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Or, conscious of the coming evil, fly
For the kind gifts of water and of food To milder regions, and a southern sky?
Ungrateful, and returning ill for good, “Of beasts and creeping insects shall we trace He seeks his keeper's flesh, and thirsts his blood : The wondrous nature, and the various race; While the strong camel, and the generous horse, Or wild or tame, or friend to man or foe,
Restrain'd and aw'd by man's inferior force, Of us what they, or what of them we know? Do to the rider's will their rage submit,
“Tell me, ye studious, who pretend to see And answer to the spur, and own the bit; Far into Nature's bosom, whence the bee Stretch their glad mouths to meet the feeder's hand, Was first informd her venturous flight to steer Pleas'd with his weight, and proud of his cominand Through trackless paths, and an abyss of air ? “Again: the lonely fox roams far abroad, Whence she avoids the slimy marsh, and knows On secret rapine bent, and midnight fraud; The fertile hills, where sweeter herbage grows, Now haunts the cliff, now traverses the lawn, And honey-making flowers their opening buds dis- And flies the hated neighborhood of man : close ?
While the kind spaniel and the faithful hound, How from the thicken'd mist, and setting sun, Likest that fox in shape and species found, Finds she the labor of her day is done?
Refuses through these cliffs and lawns to roam, Who taught her against winds and rains to strive, Pursues the noted path, and covets home, To bring her burthen to the certain hive; Does with kind joy domestic faces meet, And through the liquid fields again to pass, Takes what the glutted child denies to eat, Duteous, and hearkening to the sounding brass ? And, dying, licks his long-lov'd master's feet.
And, O thou sluggard, tell me why the ant, “ By what immediate cause they are inclin'd, 'Midst summer's plenty, thinks of winter's want, In many acts, 'tis hard, I own, to find. By constant journeys careful to preparo
I see in others, or I think I see,
Abhor the poison, and receive the food.
To joy the friend, or grapple with the foe. The marks of thought, contrivance, hope, and fear. With seeming thought their action they intend; “ Fix thy corporeal and internal eye
And use the means proportion’d to the end.
That reason guides our deed, and instinct theirs.
"With the same folly, sure, man vaunts his sway Laying their eggs, they evidently prove
If the brute beast refuses to obey.
Proclaims himself the universal lord,
Does he not tremble, lest the lion's paw Has limbs and sinews, blood and heart, and brain, Should join his plea against the fancied law? Life and her proper functions to sustain,
Would not the learned coward leave the chair, Though the whole fabric smaller than a grain. If in the schools or porches should appear What more can our penurious reason grant The fierce hyena, or the foaming bear? To the large whale, or castled elephant;
“The combatant too late the field declines, To those enormous terrors of the Nile,
When now the sword is girded to his loins. The crested snake, and long-tail'd crocodile : When the swift vessel flies before the wind, Than that all differ but in shape and name,
Too late the sailor views the land behind. Each destin'd to a less or larger frame?
And 'tis too late now back again to bring “For potent Nature loves a various act, Inquiry, rais'u and towering on the wing: Prone to enlarge, or studious to contract;
Forward she strives, averse to be withheld
Anxious I ask you, how the pensile ball
Should never strive to rise, nor fear to fall ? Becomes mixt blackness, or unparted light. When I reflect how the revolving Sun Water and air the varied form confound;
Does round our globe his crooked journeys run, The straight looks crooked, and the square grows I doubt of many lands, if they contain round.
Or herd of beast, or colony of man;
The rage of Arctos and eternal frost.
To each of these some secret good dispense?
“ Untam'd and fierce the tiger still remains, See daily showers rejoice the thirsty earth, He tires his life in biting on his chains :
And bless the lowery buds' succeeding birth :
May they not pity us, condemn'd to bear Or could they think the new-discover'd isle
"And, since the savage lineage we must trace They feel twelve hours that shade, for twelve that From Noah sav’d, and his distinguish'd race; burn;
How should their fathers happen to forget And praise the neighboring Sun, whose constant The arts which Noah taught, the rules he set, flame
To sow the glebe, to plant the generous vine, Enlightens them with seasons still the same? And load with grateful flames the holy shrine ; And may not those, whose distant lot is cast While the great sire's unhappy sons are found, North beyond Tartary's extended waste;
Unpress'd their vintage, and untilld their ground, Where through the plains of one continual day Straggling o'er dale and hill in quest of food, Six shining months pursue their even way, And rude of arts, of virtue, and of God? And six succeeding urge their dusky flight,
“How shall we next o'er earth and seas pursue Obscur'd with vapors, and o'erwhelm'd in night? The varied forms of every thing we view; May not, I ask, the natives of these climes That all is chang'd, though all is still the same, (As annals may inform succeeding times) Fluid the parts, yet durable the frame? To our quotidian change of heaven prefer of those materials, which have been confes Their own vicissitude, and equal share
The pristine springs and parents of the rest, Of day and night, disparted through the year? Each becomes other. Water stopp'd gives birth May they not scorn our Sun's repeated race, To grass and plants, and thickens into earth : To narrow bounds prescrib'd, and little space, Diffus’d, it rises in a higher sphere, Hastening from morn, and headlong driven from Dilates its drops, and softens into air : noon,
Those finer parts of air again aspire, Half of our daily toil yet scarcely done?
