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May they not pity us, condemn'd to bear
“ And, since the savage lineage we must trace The various heaven of an obliquer sphere; From Noah sav'd, and his distinguish'd race ; While by fix'd laws, and with a just return, [burn; How should their fathers happen to forget They feel twelve hours that shade, for twelve that The arts which Noah taught, the rules he set, And praise the neighbouring Sun, whose constant To sow the glebe, to plant the generous vine, flame
And load with grateful flames the holy shrine ; Enlightens them with seasons still the same ? While the great sire's unhappy sons are found, And may not those, whose distant lot is cast Unpress'd their vintage, and untillid their ground, North beyond Tartary's extended waste;
Straggling o'er dale and hill in quest of food, Where through the plains of one continual day And rude of arts, of virtue, and of God ? Six shining months pursue their even way,
“ How shall we next o'er earth and seas pursue And six succeeding urge their dusky flight, The varied forms of every thing we view ; Obscur'd with vapours, and o'erwhelm'd in night? That all is chang'd, though all is still the same, May not, I ask, the natives of these climes Fluid the parts, yet durable the frame ? (As annals may inform succeeding times)
Of those inaterials, which have been confessid To our quotidian change of heaven prefer
The pristine springs and parents of the rest, Their own vicissitude, and equal share
Each becomes other. Water stopp'd gives birth Of day and night, disparted through the year? To grass and plants, and thickens into earth : May they not scorn our Sun's repeated race, Diffus’d, it rises in a higher sphere, To narrow bounds prescrib'd, and little space, Dilates its drops, and softens into air : Hastening from morn, and headlong driven from Those finer parts of air again aspire, noon,
Move into warmth, and brighten into fire : Half of our daily toil yet scarcely done?
The fire, once more by thicker air o'ercome, May they not justly to our climes upbraid
And downward forc'd, in Earth's capacious womb Shortness of night, and penury of shade;
Alters its particles; is fire no more,
Or, running through the mighty mother's veins, Another Sun demands return of care,
Changes its shape, puts off its old remains;
With watery parts its lessen'd force divides,
“ Disparted streams shall from their channels fly, Uninterrupted voyages they take
And, deep surcharg'd, by sandy mountains lie, To the remotest wood, and farthest lake;
Obscurely sepulcher'd. By beating rain, Manage the fishing, and pursue the course [force? And furious wind, down to the distant plain With more extended nerves, and more continued | The hill, that hides his head above the skies, And, when declining day forsakes their sky, Shall fall; the plain, by slow degrees, shall rise When gathering clouds speak gloomy winter nigh; Higher than erst had stood the summit-hill ; With plenty for the coming season blest,
For Time must Nature's great behest fulfil.
And travellers inquire where Babel stood.
Where to our eye more rarely they appear,
“ In foreign isles, which our discoverers find, Let human wit their dubious boundaries place : Far from this length of continent disjoin'd, Are all things miracle, or nothing such ? The rugged bear's, or spotted lynx's brood, And prove we not too little, or too much? Frighten the vallies, and infest the wood;
“ For, that a branch cut off, a wither'd rod, The hungry crocodile, and hissing snake,
Should, at a word pronounc'd, revive and bud ; Lurk in the troubled stream and fenny brake; Is this more strange, than that the mountain's brow And man, untaught and ravenous as the beast, Stripp'd by December's frost, and white with snow, Does valley, wood, and brake, and stream, infest : Should push in spring ten thousand thousand buds, Deriv'd these men and animals their birth
And boast returning leaves, and blooming woods? From trunk of oak, or pregnant womb of Earth ? That each successive night, from opening Heaven, Whence then the old belief, that all began
The food of angels should to man be given ; In Eden's shade, and one created man ?
