Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

wrong,

Like trout pursued, the critic in despair
Darts to the mud, and finds his safety there:
Woman, whom custom has forbid to fly
The scholar's pitch, (the scholar best knows why)
With all the simple and unletter'd poor,
Admire his learning, and almost adore.
Whoever errs, the priest can ne'er be
With such fine words familiar to his tongue.

Ye ladies! (for indiff'rent 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 it's 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 ventur'd 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 enamour’d of the cheat,
Kneels, and asks Heav'n to bless the dear deceit.

So one, whose story serves at least to show
Men lov'd their own productions long ago,
Woo'd an unfeeling statue for his wife,
Nor rested till the gods had giv'n it life.
If some mere driv'ller suck the sugar'd 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 blund'rer 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 errour leads
To fatal ills; that, though the path he treads
Be flow'ry, 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 rais'd 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 ev'ry 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 errours 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.
For though, ere yet the shaft is on the wing,
Or when it first forsakes th' elastic string,

[ocr errors]

It err but little from th’ intended line,
It falls at last far wide of his design:
So he, who seeks a mansion in the sky,
Must watch his

purpose
with a steadfast

eye That prize belongs to none but the sincere, The least obliquity is fatal here.

With caution taste the sweet Circean cup : He that sips offen, at last drinks it up. Habits are soon assum'd; but when we strive To strip them off, 'tis being flay'd alive. Callid to the temple of impure delight, He that abstains, and he alone, does right. If a wish wander that way, call it home; He cannot long be safe whose wishes roam. But, if you pass the threshold, you are caught; Die then, if pow'r Almighty save you not. There hard’ning by degrees, till double steeld, Take leave of nature's God, and God reveal'd; Then laugh at all you trembled at before; And, joining the free-thinker's brutal roar, Swallow the two grand nostrums they dispenseThat Scripture lies, and blasphemy is sense. If clemency revolted by abuse Be damnable, then damn'd without excuse.

Some dream that they can silence, when they will, The storm of passion, and say, Peace, be still; But “Thus far and no farther,” when address'd To the wild wave, or wilder human breast, Implies authority that never can, That never ought to be the lot of man.

But muse forbear; long flights forebode a fall; Strike on the deep-ton'd chord the sum of all.

Hear the just law—the judgment of the skies ! He that hates truth shall be the dupe of lies : And he that will be cheated to the last, Delusions strong as Hell shall bind him fast. But if the wand'rer his mistake discern, Judge his own ways, and sigh for a return, Bewilderd once, must he bewail his loss For ever and for ever? No the cross! There and there only (though the deist rave, And atheist, if Earth bear so base a slave); There and there only is the pow'r to save. There no delusive hope invites despair; No mock’ry meets you, no deception there. The spells and charms, that blinded you before, All vanish there, and fascinate no more.

}

« ForrigeFortsett »