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And though I should but ill be understood, In wholly equalling our sin and theirs, And measuring by the scanty thread of wit What we call holy, and great, and just, and good, (Methods in talk whereof our pride and ignorance make use), And which our wild ambition foolishly compares
With endless and with infinite;
Yet pardon, native Albion, when I say, Among thy stubborn sons there haunts that spirit of the Jews, That those forsaken wretches who to-day
Revile his great ambassador,
Seem to discover what they would have done (Were his humanity on earth once more)
To his undoubted Master, Heaven's Almighty Son.
But zeal is weak and ignorant, though wond'rous proud,
Like that fantastic medley in the idol's toes,
This crumbles into dust,
That moulders into rust,
Or melts by the first shower away. Nothing is fix'd that mortals see or know, Unless, perhaps, some stars above be so; And those, alas, do show,
Like all transcendent excellence below;
In both, false mediums cheat our sight,
And rolls the silent year
On his own secret regular sphere,
And sheds, though all unseen, his sacred influence here.
Kind star, still may'st thou shed thy sacred influence here, Or from thy private peaceful orb appear;
For sure we want some guide from heaven to show
The way which every wand'ring fool below
Pretends so perfectly to know:
And which, for aught I see, and much I fear,
I mean the way which leads to Christ:
What mighty numbers follow them,
Each fond of erring with his guide:
In Cæsar's court, or in Jerusalem:
Others, ignorantly wise,
What could the sages gain but unbelieving scorn;
And foster'd in a wretched inn?
Necessity, thou tyrant conscience of the great,
And yet the world, whose eyes are on our mighty prince,
And that his subjects share his happy influence;
Of a declining church, by faction, her worst foe, oppress'd,
Ah! may no unkind earthquake of the state,
Disturb the present mitre, as that fearful storm of late,
Swept up whole churches as it list,
Like that prophetic tempest in the virgin reign,
And swallow'd them at last, or flung them down.
Though blasts from contrariety of winds,
Is but one thing under two different names;
And even the sharpest eye that has the prospect seen
And must to human reasoning opposite conclude,
Thus Sancroft, in the exaltation of retreat,
Shows lustre that was shaded in his seat;
Short glimm'rings of the prelate glorified; Which the disguise of greatness only served to hide Why should the sun, alas! be proud
Though fringed with evening gold the cloud appears so gay,
From strength of its own native seed,
This wilderness, the world, like that poetic wood of old,
Where the bless'd spirit lodges like the dove,
As well as here below,
(The goddess Muse herself has told me so,)
Where high patrician souls, dress'd heavenly gay,
There some high-spirited throne to Sancroft shall be given, In the metropolis of Heaven;
Chief of the mitred saints, and from archprelate here,
Since, happy saint, since it has been of iate
To lose the providence of thy cares,
Pity a miserable church's tears,
That begs the powerful blessings of thy pray'rs.
Say what their senseless malice meant,
Strip her of ev'ry ornament and grace,
Religion now does on her deathbed lie,
One end in both, and the design the same;
ODE TO THE HON. SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE.
VIRTUE, the greatest of all monarchies!
It fell, and broke with its own weight
With rules to search it, yet obtain'd by none.
We have too long been led astray;
Too long have our misguided souls been taught
And we, the bubbled fools,
Spend all our present life in hopes of golden rules.
But what does our proud ignorance learning call?
Into that deep grave, a book;
Think that she there does all her treasures hide,
And that her troubled ghost still haunts there since she died;
Her priest, her train, and followers, show,
Affect ill-manner'd pedantry,
Curst be the wretch! nay, doubly curst!
To curse our greatest enemy),
(Which since has seized on all the rest),
Thrice happy you have 'scaped this general pest;
You cannot be compared to one:
I must, like him that painted Venus' face,
Their courting a retreat like you,
Let not old Rome boast Fabius' fate;
You bought it at a cheaper rate;
For, though with loss or victory a while
Fortune the gamesters does beguile, Yet at the last the box sweeps all away.
And ever green and flourishing 'twill last,
Nor dipp'd in blood, nor widow's tears, nor orphan's cries.
Nor its triumphal cavalcade to grace,
Makes up its solemn train with death;