Is this more strange, than that with common bread Or, grant this progeny was wafted o'er,
Our fainting bodies every day are fed ? By coasting boats, from next adjacent shore ; Than that each grain and seed, consum'd in earth, Would those, from whom we will suppose they Raises its store, and multiplies its birth, spring,
And from the handful, which the tiller sows, Slaughter to harmless lands and poison bring? The labour'd fields rejoice, and future harvest Would they on board or bears or lynxes take,
flows. Feed the she-adder, and the brooding snake ? “ Then, from whate'er we can to sense produce, Or could they think the new-discover'd isle Common and plain, or wondrous and abstruse, Pleas'd to receive a pregnant crocodile ?
From Nature's constant or eccentric laws, Of airy columns every moment broke,
Yet this solution but once more affords
And take the doubt the very same I gave. A First, a Source, a Life, a Deity;
“ Lo! as a giant strong, the lusty Sun What has for ever been, and must for ever be. Multiply'd rounds in one great round does run;
“ This great Existence, thus by reason found, Twofold his course, yet constant his career, Blest by all power, with all perfection crown'd; Changing the day, and finishing the year. How can we bind or limit his decree,
Again, when his descending orb retires, By what our ear has heard, or eye may see? And Earth perceives the absence of his fires; Say then, is all in heaps of water lost,
The Moon affords us her alternate ray, Beyond the islands, and the mid-land coast ? And with kind beams distributes fainter day, Or has that God, who gave our world its birth, Yet keeps the stages of her monthly race; Sever'd those waters by some other earth,
Various her beams, and changeable her face. Countries by future plough-shares to be torn, Each planet, shining in his proper sphere, And cities raised by nations yet unborn!
Does with just speed his radiant voyage steer ; Ere the progressive course of restless age
Each sees his lamp with different lustre crown'd; Performs three thousand times its annual stage, Each knows his course with different periods bound; May not our power and learning be supprest, And, in his passage through the liquid space, And arts and empire learn to travel west ?
Nor hastens, nor retards, his neighbour's race. “ Where, by the strength of this idea charm'd, Now, shine these planets with substantial rays? Lighten'd with glory, and with rapture warm’d, Does innate lustre gild their measur'd days? Ascends my soul ? what sees she white and great Or do they (as your schemes, I think, have shown) Amidst subjected seas ? An isle, the seat
Dart furtive beams and glory not their own, Of power and plenty ; her imperial throne, All servants to that source of light, the Sun? For justice and for mercy sought and known; “ Again I see ten thousand thousand stars Virtues sublime, great attributes of Heaven, Nor cast in lines, in circles, nor in squares, From thence to this distinguish'd nation given. (Poor rules, with which our bounded mind is filled, Yet farther west the western Isle extends
When we would plant, or cultivate, or build,) Her happy fame; her armed fleet she sends But shining with such vast, such various light, To climates folded yet from human eye,
As speaks the hand, that form'd them, infinite. And lands, which we imagine wave and sky. How mean the order and perfection sought, From pole to pole she hears her acts resound, In the best product of the human throught, And rules an empire by no ocean bound;
Compar'd to the great harmony that reigns Knows her ships anchor'd, and her sails unfurl'd, In what the Spirit of the world ordains ! In other Indies, and a second world.
“ Now if the Sun to Earth transmits his ray, Long shall Britannia (that must be her name) Yet does not scorch us with too fierce a day! Be first in conquest, and preside in fame : How small a portion of his power is given Long shall her favour'd monarchy engage
To orbs more distant, and remoter Heaven? The teeth of Envy, and the force of Age :
And of those stars, which our imperfect eye Rever'd and happy she shall long remain,
Has doom'd and fix'd to one eternal sky, Of human things least changeable, least vain. Each, by a native stock of honour great, Yet all must with the general doom comply, May dart strong influence, and diffuse kind heat, And this great glorious power, tho' last, must die. (Itself a sun) and with transmissive light
“ Now let us leave this Earth, and lift our eye Enliven worlds deny'd to human sight. To the large convex of yon azure sky :
Around the circles of their ambient skies Behold it like an ample curtain spread,
New moons may grow or wane, may set or rise, Now streak'd and glowing with the morning red; And other stars may to those suns be earths, Anon at noon in flaming yellow bright,
Give their own elements their proper births, And choosing sable for the peaceful night.