Move into warmth, and brighten into fire : May they not justly to our climes upbraid The fire, once more by thicker air o'ercome, Shortness of night, and penury of shade;
And downward forc'd, in Earth's capacious womb That, ere our wearied limbs are justly blest Alters its particles; is fire no more, With wholesome sleep, and necessary rest, But lies resplendent dust, and shining ore; Another Sun demands return of care,
Or, running through the mighty mother's veins, The remnant toil of yesterday to bear?
Changes its shape, puts off its old remains; Whilst, when the solar beams salute their sight, With watery parts its lessen'd force divides, Bold and secure in half a year of light,
Flows into waves, and rises into tides. Uninterrupted voyages they take
Disparted streams shall from their channels fly, To the remotest wood, and farthest lake;
And, deep surcharg'd, by sandy mountains lie, Manage the fishing, and pursue the course Obscurely sepulchred. By beating rain, With more extended nerves, and more continued And furious wind, down to the distant plain, force ?
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. Six solid months (an age) they live, releas'd
“ Thus, by a length of years and change of fate, From all the labor, process, clamor, woe,
All things are light or heavy, small or great:
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 valleys, 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 hundful, which the tiller sows, Slaughter to harmless lands and poison bring? The labor'd fields rejoice, and future harvest flows. Would they on board or bears or lynxes take,
Then, from whate'er we can to sense produce Feed the she-adder, and the brooding snake? Common and plain, or wondrous and abstruse
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. Multiplied 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 midland 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 plowshares to be torn, Each planet, shining in his proper sphere, And cities rais'd 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 thougand 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 neighbor'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 warmd, 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 fill'd, 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 10 pole she hears her acts resound, In the best product of the human thought, And rules an empire by no ocean bound;
Compar'd to the great harmony that reigns
“ 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 favor 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 honor great, Yet all must with the general doom comply, May dart strong influence, and diffuse kind heal, 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 denied to human sight. To the largo 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 hid in vapors, or obscurd by rain.
Myriads of earths, and moons, and suns, may lie The noontido 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 fancied space, eludes our vanquish'd With stars unnumber'd, and eternal lights.
thought. Send forth, ye wise, send forth your laboring “ 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. Ilow 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 tempesis scatter'd, and in whirlwinds lost? That these fair stars, these objects of delight
Have they again (as sacred song proclaims) And terror 10 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 onc Creator's care, Their orhs, 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
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 valleys 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 smoking mineral, and from rising streams ; Only to quench his thirst, or move and blanch his From fattening Nilus, or victorious Thames;
"A higher flight the venturous goddess tries, From all the living, that four-footed niove 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 ; Embattled 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 fill’d 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, ministerial flames, These bound to bear an everlasting load,
Angels, dominions, potentates, and thronies, 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, 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,
laws; Excess of blessing, and supreme delight,
Who forth from nothing call'd this comely frame, Only perceive some little pause of joys
His will and act, his word and work the same; In those great moments when their God employs To whom a thousand years are but a day; Their ministry, to pour his threaten'd hate Who bade the Light her genial beams display, On the proud king, or the rebellious state ;
And set the Moon, and taught the Sun its way; Or to reverse Jehovah's high command,
Who, waking Time, his creature, from the source And speak the thunder falling from his hand, Primeval, order'd his predestin'd course ; When to his duty the proud king returns, Himself, as in the hollow of his hand, And the rebellious state in ashes mourns; Holding, obedient to his high command, How can good angels be in Heaven confin'd, The deep abyss, the long-continued store, Or view that presence, which no space can bind ? Where months, and days, and hours, and minutes Is God above, beneath, or yon, or here?
pour He who made all, is he not everywhere?
Their floating parts, and thenceforth are no more : Oh, how can wicked angels find a night
This Alpha and Omega, first and last, So dark, to hide them from that piercing light, Who like the potter in a mould has cast Which form’d the eye, and gave the power of sight? The world's great frame, commanding it to be
“What mean I now of angel, when I hear Such as the eyes of Sense and Reason see; Firm body, spirit pure, or fluid air?
Yet, if he wills, may change or spoil the whole; Spirits, to action spiritual confin'd,
May take yon beauteous, mystic, starry roll, Friends to our thought, and kindred to our mind, And burn it like an useless parchment scroll; Should only act and prompt us from within, May from its basis in one moment pour Nor by external eye be ever seen.
