-told tale :
While crowds unlearn’d, with rude devotion warm, But truth by its own sinews will prevail.
About the sacred viands buz and swarm. Tradition written therefore more commends
The fly-blown text creates a crawling brood; Authority, than what from voice descends :
And turns to maggots what was meant for food. And this, as perfect as its kind can be,
A thousand daily sects rise up and die; Rolls down to us the sacred history :
A thousand more the perish'd race supply : Which, from the universal church receiv'd,
So all we make of Heaven's discover'd will, Is try'd, and after, for itself believ'd.
Is, not to have it, or to use it ill. The partial papists would infer from hence The danger's much the same ; on several shelves Their church, in last resort, should judge the sense. If others wreck us, or we wreck ourselves.
What then remains, but, waving each extreme, Ere canvass yet was strain'd, before the grace The tides of ignorance and pride to stem?
Of blended colours found their use and place, Neither so rich a treasure to forego;
Or cypress tablets first receiv'd a face. Nor proudly seek beyond our power to know : By slow degrees the godlike art advanc'd ; Faith is not built on disquisitions vain;
As man grew polish'd, picture was enhanc'd : The things we must believe are few and plain : Greece added posture, shade, and perspective; But, since men will believe more than they need, And then the mimic piece began to live. And every man will make himself a creed,
Yet perspective was lame, no distance true, In doubtful questions 'tis the safest way
But all came forward in one common view; To learn what unsuspected ancients say :
No point of light was known, no bounds of art; For 'tis not likely we should higher soar
When light was there, it knew not to depart, In search of Heaven, than all the church before : But glaring on remoter objects play'd ; Nor can we be deceiv'd, unless we see
Not languish'd, and insensibly decay'd. The Scripture and the fathers disagree.
Rome rais'd not art, but barely kept alive, If after all they stand suspected still,
And with old Greece unequally did strive : For no man's faith depends upon his will ;
Till Goths and Vandals, a rude northern race, 'Tis some relief, that points not clearly known Did all the matchless monuments deface. Without much hazard may be let alone ·
Then all the Muses in one ruin lie, And, after hearing what our church can say, And rhyme began t'enervate poetry If still our reason runs another way,
Thus, in a stupid military state, That private reason 'tis more just to curb,
The pen and pencil find an equal fate. Than by disputes, the public peace disturb,
Flat faces, such as would disgrace a screen,
Unrais'd, unrounded, were the rude delight
Long time the sister arts, in iron sleep,
A heavy sabbath did supinely keep : As fittest for discourse, and nearest prose :
At length, in Raphael's age, at once they rise, For while from sacred truth I do not swerve, Stretch all their limbs, and open all their eyes. Tora Sternhold's or Tom Shadwell's rhymes will | Thence rose the Roman, and the Lombard line : serve.
One colour'd best, and one did best design.
Thy genius gives thee both ; where true design,
Postures unforc'd, and lively colours join. TO SIR GODFREY KNELLER, Likeness is ever there ; but still the best,
Like proper thoughts in lofty language drest; PRINCIPAL PAINTER TO HIS MAJESTY.
Where light, to shades descending, plays, not strives, ONCE I beheld the fairest of her kind,
Dies by degrees, and by degrees revives. And still the sweet idea charms my mind :
Of various parts a perfect whole is wrought : True, she was dumb; for Nature gaz'l so long, Thy pictures think, and we divine their thought. Pleas'd with her work, that she forgot her tongue; Shakspeare, thy gift, I place before my sight : But, smiling, said, “ She still shall gain the prize ; | With awe, I ask his blessing ere I write; I only have transferr'd it to her eyes."
With reverence look on his majestic face; Such are thy pictures, Kneller: such thy skill, Proud to be less, but of his godlike race, That Nature seems obedient to thy will;
His soul inspires me, while thy praise I write, Caroes out, and meets thy pencil in the draught; And I, like Teucer, under Ajax fight. (breast Lives there, and wants but words to speak her Bids thee, through me, be bold ; with dauntless thought.
