« ForrigeFortsett »
By thee religion, liberty, and laws,
Exert their influence, and advance their cause;
By thee worse plagues than Pharaoh's land befel,
Diffused, make earth the vestibule of hell; .
Thou fountain at which drink the good and wise;
Thou ever bubbling spring of endless lies;
Like Eden's dread probationary tree,
Knowledge of good and evil is from thee.
No wild enthusiast ever yet could rest,
Till half mankind were like himself possessed.'
Philosophers, who darken and put out
Eternal truth by everlasting doubt;
Church quacks, with passions under no command,
Who fill the world with doctrines contraband,
Discoverers of they know not what, confined
Within no bounds--the blind that lead the blind;
To streams of popular opinion drawn,
Deposit in those shallows all their spawn.
The wriggling fry soon fill the creeks around,
Poisoning the waters where their swarms abound.
Scorned by the nobler tenants of the flood,
Minnows and gudgeons gorge the unwholesome
The propagated myriads spread so fast,
Even Lewenhoeck himself would stand aghast,
Employed to calculate the enormous sum,
And own his crab-computing powers overcome.
Is this hyperbole? The world well known,
Your sober thoughts will hardly find it one.
Fresh confidence the speculatist takes
From every hair-brained proselyte he makes ;
And therefore prints. Himself but half deceived,
Till others have the soothing tale believed.
Hence comment after comment spun as fine,
As bloated spiders draw the flimsy line:
Hence the same word, that bids our lusts obey,
Is misapplied to sanctify their sway.
If stubborn Greek refuse to be his friend,
Hebrew or Syriac shall be forced to bend:
If languages and copies all cry, No-
Somebody proved it centuries ago.
Like trout pursued, the critic in despair
Darts to the mud, and finds his safety there.
Women, whom custom has forbid to fly
The scholar's pitch, (the scholar best knows why)
With all the simple and unlettered poor,
Admire his learning, and almost adore.
Whoever errs, the priest can never be wrong,
With such fine words familiar to his tongue.
Ye ladies! (for indifferent in your cause,
I should deserve to forfeit all applause)
: Whatever shocks or gives the least offence
To virtue, delicacy, truth, or sense,
(Try the criterion, 'tis a faithful guide)
Nor has, nor can have, scripture on its side.
None but an author knows an author's cares,
Or fancy's fondness for the child she bears.
Committed once into the public arms,
The baby seems to smile with added charms.
Like something precious ventured far from shore,
'Tis valued for the danger's sake the more.
He views it with complacency supreme,
Solicits kind attention to his dream;
And daily more enamoured of the cheat,
Kneels, and asks heaven to bless the dear deceit.
So one, whose story serves at least to show
Men loved their own productions long ago,
Wooed an unfeeling statue for his wife,
Nor rested till the gods had given it life. ,
If some mere driveller suck the sugared fib,
One that still needs his leading string and bib,
And praise his genius, he is soon repaid
In praise applied to the same part-his head.
For ’tis a rule, that holds for ever true,
Grant me discernment, and I grant it you..
Patient of contradiction as a child,
Affable, humble, diffident, and mild;
Such was sir Isaac, and such Boyle and Locke:
Your blunderer is as sturdy as a rock.
The creature is so sure to kick and bite,
A muleteer's the man to set him right.
First appetite enlists him truth's sworn foe,
Then obstinate self-will confirms him so.'
Tell him he wanders: that his error leads
To fatal ills; that, though the path he treads
Be flowery, and he see no cause of fear,
Death and the pains of hell attend him there;
In vain; the slave of arrogance and pride,
He has no hearing on the prudent side.
His still refuted quirks he still repeats;
New raised objections with new quibbles meets!
Till, sinking in the quicksand he defends,
He dies disputing, and the contest ends-
But not the mischiefs; they, still left behind
Like thistle-seeds, are sown by every wind.
Thus men go wrong with an ingenious skill; ..
Bend the straight rule to their own crooked will;
And with a clear and shining lamp supplied,
First put it out, then take it for a guide.
Halting on crutches of unequal size,
One leg by truth supported, one by lies;
They sidle to the goal with awkward pace,
Secure of nothing-but to lose the race.
Faults in the life breed errors in the brain:
And these reciprocally those again.
The mind and conduct mutually imprint
And stamp their image in each other's mint:
Each, sire and dam, of an infernal race,
Begetting and conceiving all that’s base.
None sends his arrow to the mark in view,
Whose hand is feeble, or his aim untrue.