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Alma's affairs no power can mend;
That we by guess at least may gather The jest, alas! is at an end :
Something, which may be both, or neither.' Soon ceases all the worldly bustle,
Faith, Dick, I must confess, 'uis true, And you consign the corpse to Russel.
(But this is only entre nous) « Now make your Alma come or go
That many knotty points there are, From leg to hand, from top to toe,
Which all discuss, but few can clear; Your system, without my addition,
As Nature slily had thought fit, Is in a very sad condition.
For some by-ends, to cross-bite wit : So Harlequin extoll’d his horse,
Circles to square, and cubes to double, Fit for the war, or road, or course !
Would give a man excessive trouble ; His mouth was soft, his eye was good,
The longitude uncertain roams, His foot was sure as ever trod :
In spite of Whiston and his bombs. One fault he had (a fault indeed!)
What system, Dick, has right averr'd And what was that? the horse was dead."
The cause why woman has no beard ? “ Dick, from these instances and fetches, Or why, as years our frame attack, Thou mak'st of horses, clocks, and watches," Our hairs grow white, our teeth grow black ! Quoth Mat, “ to me thou seem'st to mean, In points like these we must agree, That Alma is a mere machine :
Our barbers know as much as we. That, telling others what's o'clock,
Yet still, unable to explain, She knows not what herself has struck ;
We must persist the best we can; But leaves to standers-by the trial
With care our system still renew, Of what is mark'd upon her dial,"
And prove things likely, though not true. “ Here hold a blow, good friend," quoth Dick, “ I could, thou seest, in quaint dispute, And rais'd his voice exceeding quick.
By dint of logic, strike thee mute; Fight fair, sir : what I never meant
With learned skill, now push, now party, Don't you infer. In argument
From Darii to Bocardo vary, Similies are like songs in love :
And never yield; or, what is worst, They much describe; they nothing prove." Never conclude the point discours'd. Mat, who was here a little gravellid,
Yet, that you hic of nunc may know Tost up his nose, and would have cavillid; How much you to my candour owe, But, calling Hermes to his aid,
I'll from the disputant descend, Half ploas'd, half angry, thus he said :
To show thee, I assume the friend : (Where mind ('tis for the author's fame)
I'll take thy notion for my own That Matthew callid, and Hermes came.
(So most philosophers have done) In danger heroes, and in doubt
It makes my system more complete : Poets find gods to help them out.)
Dick, can it have a nobler fate?" (frient: “ Friend Richard, I begin to see,
“ Take what thou wilt," said Dick, That you and I shall scarce agree.
But bring thy matters to an end." Observe how oddly you behave :
“ I find," quoth Mat, “ reproof is vain : The more I grant, the more you crave.
Who first offend, will first complain. But, comrade, as I said just now,
Thou wishest I should make to shore ; I should affirm, and you allow.
Yet still putt'st in thy thwarting oar. We system-makers can sustain
What I have told thee fifty times The thesis, which you grant was plain ;
In prose, receive for once in rhymes : And with remarks and comments teaze ye,
A huge fat man in country-fair, In case the thing before was easy.
Or city-church, (no matter where,) But, in a point obscure and dark,
Labour'd and push'd amidst the crowd, We fight as Leibnitz did with Clarke ;
Still bawling out extremely loud, And, when no reason we can show,
• Lord save us ! why do people press !' Why matters this or that way go,
Another, marking his distress, The shortest way the thing we try,
Friendly reply'd, Plump gentleman, And what we know not, we deny ;
Get out as fast as e'er you can ; True to our own o'erbearing pride,
Or cease to push, or to exclaim : And false to all the world beside.
You make the very crowd you blame.'" “ That old philosopher grew cross,
Says Dick, “ Your moral does not need Who could not tell what motion was:
The least return; so e'en proceed : Because he walk'd against his will,
Your tale, howe'er apply'd, was short: He fac'd men down, that he stood still.
So far, at least, I thank you for't." And he who, reading on the heart,
Mat took his thanks ; and, in a tone (When all his quodlibets of art
More magisterial, thus went on. Could not expound its pulse and heat)
“ Now Alma settles in the head, Swore he had never felt it beat.
As has before been sung or said : Chrysippus, foil'd by Epicurus,
And here begins this farce of life; Makes bold (Jove bless him !) to assure us, Enter Revenge, Ambition, Strife : That all things, which our mind can view,
Behold on both sides men advance, May be at once both false and true.
To form in earnest Bays's dance. And Malebranche has an odd conceit,
L'Avare, not using half his store, As ever enter'd Frenchman's pate :
Still grumbles that he has no more; Says he, . So little can our mind
Strikes not the present tun, for fear of matter or of spirit find,
The vintage should be bad next year ;
And cats to day with inward sorrow,
And t'other fondly hopes to see And dread of fancy'd want to-morrow.
