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PROGRESS OF ERROR.

Si quid loquar audiendum. Hor. Lib. 4. Od. 2.

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Sing, muse, (if such a theme, so dark, so long,
May find a muse to grace it with a song)
By what unseen and unsuspected arts
The serpent error twines round human hearts;
Tell where she lurks, beneath what flowery shades,
That not a glimpse of genuine light pervades,
The poisonous, black, insinuating worm
Successfully conceals her loathsome form.
Take, if ye can, ye careless and supine,
Counsel and caution from a voice like mine!

Truths, that the theorist could never reach,
And observation taught me, I would reach.

Not all, whose eloquence the fancy fills,
Musical as the chime of tipkling rills,
Weak to perform, though mighty to pretend,
Can trace ber mazy windings to their end ;
Discern the fraud beneath the specious lure,
Prevent the danger, or prescribe the cure.
The clear harangue, and cold as it is clear,
Falls soporific on the listless ear;
Like quicksilver, the rhetoric they display
Shines as it runs, but grasped at slips away.

Placed for his trial on this bustling stage,
From thoughtless youth to ruminating age,
Free in his will to choose or to refuse,
Man may improve the crisis, or abuse;
Else, on the fatalist's unrighteous plan,
Say, to what bar amenable were man?
With nought in charge he could betray no trust,
And, if he fell, would fall because he must;
If love reward him, or if vengeance strike,
His recompence in both unjust alike.

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