Divide their climes, or elevate their pole, Ask Reason now, whence light and shade were given, See their lands flourish, and their oceans roll: And whence this great variety of Heaven.
Yet these great orbs, thus radically bright, Reason, our guide, what can she more reply, Primitive founts, and origins of light, Than that the Sun illuminates the sky;
May each to other (as their different sphere Than that night rises from his absent ray,
Makes or their distance or their light appear) And his returning lustre kindles day?
Be seen a nobler or inferior star, “ But we expect the morning-red in vain : And, in that space which we call air and sky, 'Tis bid in vapours, or obsour'd by rain.
Myriads of earths, and moons, and suns, may lie, The noon-tide yellow we in vain require:
Unmeasur'd and unknown by human eye. 'Tis black in storm, or red in lightning fire.
“ In vain we measure this amazing sphere, Pitchy and dark the night sometimes appears,
And find and fix its centre here or there; Friend to our woe, and parent of our fears : Whilst its circumference, scorning to be brought Our joy and wonder sometimes she excites, Ev'n into fancy'd space, illudes our vanquisi'd With stars unnumber’d, and eternal lights.
thought. Send forth, ye wise, send forth your labouring “ Where then are all the radiant monsters driven, thought;
With which your guesses fill'd the frighten'd Let it return with empty notions fraught,
Where will their fictious images remain ?
“ Now are they air condens'd, or gather'd rays? In paper-schemes, and the Chaldean's brain. How guide they then our prayer, or keep our ways,
« This problem yet, this offspring of a guess, By stronger blasts still subject to be tost, Let us for once a child of truth confess,
By tempests scatter'd, and in whirlwinds lost? That these fair stars, these objects of delight
“ Have they again (as sacred song proclaims) And terrour to our searching dazzled sight, Substances real, and existing frames ? Are worlds immense, unnumber'd, infinite. How comes it, since with them we jointly share But do these worlds display their beams, or guide The great effect of one Creator's care, Their orbs, to serve thy use, to please thy pride ? That, whilst our bodies sicken and decay, Thyself but dust, thy stature but a span,
Theirs are for ever healthy, young, and gay? A moment thy duration, foolish man !
Why, whilst we struggle in this vale beneath As well may the minutest emmet say,
With want and sorrow, with disease and death, That Caucasus was rais'd to pave his way;
Do they, more bless'd, perpetual life employ The snail, that Lebanon's extended wood
On songs of pleasure, and in scenes of joy ? Was destin'd only for his walk and food;
“ Now when my mind has all this world survey'd, The vilest cockle, gaping on the coast
And found, that nothing by itself was made ; That rounds the ample seas, as well may boast, When thought has rais'd itself, by just degrees, The craggy rock projects above the sky,
From vallies crown'd with flowers, and hills with That he in safety at its foot may lie ;
trees; And the whole ocean's confluent waters swell, (shell. From smoaking mineral, and from rising streams; Only to quench his thirst, or move and blanch bis From fattening Nilus, or victorious Thames;
“ A higher flight the venturous goddess tries, From all the living, that four-footed move Leaving material worlds and local skies;
Along the shore, the meadow, or the grove;
From the poor reptile with a reasoning soul, (I offer only what tradition taught,)
That miserable master of the whole ; Èmbattled cherub against cherub rose,
From this great object of the body's eye, Did shield to shield, and power to power oppose;
This fair half-round, this ample azure sky, Heaven rung with triumph, Hell was fills with Terribly large, and wonderfully bright,
With stars unnumber'd, and unmeasur'd light; What were these forms of which your volumes tell, From essences unseen, celestial names, How some fought great, and others recreant fell ? Enlightening spirits, and ministerial Alames, These bound to bear an everlasting load,
Angels, dominions, potentates, and thrones, Durance of chain, and banishment of God;
All that in each degree the name of creature owns : By fatal turns their wretched strength to tire, Lift we our reason to that sovereign Cause, [laws: To swim in sulphurous lakes, or land on solid fire: Who blest the whole with life, and bounded it with While those, exalted to primeval light,
Who forth from nothing call'd this comely frame, Excess of blessing, and supreme delight,
His will and act, his word and work the same; Only perceive some little pause of joys
To whom a thousand years are but a day; In those great moments when their God employs Who bade the Light her genial beams display, Their ministry, to pour his threaten'd hate
And set the Moon, and taught the Sun its way; On the proud king, or the rebellious state; Who, waking Time, his creature, from the source Or to reverse Jehovah's high command,
Primeval, order'd his predestin'd course; And speak the thunder falling from his hand, Himself, as in the hollow of his hand, When to his duty the proud king returns,
Holding, obedient to his high command, And the rebellious state in ashes mourns;
The deep abyss, the long-continued store, (pour How can good angels be in Heaven confin'd, Where months, and days, and hours, and minutes Or view that presence, which no space can bind ? Their floating parts, and thenceforth are no more : Is God above, beneath, or yon, or here?