What never was, nor e'er shall be. Abroad if the surtout you wear
We err by use, go wrong by rules, Repels the rigour of the air ;
In gesture grave, in action fools : Would you be warmer, if at home
We join hypocrisy to pride, You had the fabric and the loom?
Doubling the faults we strive to hide, And, if two boots keep out the weather,
Or grant that, with extreme surprise, What need you have two hides of leather ?
We find ourselves at sixty wise, Could Pedro, think you, make no trial
And twenty pretty things are known, Of a sonata on his viol,
Of which we can't accomplish one; Unless he had the total gut
Whilst, as my system says, the Mind Whence every string at first was cut?
Is to these upper rooms confin'd. “ When Rarus shows you his cartone,
Should I, my friend, at large repeat He always tells you, with a groan,
Her borrow'd sense, her fond conceit, Where two of that same hand were torn,
The bead-roll of her vicious tricks, Long before you or he were born.
My poem would be too prolix. “ Poor Vento's mind so much is crost,
For, could I my remarks sustain, For part of his Petronius lost,
Like Socrates, or Miles Montaigne, That he can never take the pains
Who in these times would read my books, To understand what yet remains.
But Tom o’Stiles, or John o'Nokes? “ What toil did honest Curio take,
“ As Brentford kings, discreet and wise, What strict inquiries did he make,
After long thought
and grave advice, To get one medal wanting yet,
Into Lardella's coffin peeping, And perfect all his Roman set!
Saw nought to cause their mirth or weeping : 'Tis found : and, O his happy lot!
So Alma, now to joy or grief 'T'is bought, lock'd up, and lies forgot :
Superior, finds her late relief : Of these no more you hear him speak :
Weary'd of being high or great, He now begins upon the Greek.
And nodding in her chair of state ; These, rang'd and show'd, shall in their turns Stunn'd and worn out with endless chat Remain obscure as in their urns.
Of Will did this, and Nan said that ; My copper lamps, at any rate,
She finds, poor thing, some little crack, For being true antique, I bought;
Which Nature, forc'd by Time, must make, Yet wisely melted down my plate,
Through which she wings her destin'd way; On modern models to be wrought :
Upward she soars, and down drops clay : And trifles I alike pursue,
While some surviving friend supplies Because they're old, because they're new.
Hic jacet, and a hundred lies. “ Dick, I have seen you with delight,
“ Richard, till that day appears, For Georgy * make a paper kite.
Which must decide our hopes and fears, And simple ode too many show ye
Would Fortune calm her present rage, My servile complaisance to Chloe.
And give us play-things for our age : Parents and lovers are decreed
Would Clotho wash her hands in milk, By Nature fools.” -“ That's brave, indeed!" And twist our thread with gold and silk; Quoth Dick : “such truths are worth receiving." Would she, in friendship, peace and plenty, Yet still Dick look'd as not believing.
Spin out our years to four times twenty; “ Now, Alma, to divines and prose
And should we both, in this condition, I leave thy frauds, and crimes, and woes;
Have conquer'd Love, and worse Ambition, Nor think to-night of thy ill-nature,
(Else those two passions, by the way, But of thy follies, idle creature !
May chance to show us scurvy play,) The turns of thy uncertain wing,
Then, Richard, then should we sit down, And not the malice of thy sting:
Far from the tumult of this town; Thy pride of being great and wise
I fond of my well-chosen seat, I do but mention, to despise ;
My pictures, medals, books complete. I view, with anger and disdain,
Or, should we mix our friendly talk, How little gives thee joy or pain;
O'ershaded in that favourite walk, A print, a bronze, a flower, a root,
Which thy own hand had whilom planted, A shell, a butterfly, can do't :
Both pleas'd with all we thought we wanted; Ev'n a romance, a tune, a rhyme,
Yet then, ev'n then, one cross reflection Help thee to pass the tedious time,
Would spoil thy grove, and my collection : Which else would on thy hand remain;
Thy son, and his, ere that, may die, Though, flown, it ne'er looks back again ;
And Time some uncouth heir supply, And cards are dealt, and chess-boards brought, Who shall for nothing else be known To ease the pain of coward Thought :
But spoiling all that thou hast done. Happy result of human wit!
Who set the twigs shall he remember That Alma may herself forget.
That is in haste to sell the timber? “ Dick, thus we act; and thus we are,
And what shall of thy woods remain, Or toss'a by hope, or sunk by care.
Except the box that threw the main? With endless pain this man pursues
Nay, may not Time and Death remove What, if he gain'd he could not use :
The near relations whom I love ?
IN THREE BOOKS.
My favourite books and pictures sell
THE VANITY OF THE WORLD.
Ο Βίος γαρ όνομ' έχει, πόνος δ' έργο τίλει.
