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As by that early action may be judg’d,

215 When slipping from thy mother's eye

thou went'st Alone into the temple; there wast found Among the gravest Rabbies disputant On points and questions fitting Moses chair, Teaching not taught; the childhood shows the man, As morning shows the day. Be famous then By wisdom; as thy empire must extend, So let extend thy mind o'er all the world In knowledge, all things in it comprehend: All knowledge is not couch'd in Moses Law,

225 The Pentateuch, or what the Prophets wrote; The Gentiles also know, and write, and teach To admiration, led by nature's light; And with the Gentiles much thou must converse, Ruling them by persuasion as thou mean'st;

230 Without their learning how wilt thou with them, Or they with thee hold conversation meet? How wilt thou reason with them, how refute Their idolisms, traditions, paradoxes? Error by his own arms is best evinc'd.

235 Look once more ere we leave this specular mount Westward, much nearer by southwest, behold Where on the AEgean shore a city stands Built nobly, pure the air, and light the soil, Athens the eye of Greece, mother of arts

240 And eloquence, native to famous wits Or hospitable, in her sweet recess,

City' or suburban, studious walks and shades;
See there the olive grove of Academe,
Plato's retirement, where the Attic bird

Trills her thick-warbled notes the summer long;
There flow'ry hill Hymettus with the found
Of bees industrious murmur oft invites
To studious musing; there Ilissus rolls
His whisp’ring stream: within the walls then view 250
The schools of ancient sages; his who bred
Great Alexander to subdue the world,
Lyceum there, and painted Stoa next:
There thou shalt hear and learn the secret power
Of harmony in tones and numbers hit

255 By voice or hand, and various-measur'd verse, AEolian charms and Dorian lyric odes, And his who gave them breath, but higher sung, Blind Melesigenes thence Homer callid, Whose poem

Phæbus challeng'd for his own. 260 Thence what the lofty grave tragedians taught In Chorus or Iambic, teachers best Of moral prudence, with delight receiv’d In brief sententious precepts, while they treat Of fate, and chance, and change in human life; 265 High actions, and high passions best describing: Thence to the famous orators repair, Those ancient, whose resistless eloquence Wielded at will that fierce democratie, Shook th' arsenal and fulmin'd over Greece, 270


To Macedon and Artaxerxes throne:
To fage philosophy next lend thine ear,
From Heav'n descended to the low-rooft house
Of Socrates; see there his tenement,
Whom well inspir’d the oracle pronounc'd 275
Wiseft of men; from whose mouth issued forth
Mellifluous streams that water'd all the schools
Of Academics old and new, with those
Sirnam'd Peripatetics, and the sect
Epicurean, and the Stoic severe;

These here revolve, or, as thou lik'st, at home,
Till time mature thee to a kingdom's weight;
These rules will render thee a king complete
Within thyself, much more with empire join'd.

To whom our Saviour sagely thus reply'd. 285 Think not but that I know these things, or think I know them not; not therefore am I short Of knowing what I ought: he who receives Light from above, from the fountain of light, No other doctrin needs, though granted true; 290 But these are false, or little else but dreams, Conjectures, fancies, built on nothing firm. The first and wisest of them all profess’d To know this only, that he nothing knew; The next to fabling fell and smooth conceits; 295 A third sort doubted all things, though plain sense; Others in virtue plac'd felicity, But virtue join’d with riches and long life;


In corporal pleasure he, and careless ease;
The Stoic last in philosophic pride,

By him call’d virtue; and his virtuous man,
Wise, perfect in himself, and all possessing,
Equals to God, oft shames not to prefer,
As fearing God nor man, contemning all
Wealth, pleasure, pain or torment, death and life, 305
Which when he lifts, he leaves, or boasts he can,
For all his tedious talk is but vain boast,
Or subtle shifts conviction to evade.
Alas what can they teach, and not mislead,
Ignorant of themselves, of God much more,
And how the world began, and how man fell
Degraded by himself, on grace depending?
Much of the soul they talk, but all awry,
And in themselves seek virtue, and to themselves
All glory arrogate, to God give none,

315 Rather accuse him under usual names, Fortune and Fate, as one regardless quite Of mortal things. Who therefore seeks in these True wisdom, finds her not, or by delusion Far worse, her false resemblance only meets, 320 An empty cloud However many books, Wise men have said, are wearisome; who reads Incessantly, and to his reading brings not A spirit and judgment equal or superior, (And what he brings, what needs he elsewhere seek?) Uncertain and unsettled still remains,

326 Deep 336

Deep vers’d in books and shallow in himself,
Crude or intoxicate, collecting toys,
And trifles for choice matters, worth a spunge;
As children gathering pebbles on the shore. 330
Of if I would delight my private hours
With music or with poem, where so soon
As in our native language can I find
That solace? All our law and story strow'd
With hymns, our psalms with artful terms inscrib'd,
Our Hebrew songs and harps in Babylon,
That pleas'd so well our victors ear, declare
That rather Greece from us these arts deriv’d;
Ill imitated, while they loudest sing
The vices of their Deities, and their own

In fable, hymn, or song, so personating
Their Gods ridiculous, and themselves past shame.
Remove their swelling epithets thick laid
As varnish on a harlot's cheek, the rest,
Thin sown with ought of profit or delight, 345
Will far be found unworthy to compare
With Sion's songs, to all true tastes excelling,
Where God is prais'd aright, and God-like men,
The Holiest of Holies, and his Saints;
Such are from God inspir’d, not such from thee, 350
Unless where moral virtue is express'd
By light of nature not in all quite loft.
Their orators thou then extoll'st, as those
of eloquence, statists indeed,


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