Contemn the bad, and emulate the best. At least thy pictures look a voice; and we
Like his, thy critics, in th' attempt are lost: Iraagine sounds, deceiv'd to that degree,
When most they rail, know then, they envy most. We think 'tis somewhat more than just to see. In vain they snarl aloof; a noisy crowd, Shadows are but privations of the light;
Like women's anger, impotent and loud. Yet, when we walk, they shoot before the sight; While they their barren industry deplore With us approach, retire, arise, and fall;
Pass on secure, and mind the goal before. Nothing themselves, and yet expressing all. Old as she is, my Muse shall march behind Sach are thy pieces, imitating life
Bear off the blast, and intercept the wind. So near, they almost conquer in the strife;
Our arts are sisters, though not twins in birth : And from their animated canvass came,
For hymns were sung in Eden's happy earth : Dembanding souls, and loosen'd from the frame. But oh, the painter Muse, though last in place,
Prometheus, were he here, would cast away Has seiz'd the blessing first, like Jacob's race. His Adam, and refuse a soul to clay ;
Apelles' art an Alexander found; And either would thy noble work inspire,
And Raphael did with Leo's gold abound; Or think it warm enough without his fire.
But Homer was with barren laurel crown'd. Bat vulgar hands may vulgar likeness raise; Thou hadst thy Charles a while, and so had I; This is the least attendant on thy praise :
But pass we that unpleasing image by. From bence the rudiments of art began;
Rich in thyself, and of thyself divine ; A coal, or chalk, first imitated man :
All pilgrims come and offer at thy shrine. Perhaps the shadow, taken on a wall,
A graceful truth thy pencil can command ; Gave outlines to the rude original ;
The fair themselves go mended from thy hand.
Likeness appears in every fineament ;
THE COCK AND THE FOX:
OR THE TALE OF THE NUN'S PRIEST.
A widow, somewhat old, and very poor :
This dowager, on whom my tale I found,
And pinch'd her belly, with her daughters two, All nations all immunities will give
To bring the year about with much ado. To make you theirs, where'er you please to live; The cattle in her homestead were three sows, And not seven cities, but the world would strive. An ewe call'd Mallie, and three brinded cows.
Sure some propitious planet then did smile, Her parlour-window stuck with herbs around, When first you were conducted to this isle : Of savoury smell ; and rushes strew'd the ground. Our genius brought you here, t'enlarge our fame ; | A maple-dresser in her hall she had, For your good stars are every where the same. On which full many a slender meal she made; Thy matchless hand, of every region free,
For no delicious morsel pass'd her throat; Adopts our climate, not our climate thee.
According to her cloth she cut her coat : Great Rome and Venice early did impart No poignant sauce she knew, nor costly treat, To thee th' examples of their wondrous art.
Her hunger gave a relish to her meat :
Or, sick, a pepper posset was her cure.
If yet thou hast not reach'd their high degree, With exercise she sweat ill humours out, 'Tis only wanting to this age, not thee.
Her dancing was not hinder'd by the gout. Thy genius, bounded by the times, like mine, Her poverty was glad ; her heart content; Drudges on petty draughts, nor dare design Nor knew she what the spleen or vapours meant. A more exalted work, and more divine.
Of wine she never tasted through the year, For what a song, or senseless opera,
But white and black was all her homely cheer : Is to the living labour of a play ;
Brown bread, and milk, (but first she skimm'd her Or what a play to Virgil's work would be,
bowls) Such is a single piece to history.
And rashers of sing'd bacon on the coals. But we, who life bestow, ourselves must live : On holy days an egg, or two at most; Kings cannot reign, unless their subjects give : But her ambition never reach'd to roast. And they, who pay the taxes, bear the rule:
A yard she had with pales enclos'd about, Thus, thou, sometimes, art forc'd to draw a fool : Some high, some low and a dry ditch without. But so his follies in thy posture sink,
Within this homestead, liv'd, without a peer,
Good Heaven ! that sots and knaves should be so So highit her cock, whose singing did surpass
More certain was the crowing of the cock
To number hours, than is an abbey-clock; Else should we see your noble pencil trace And sooner than the matin-bell was rung, Our unities of action, time, and place :
He clapp'd his wings upon his roost, and sung. A whole compos'd of parts, and those the best, | For when degrees fifteen ascended right, With every various character exprest ;
By sure instinct he knew 'twas one at night. Heroes at large, and at a nearer view :
High was his comb, and coral-red withal, Less, and at distance, an ignobler crew.
In dents embaltled like a castle wall; While all the figures in one action join,
His bill was raven-black, and shone like jet; As tending to complete the main design.