This melted earthWas it not, therefore, to our fathers known, Like liquid metal, and like burning ore; That these had appetite, and limb, and bone ? Who, sole in power, at the beginning said, Else how could Abraham wash their wearied feet? Let Sea, and Air, and Earth, and Heaven be made, Or Sarah please their taste with savory meat? And it was so ;-and, when he shall ordain Whence should they fear? or why did Lot engage in other sort, has but to speak again, To save their bodies from abusive rage?
And they shall be no more : of this great theme, And how could Jacob, in a real fight,
This glorious, hollow'd, everlasting name,
And cach with mutual look on other gaz'd,
Nor speech they meditate, nor answer frame, The little which imperfectly we find, (Too plain, alas! their silence spake their shame) Seduces only the bewilder'd mind
in whom an outward mien appear'd, To fruitless search of something yet behind. And turn superior to the vulgar herd,
Various discussions tear our heated brain; Began : That human learning's furthest reach Opinions often turn; still doubts remain; Was but to note the doctrine I could teach; And who indulges thought, increases pain. That mine to speak, and theirs was to obey;
How narrow limits were to Wisdom given! For I in knowledge more than power did sway : Earth she surveys; she thence would measure And the astonish'd world in me beheld
Heaven: Moses eclips d, and Jesse's son excell'd.
Through mists obscure now wings her tedious way; Humble a second bow'd, and took the word ; Now wanders dazzled with too bright a day; Foresaw my name by future age ador'd :
And from the summit of a pathless coast “O live," said he, “thou wisest of the wise; Sees infinite, and in that sight is lost. As none has equall'd, none shall ever rise
Remember, that the curs d desire to know, Excelling thee.”—
Offspring of Adam! was thy source of woe. Parent of wicked, bane of honest deeds, Why wilt thou then renew the vain pursuit, Pernicious Flattery! thy malignant seeds,
And rashly catch at the forbidden fruit; In an ill hour, and by a fatal hand,
With empty labor and eluded strife, Sadly diffus'd o'er Virtue's gleby land,
Seeking, by knowledge, to attain to life; With rising pride amidst the corn appear,
For ever from that fatal tree debarrd,
And now the whole perplex'd ignoble crowd,
Texts chiefly alluded to in Book II.
My prophets and my sophists finish'd here “I said in my own heart, Go to now, I will prove The civil efforts of the verbal war:
thee with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure."Not so my rabbins and logicians yield;
Eccles. chap. ii. ver. i. Retiring, still they combat; from the field
“I made me great works, I builded me houses, I Of open arms unwilling they depart,
planted me vineyards."-Ver. 4. 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: Fix fancied laws, and form imagin'd rules,
“I made me pools of water, to water therewith the
wood that bringeth forth trees."-Ver. 6. Terms of their art, and jargon of their schools, Ill-grounded maxims, by false gloss enlarg'd,
" Then I looked on all the works that my hands had And captious science against reason charg'd.
wrought, and on the labor that I had labored Soon their crude notions with each other fought;
to do: and behold all was vanity and vexation of The adverse sect denied what this had taught;
spirit; and there was no profit under the Sun."
Ver. 11. And he at length the amplest triumph gain’d, Who contradicted what the last maintain'd. "I gat me men-singers and women.singers, and the O wretched impotence of human mind!
delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments,
and that of all sorts."-Ver. 8. We, erring still, excuse for error sind, 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, lill I might see what was that How does the crime of thy resembling race
good for the sons of men, which they should do With like attempt that pristine error trace!
under Heaven all the days of their life."-Ver. 3. Too plain thy nakedness of soul espied,
“ Then I said in my heart, As it happeneth unto Why dost thou strive the conscious shame to hide the fool, so it happeneth even unto me; and why By masks of eloquence and veils of pride ?
was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, With outward smiles their flattery I receiv’d,
that this also is vanity."-Ver. 15. Own'd my sick mind by their discourse reliev'd; “ Therefore I hated life, because the work that is But bent, and inward to myself, again
wrought under the Sun is grievous unto me.”Perplex'd, these matters I revolv'd in vain.
Ver. 17. My search still tir’d, my labor still renew'd, "Dead flicg cause the ointment to send forth a At length I ignorance and knowledge view'd,
stinking savor : 80 doth a little folly him that is Impartial; both in equal balance laid, (weigh’d. in reputation for wisdom and honor."-Ch. x. ver. 1. Light New the knowing scale, the doubtful heavy
“ The memory of the just is blessed, but the memory Forc'd by reflective reason, I confess,
of the wicked shall roi."— PROVERBS, ch. X. ver. 7. That human science is uncertain guess. Alas! we grasp at clouds, and beat the air, Vexing that spirit we intend to clear.
THE ARGUMENT. Can thought beyond the bounds of matter climb? Or who shall tell me what is space or time? Solomon, again seeking happiness, inquires if wealth In vain we lift up our presumptuous eyes
and greatness can produce it; begins with the To what our Maker to their ken denies :
magnificence of gardens and buildings, the luxury The searcher follows fast; the object faster flies. of music and feasting; and proceeds to the hopes