This Alpha and Omega, first and last, He who made all, is he not every where ?
Who like the potter in a mould has cast Oh, how can wicked angels find a night
The world's great framne, commanding it to be So dark, to hide them from that piercing light, Such as the eyes of Sense and Reason see; Which form’d the eye, and gave the power of sight? Yet if he wills may change or spoil the whole ;
“ What mean I now of angel, when I hear May take yon' beauteous, mystic, starry roll, Firm body, spirit pure, or fluid air?
And burn it like an useless parchment scroll ; Spirits to action spiritual confin'd,
May from its basis in one moment pour
Who, sole in power, at the beginning said,
And it was so :
- and, when he shall ordain Else how could Abraham wash their weary'd feet? In other sort, has but to speak again, Or Sarah please their taste with savoury meat ? And they shall be no more: of this great theme, Whence should they fear? or why did Lot engage This glorious, hallow'd, everlasting name, To save their bodies from abusive rage?
This Gon, I would discourse.". And how could Jacob, in a real fight,
The learned elders sat appali'd, amaz'd, Feel or resist the wrestling angel's might? And each with mutual look on other gaz'd; How could a form in strength with matter try? Nor speech they meditate, nor answer frame, Or how a spirit touch a mortal's thigh?
(Too plain, alas! their silence spake their shame)
Till one, in whom an outward mien appear'd, Various discussions tear our heated brain ;
Opinions often turn; still doubts remain;
How narrow limits were to Wisdom given ! That mine to speak, and theirs was to obey; Earth she surveys; she thence would measure For I in knowledge more than power did sway:
Heaven : And the astonish'd world in me beheld
Through mists obscure now wings her tedious way; Moses eclips'd, and Jesse's son excell'd.
Now wanders dazzled with too bright a day; Humble a second bow'd, and took the word ; And from the summit of a pathless coast Foresaw my name by future age ador'd:
Sees infinite, and in that sight is lost. “ O live," said he, “ thou wisest of the wise;
Remember, that the curs'd desire to know, As none has equallid, none shall ever rise
Offspring of Adam! was thy source of woe. Excelling thee.”
Why wilt thou then renew the vain pursuit, Parent of wicked, bane of honest deeds,
And rashly catch at the forbidden fruit; Pernicious Flattery! thy malignant seeds,
With empty labour and eluded strife In an ill hour, and by a fatal hand,
Seeking, by knowledge, to attain to life ; Sadly diffus'd o'er Virtue's gleby land,
For ever from that fatal tree debarr'd, With rising pride amidst the corn appear,
Which Aaming swords and angry cherubs guard ? And choke the hopes and harvest of the year.
And now the whole perplex'd ignoble crowd,
Book II. — PLEASURE.
Texts chiefly alluded to in Book II.