Ever The coin may mend a tinker's kettle“ Tir'd with these thoughts” — “ Less tir'd Siquis Deus mihi largiatur, ut ex hac ætate repu. than 1,”
erascam, et in cunis vagiam, valde recusem. Quoth Dick, “ with your philosophy
Cic. de Send That people live and die, I knew An hour ago, as well as you.
The bewailing of man's miseries has been elegant
and copiously set forth by many in the writing And, if Fate spins us longer years,
as well of philosophers as divines; and is both a Or is in haste to take the shears, I know we must both fortunes try,
pleasant and a profitable contemplation.
Book I. - KNOWLEDGE.
Texts chiefly alluded to in Book I.
« The words of the Preacher the son of David And must we spectacles apply,
king of Jerusalem.”— Eccles. chap. i. vet. I. To view what hurts our naked eye!
“ Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of “ Sir, if it be your wisdom's aim
vanities, all is vanity."— Ver. 2. To make me merrier than I am, I'll be all night at your devotion –
“ I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lâm Come on, friend, broach the pleasing notion;
I am come to great estate, and have gotten more But, if you would depress my thought,
wisdom than all they that have been before me Your system is not worth a groat —
in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great eipe " For Plato's fancies what care I ?
rience of wisdom and knowledge." - Ver. 16. I hope you would not have me die,
“ He spake of trees, from the cedar-tree that is in Like simple Cato in the play,
Lebanon, even unto the hyssop that springet For any thing that he can say:
out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and a E'en let him of ideas speak
fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes"To heathens in his native Greek.
1 Kings, chap. iv. ver. 33. If to be sad is to be wise,
“ I know, that whatsoever God doeth, it shall be I do most heartily despise
for ever : nothing can be put to it, nor any things Whatever Socrates has said,
taken from it; and God doeth it, that men shoek Or Tully writ, or Wanley read.
fear before him.”. Eccles. chap. iii. ver. 14. “ Dear Drift ®, to set our matters right, Remove these papers from my sight;
“ He hath made every thing beautiful in his time : Burn Mat's Des-cart, and Aristotle :
also he hath set the world in their heart, so that Here ! Jonathan, your master's bottle."
no man can find out the work that God maketh
from the beginning to the end.” – Ver. 11. • Mr. Prior's secretary and executor, “ For in much wisdom is much grief: and be the
increaseth knowledge, increaseth sorrow,
Ch. i. ver. 18. “ And further, by these, my son, be admonished:
of making many books there is no end: a much study is a weariness of the flesh."- C. si Ver. 12.
venes the learned men of his kingdom; require
fully informed as to the attributes of the Supreme | Wanting the Sun, why does the caltha fade ?
While in the lower marsh the gourd is found,
And while the hill with olive shade is crown'd? Ysons of men, with just regard attend,
Why does one elimate and one soil endue Observe the preacher, and believe the friend, The blushing poppy with a crimson hue, Whose serious Muse inspires him to explain, Yet leave the lily pale, and tinge the violet blue ? That all we act, and all we think, is vain ;
Why does the fond carnation love to shoot That, in this pilgrimage of seventy years,
A various colour from one parent root ; O'er rocks of perils, and through vales of tears, While the fantastic tulip strives to break Destin'd to march, our doubtful steps we iend, In twofold beauty, and a parted streak ? Tir'd with the toil, yet fearful of its end :
The iwining jasmine and the blushing rose, That from the womb we take our fatal shares With lavish grace, their morning scents disclose : Of follies, passions, labours, tumults, cares ; The smelling tuberose and jonquil declare And, at approach of Death, shall only know The stronger impulse of an evening air. The truth, which from these pensive numbers flow, Whence has the tree (resolve me), or the flower, That we pursue false joy, and suffer real woe. A various instinct, or a different power ?
Happiness, object of that waking dream, Why should one earth, one clime, one stream, one Which we call life, mistaking: fugitive theme
breath, Of my pursuing verse, ideal shade,
Raise this to strength, and sicken that to death ? Notional good, by fancy only made,
“ Whence does it happen, that the plant, which And by tradition nurs'd, fallacious fire,
well Whose dancing beams mislead our fond desire, We name the Sensitive, should move and feel ? Cause of our care, and errour of our mind; Whence know her leaves to answer her command, Oh! hadst thou ever been by Heaven design'd And with quick horrour fly the neighbouring hand ? To Adam, and his mortal race; the boon
“ Along the sunny bank, or watery mead, Entire had been reserv'd for Solomon :
Ten thousand stalks the various blossoms spread : On me the partial lot had been bestow'd,
Peaceful and lowly in their native soil,
But 0! ere yet original man was made, Yet with confess'd magnificence deride
The cowslip smiles, in brighter yellow dressid That joy, still sought, should never be attain'd. Than that which veils the nubile virgin's breast : This sad experience cites me to reveal,
A fairer red stands blushing in the rose And what I dictate is from what I feel.
