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Advise thee; gain them as thou canst, or not;
And thou thyself seem'st otherwise inclined
Than to a worldly crown; addicted more

To contemplation and profound dispute, - As by that early action may be judged,

When, slipping from thy mother's eye, thou went'st
Alone into the temple, there wast found
Among the gravest rabbies, disputant
On points and questions fitting Moses' chair,
Teaching, not taught. The childhood shows the man,
As morning shows the day: be famous, then, 221
By wisdom; as thy empire must extend,
So let extend thy mind o'er all the world
In knowledge, all things in it comprehend.
All knowledge is not couch'd in Moses' law,
The Pentateuch, or what the prophets wrote;
The Gentiles also know, and write, and teach
To admiration, led by nature's light,
And with the Gentiles much thou must converse,
Ruling them by persuasion, as thou mean’st. 230
Without their learning, how wilt thou with them,
Or they with thee, hold conversation meet?
How wilt thou reason with them, how refute
Their idolisms, traditions, paradoxes ?
Error by his own arms is best evinced.
Look once more, ere we leave this specular mount,
Westward, much nearer by south-west, behold,
Where on the Ægean shore a city stands,
Built nobly, pure the air, and light the soil;
Athens, the eye of Greece, mother of arts
And eloquence, native to famous wits
Or hospitable, in her sweet recess,
City or suburban, studious walks and shades.
See there the olive grove of Academe,

240 260

Plato's retirement, where the Attic bird
Trills her thick-warbled notes the summer long;
There flowery hill Hymettus, with the sound
Of bees' industrious murmur, oft invites
To studious musing; there Ilissus rolls
His whispering stream: within the walls then view 250
The schools of ancient sages; his, who bred
Great Alexander to subdue the world,
Lyceum there, and painted Stoa next:
There shalt thou hear and learn the secret power
Of harmony, in tones and numbers hit
By voice or hand, and various measured verse,
Æolian charms and Dorian lyric odes,
And his who gave them breath, but higher sung,
Blind Melesigenes, thence Homer call’d,
Whose poem Phæbus challenged for his own :
Thence what the lofty grave tragedians taught
In chorus or iambic, teachers best
Of moral prudence, with delight received
In brief sententious precepts, while they treat
Of fate, and chance, and change in human life,
High actions, and high passions best describing :
Thence to the famous orators repair,
Those ancient, whose resistless eloquence
Wielded at will that fierce democratie,
Shook the arsenal, and fulmined over Greece 276
To Macedon and Artaxerxes' throne:
To sage philosophy next lend thine ear,
From heaven descended to the low-roof'd house
Of Socrates; see there his tenement,
Whom well inspired the oracle pronounced
Wisest of men; from whose mouth issued forth
Mellifluous streams, that water'd all the schools
Of Academics, old and new, with those

Surnamed Peripatetics, and the sect
Epicurean, and the Stoic severe;

280
These here revolve, or, as thou likest, at home,
Till time mature thee to a kingdom's weight;
These rules will render thee a king complete
Within thyself, much more with empire join’d.”

To whom our Saviour sagely thus replied: “ Think not but that I know these things, or think I know them not; not therefore am I short Of knowing what I ought: he, who receives Light from above, from the Fountain of Light, No other doctrine needs, though granted true; 290 But these are false, or little else but dreams, Conjectures, fancies, built on nothing firm. The first and wisest of them all profess'd To know this only, that he nothing knew; The next to fabling fell, and smooth conceits ; A third sort doubted all things, though plain sense ; Others in virtue placed felicity, But virtue join'd with riches and long life; In corporal pleasure he, and careless ease; The Stoic last, in philosophic pride,

300 By him call'd virtue; and his virtuous man, Wise, perfect in himself, and all possessing, Equal to God, oft shames not to prefer, As fearing God nor man, contemning all Wealth, pleasure, pain or torment, death and life, Which, when he lists, he leaves, or boasts he can, For all his tedious talk is but vain boast, Or subtle shifts conviction to evade. A las ! what can they teach, and not mislead, Ignorant of themselves, of God much more, 310 And how the world began, and how man fell, Degraded by himself, on grace depending ?

320

Much of the soul they talk, but all awry,
And in themselves seek virtue; and to themselves
All glory arrogate, to God give none;
Rather accuse him under usual names,
Fortune and Fate, as one regardless quite
Of mortal things. Who, therefore, seeks in these
True wisdom, finds her not; or, by delusion,
Far worse, her false resemblance only meets,
An empty cloud. However, many books,
Wise men have said, are wearisome; who reads
Incessantly, and to his reading brings not
A spirit and judgment equal or superior,
(And what he brings, what needs he elsewhere seek?)
Uncertain and unsettled still remains,
Deep versed in books, and shallow in himself,
Crude or intoxicate, collecting toys
And trifles for choice matters, worth a sponge;
As children gathering pebbles on the shore.
Or, if I would delight my private hours
With music or with poem, where so soon,
As in our native language, can I find
That solace ? All our law and story strew'd
With hymns, our psalms with artful terms inscribed,
Our Hebrew songs and harps, in Babylon,
That pleased so well our victor's ear, declare
That rather Greece from us these arts derived;
Ill imitated, while they loudest sing
The vices of their deities, and their own,
In fable, hymn, or song, so personating
Their gods ridiculous, and themselves past shame.
Remove their swelling epithets, thick laid .
As varnish on a harlot's cheek; the rest,
Thin sown with aught of profit or delight,
Will far be found unworthy to compare

330

340

With Sion's songs, to all true tastes excelling,
Where God is praised aright and godlike men,
The holiest of holies, and his saints
(Such are from God inspired, not such from thee), 350
Unless where moral virtue is express'd
By light of nature, not in all quite lost.
Their orators thou then extoll'st, as those
The top of eloquence; statists indeed,
And lovers of their country, as may seem;
But herein to our prophets far beneath,
As men divinely taught, and better teaching
The solid rules of civil government,
In their majestic, unaffected style,
Than all the oratory of Greece and Rome. 360
In them is plainest taught, and easiest learnt,
What makes a nation happy, and keeps it so,
What ruins kingdoms, and lays cities flat;
These only with our law best form a king."

So spake the Son of God; but Satan, now
Quite at a loss (for all his darts were spent),
Thus to our Saviour, with stern brow, replied:

“Since neither wealth nor honour, arms nor arts, Kingdom nor empire pleases thee, nor aught By me proposed in life contemplative Or active, tended on by glory or fame, What dost thou in this world? The wilderness For thee is fittest place: I found thee there, And thither will return thee; yet remember What I foretel thee, soon thou shalt have cause To wish thou never hadst rejected, thus Nicely or cautiously, my offer'd aid, Which would have set thee in short time with ease On David's throne, or throne of all the world, Now at full age, fulness of time, thy season, 380

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