“ I said in my own heart, Go to now, I will prove My prophets and my sophists finish'd here thee with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure.". The civil efforts of the verbal war:
EccLEs. chap. ii. ver. 1. Not so my rabbins and logicians yield;
“ I made me great works, I builded me houses, I Retiring, still they combat; from the field
planted me vineyards.". Ver. 4. Of open arms unwilling they depart, And skulk behind the subterfuge of art.
“ I made me gardens and orchards; and I planted To speak one thing, mix'd dialects they join,
trees in them of all kind of fruits." - Ver. 5. Divide the simple, and the plain define;
“ I made me pools of water, to water therewith the Fix fancy'd laws, and form imagin'd rules,
wood that bringeth forth trees." - Ver. 6. Terms of their art, and jargon of their schools,
“ Then I looked on all the works that my hands had Ill-grounded maxims, by false gloss enlarg'a, And captious science against reason charg'd.
wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured
to do: and behold all was vanity and vexation of Soon their crude notions with each other fought; The adverse sect deny'd what this had taught;
spirit; and there was no profit under the Sun."
“ I gat me men-singers and women-singers, and the O wretched impotence of human mind!
delights of the sons of men, as musical instruWe, erring still, excuse for errour find,
ments, and that of all sorts." - Ver. 8. And darkling grope, not knowing we are blind. “ I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine,
Vain man ! since first thy blushing sire essay'd (yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom) and His folly with connected leaves to shade,
to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was How does the crime of thy resembling race
that good for the sons of men, which they should With like attempt that pristine errour trace !
do under Heaven all the days of their life." Too plain thy nakedness of soul espy'd,
Ver. 3. Why dost thou strive the conscious shame to hide
“ Then I said in my heart, As it happeneth unto By masks of eloquence and veils of pride ? With outward smiles their flattery I receiv'd,
the fool, so it happeneth even unto me; and why Own'd my sick mind by their discourse reliev'd;
was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, But bent, and inward to myself, again
that this also is vanity." — Ver. 15. Perplex'd, these matters I revolv'd in vain.
“ Therefore I hated life, because the work that is My search still tir'd, my labour still renew'd, wrought under the Sun is grievous unto me." At length I ignorance and knowledge view'd,
Ver. 17. Impartial ; both in equal balance laid, (weigh’d. “ Dead flies cause the ointment to send forth a Light flew the knowing scale, the doubtful heavy
stinking savour : so doth a little folly him that is Forc'd by reflective reason, I confess,
in reputation for wisdom and honour." - Ch. 1. That human science is uncertain guess.
ver. 1. Alas! we grasp at clouds, and beat the air, Vexing that spirit we intend to clear.
“ The memory of the just is blessed, but the meCan thought beyond the bounds of matter climb ?
mory of the wicked shall rot.” – PROVERES, CẢ. I. Or who shall tell me what is space or time?
ver. 7. In vain we lift up our presumptuous eyes To what our Maker to their ken denies :
The Argument. The searcher follows fast; the object faster flies. Solomon, again seeking happiness, inquires if wealth The little which imperfectly we find,
and greatness can produce it; begins with the Seduces only the bewilder'd mind
magnificence of gardens and buildings, the luxury To fruitless search of something yet behind.
of music and feasting; and proceeds to the hopes
and desires of love. In two episodes are shown | Haunted my nights, and terrify'd my days ; the follies and troubles of that passion. Solomon, Stalk'd through my gardens, and pursued my ways, still disappointed, falls under the temptations of Nor shut from artful bower, nor lost in winding libertinism and idolatry; recovers his thought ; reasons aright; and concludes, that, as to the Yet take thy bent, my soul ; another sense pursuit of pleasure and sensual delight, All is Indulge; add music to magnificence : vanity and vexation of spirit.