Than that which on the bridegroom's vestment Born, as I was, great David's favourite son,
It must, by sure comparison, be shown
From the small fry that glide on Jordan's stream, Content of spirit must from science flow,
Unmark’d, a multitude without a name, For 'tis a godlike attribute to know."
To that Leviathan, who o'er the seas I said ; and sent my edict through the land : Immense rolls onward his impetuous ways, Around my throne the letter'd rabbins stand; And mocks the wind, and in the tempest plays ? Historic leaves revolve, long volumes spread, How they in warlike bands march greatly forth The old discoursing as the younger read :
From freezing waters and the colder nurth, Attent I heard, propos'd my doubts, and said : To southern climes directing their career,
“ The vegetable world, each plant and tree, Their station changing with th' inverted year? Its seed, its name, its nature, its degree,
How all with careful knowledge are enducd, I am allow'd, as Fame reports, to know
To choose their proper bed, and wave, and food ; From the fair cedar on the craggy brow
To guard their spawn, and educate their brood ? Of Lebanon, nodding supremely tall,
« Of birds, how each, according to her kind, To creeping moss and hyssop on the wall:
Proper materials for her nest can find, Yet, just and conscious to myself, I find
And build a frame, which deepest thought in man A thousand doubts oppose the searching mind. Would or amend or imitate in vain ?
“ I know not why the beech delights the glade How in small fights they know to try their young, With boughs extended, and a rounder shade; And teach the callow child her parent's song? Whilst towering firs in conic forms arise,
Why these frequent the plain, and those the wood ? And with a pointed spear divide the skies: Why every land has her specific brood ? Nor why again the changing oak should shed Where the tall crane, or winding swallow, goes, The yearly honour of his stately head ;
Fearful of gathering winds and falling snows; Whilst the distinguish'd yew is ever seen,
If into rocks, or hollow trees, they creed, Unchano'd hie hranch and nermanent his green.
In temporary death confin'd to sleep :
Or, conscious of the coming evil, Aly
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,
Restraind 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 inform'd her venturous flight to steer Pleas'd with his weight, and proud of his command. 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 neighbourhood 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 labour 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-lor'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 journies careful to prepare
I see in others, or I think I see, Her stores; and, bringing home the corny ear,
That strict their principles and ours agree. By what instruction does she bite the grain,
Evil like us they shun, and covet good; Lest, bid in earth, and taking root again,
Abhor the poison, and receive the food. It might elude the foresight of her care?
Like us they love or hate; like us they know Distinct in either insect's deed appear
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. On the young gnat, or new-engender'd Ay; Then vainly the philosopher avers, On the vile worm that yesterday began
That reason guides our deed, and instinct theirs. To crawl; thy fellow-creatures, abject man! (see, How can we justly different causes frame, Like thee they breathe, they move, they taste, they When the effects entirely are the same? They show their passions by their acts, like thee : Instinct and reason how can we divide ? Darting their stings, they previously declare "Tis the fool's ignorance, and the pedant's pride. Design'd revenge, and fierce intent of war :
“ With the same folly, sure, man vaunts his swas, Laying their eggs, they evidently prove
If the brute beast refuses to obey. The genial power, and full effect of love.
For tell me, when the empty boaster's word Each then has organs to digest his food,
Proclaims himself the universal lord, One to beget, and one receive the brood;
Does he not tremble, lest the lion's paw Has limbs and sinews, blood and heart, and brain, Should join his plea against the fancy'd 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 terrours of the Nile,
When now the sword is girded to his loins. The crested snake, and long-tail'd crocodile; When the swift vessel Aies 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’d and towering on the wing: Prone to enlarge, or studious to contract; Forward she strives, averse to be withheld Now forms her work too small, now too immense, From nobler objects, and a larger field. And scorns the measures of our feeble sense.
« Consider with me this ethereal space, The object, spread too far, or rais'd too high, Yielding to earth and sea the middle place. Denies its real image to the eye ;
Anxious I ask you, how the pensile ball Too little, it eludes the dazzled sight,
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; (round. Does round our globe his crooked journies run, The straight looks crooked, and the square grows I doubt of many lands, if they contain
“ Thus, while with fruitless hope and weary pain, Or herd of beast, or colony of man; We seek great Nature's power, but seek in vain, If any nation pass their destin'd days Safe sits the goddess in her dark retreat ;
Beneath the neighbouring Sun's directer rays; Around her myriads of ideas wait,
If any suffer on the polar coast
“ May not the pleasure of Omnipotence As from our lost pursuit she wills, to hide To each of these some secret good dispense? Her close decrees, and chasten human pride. Those who amidst the torrid regions live, “ Untar'd and fierce the tiger still remains · May they not gales unknown to us receive ?
I Ser daily showers rejoice the thirsty earth,