Blue were his legs, and orient were his feet: More cannot be by mortal art exprest;
White were his nails, like silver to behold, But venerable age shall add the rest,
His body glittering like the burnish'd gold. For Time shall with his ready pencil stand;
This gentle cock, for solace of his life, Retouch your figures with his ripening hand; Six misses had, besides his lawful wife; Mellow your colours, and imbrown the teint; Scandal, that spares no king, though ne'er so good, Add every grace, which Time alone can grant ; Says, they were all of his own Aesh and blood, To future ages shall your fame convey,
| His sisters both by sire and mother's side; And give more beauties than he takes away. And sure their likeness show'd them near ally'd.
But make the worst, the monarch did no more,
Tis made no sin by holy dispensation.
But passing this, as from our tale apart,
| How dar'st thou tell thy dame thou art affear'd ? Dame Partlet was the sovereign of his heart : | Hast thou no manly heart, and hast a beard ? Ardent in love, outrageous in his play,
“If aught from fearful dreains Inay be divin'd, He feather'd her a hundred times a day:
They signify a cock of dunghill kind. And she, that was not only passing fair,
All dreams, as in old Galen I have read, But was withal discreet, and debonair,
Are from repletion and complexion bred; Resolv'd the passive doctrine to fulfil,
From rising fumes of indigested food, Though loth ; and let him work his wicked will: And noxious humours that infect the blood : At board and bed was affable and kind,
And sure, my lord, if I can read aright, According as their marriage vow did bind,
These foolish fancies you have had to-night
Are certain symptoms (in the canting style)
This yellow gall, that in your stomach floats,
Engenders all these visionary thoughts.
Red dragons, and red beasts in sleep we view,
And wasps and hornets with their double wings. But, oh! what joy it was to hear him sing
Choler adust congeals our blood with fear, In summer, when the day began to spring,
Then black bulls toss us, and black devils tear. Stretching his neck, and warbling in his throat, In sanguine airy dreams aloft we bound, " Solus cum sola," then was all his note.
With rheums oppress'd we sink, in rivers drown'd. For in the days of yore, the birds of parts [arts. “More I could say, but thus conclude my theme, Were bred to speak, and sing, and learn the liberal The dominating humour makes the dream.
It happ'd, that, perching on the parlour-beam Cato was in his time accounted wise,
And he condemns them all for empty lies.
With laxatives preserve your body sound,
And purge the peccant humours that abound. Heard all his piteous moan, and how he cry'd
I should be loth to lay you on a bier ; For help from gods and men : and sore aghast And though there lives no 'pothecary near, She peck'd and pull’d, and waken'd him at last. I dare for once prescribe for your disease, "Dear heart," said she," for love of Heaven, declare And save long bills, and a damn'd doctor's fees. Your pain, and make me partner of your care. “ Two sovereign herbs, which I by practice You groan, sir, ever since the morning-light,
know, As something had disturb'd your noble spright." And both at hand (for in our yard they grow);
" And, madam, well I might,” said Chanticleer, On peril of my soul shall rid you wholly * Never was shrovetide cock in such a fear; | Of yellow choler, and of melancholy: Er'n still I run all over in a sweat,
You must both purge and vomit; but obey, My princely senses not recover'd yet.
And for the love of Heaven make no delay. For such a dream I had of dire portent,
Since hot and dry in your complexion join, That much I fear my body will be shent :
Beware the Sun when in a vernal sign; It bodes I shall have wars and woeful strife,
For when he mounts exalted in the Ram,
If then he finds your body in a flame,
Perhaps a fever (which the gods forefend)
And therefore, sir, as you desire to live,
These digestives prepare you for your purge;
And of ground-ivy add a leaf or two,
Eat these, and be, my lord, of better cheer; " Now' fy for shame," quoth she, “ by Heaven Your father's son was never born to fear." above,
“Madam," quoth he, “ grammercy for your care, Thou hast for ever lost thy lady's love;
| But Cato, whom you quoted, you may spare: No woman can endure a recreant knight,
'Tis true, a wise and worthy man he seems, He must be bold by day, and free by night: And (as you say) gave no belief to dreams : Our xx desires a husband or a friend,
But other men of more authority, Who can our honour and his own defend ;
And, by th' immortal powers, as wise as he, Wise, hardy, secret, liberal of his purse :
Maintain, with sounder sense, that drcains forebode ; A fool is nauseous, but a coward worse :
For Homer plainly says they come from God. No bragging coscomb, yet no baffled knight, | Nor Cato said it : but some modern fool How dar'st thou talk of love, and dar'st not fight? Impos'd in Cato's name on boys at school.