Essay if harmony may grief control,
Or power of sound prevail upon the soul. Try then, O man, the moments to deceive, Often our seers and poets have confest, That from the womb attend thee to the grave:
That music's force can tame the furious beast For weary'd Nature find some apter scheme: Can make the wolf, or foaming boar, restrain Health be thy hope, and Pleasure be thy theme. His rage ; the lion drop his crested mane, From the perplexing and unequal ways,
Attentive to the song; the lynx forget Where study brings thee; from the endless maze, His wrath to man, and lick the minstrel's feet. Which doubt persuades to run, forewarn’d, recede Are we, alas ! less savage yet than these? To the gay field and flowery path, that lead Else music, sure, may human cares appease. To jocund mirth, soft joy, and careless ease :
I spake my purpose ; and the cheerful choir Forsake what may instruct, for what may please;
Parted their shares of harmony: the lyre Essay amusing art, and proud expense,
Soften'd the timbrel's noise; the trumpet's sound And make thy reason subject to thy sense.
Provok'd the Dorian flute (both sweeter found I commun'd thus : the power of wealth I try'd, When mix'd); the fife the viol's notes refin'd, And all the various luxe of costly pride;
And every strength with every grace was join'd. Artists and plans reliev'd my solemn hours; Each morn they wak'd me with a sprightly lay; I founded palaces, and planted bowers;
Of opening Heaven they sung and gladsome day. Birds, fishes, beasts, of each exotic kind,
Each evening their repeated skill express'd I to the limits of my court confin'd;
Scenes of repose, and images of rest : To trees transferr'd I gave a second birth,
Yet still in vain; for music gather'd thought: And bade a foreign shade grace Judah's earth ; But how unequal the effects it brought ! Fish-ponds were made, where former forests grew,
The soft ideas of the cheerful note, And hills were levell’d to extend the view; Lightly receiv'd, were easily forgot; Rivers diverted from their native course,
The solemn violence of the graver sound And bound with chains of artificial force,
Knew to strike deep, and leave a lasting wound. From large cascades in pleasing tumult rollid, And now reflecting, I with grief descry Or rose through figur'd stone, or breathing gold; The sickly lust of the fantastic eye ; From furthest Africa's tormented womb
How the weak organ is with seeing cloy'd, The marble brought, erects the spacious dome, Flying ere night what it at noon enjoy'd. Or forms the pillars long-extended rows,
And now (unhappy search of thought !) I found On which the planted grove, the pensile garden, The fickle ear soon glutted with the sound, grows.
Condemn'd eternal changes to pursue, The workmen here obey the master's call, Tir'd with the last, and eager of the new. To gild the turret, and to paint the wall,
I bade the virgins and the youth advance, To mark the pavement there with various stone, To temper music with the sprightly dance. And on the jasper steps to rear the throne : In vain! too low the mimic motions seem; The spreading cedar, that an age had stood, What takes our heart must merit our esteem. Supreme of trees, and mistress of the wood, Nature, I thought, perform’d too mean a part, Cut down and carv'd, my shining roof adorns, Forming her movements to the rules of art ; And Lebanon his ruin'd honour mourns.
And, vex’d, I found that the musician's hand A thousand artists show their cunning power,
Had o'er the dancer's mind too great command. To raise the wonders of the ivory tower.
I drank; I lik'd it not ; 'twas rage, 'twas noise, A thousand maidens ply the purple loom,
An airy scene of transitory joys.
Would banish sorrow, and enlarge the soul.
To the late revel, and protracted feast, Till from the Parian isle, and Libya's coast, Wild dreams succeeded, and disorder'd rest; The mountains grieve their hopes of marble lost; And as, at dawn of morn, fair Reason's light And India's woods return their just complaint, Broke through the fumes and phantoms of the night, Their brood decay'd, and want of elephant.
What had been said, I ask'd my soul, what done? My full design with vast expense achiev'd, How flow'd our mirth, and whence the source begun? I came, beheld, admir'd, reflected, griev'd ; Perhaps the jest that charm'd the sprightly crowd, I chid the folly of my thoughtless haste,
And made the jovial table laugh so loud,
To some false notion ow'd its poor pretence,
Offence and torture to the sober ear :
And prudence mention with the last regret. The murex is a shell-fish, of the liquor whereof Add yet unnumber'd ills, that lie unseen a purple colour is made.
In the pernicious draught; the word obscene,