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And here begins this farce of life;
- When Rarus shows you his cartone,
"Poor Vento's mind so much is crost,
“What loil did honest Curio take,
For being true antique, I bought;
On modern models to be wrought:
* Dick, I have seen you with delight,
“Now, Alma, to divines and prose
Which else would on thy hand remain;
“Dick, thus we act; and thus we are,
“As Brentford kings, discreet and wise,
"O Richard, till that day appears, Which must decide our hopes and fears, Would Fortune calm her present rage, And give us playthings for our age : Would Clotho wash her hands in milk, And twist our thread with gold and silk; Would she, in friendship, peace and plenty, Spin out our years to four times twenty ; And should we both, in this condition, Have conquer'd Love, and worse Ambition, (Else those two passions, by the way, May chance to show us scurvy play) Then, Richard, then should we sit down, Far from the tumult of this town; I fond of my well-chosen seat, My pictures, medals, books complete. Or, should we mix our friendly talk, O'ershaded in that favorite walk, Which thy own hand had whilom planted, Both pleas'd with all we thought we wanted ; Yet then, ev'n then, one cross reflection Would spoil thy grove, and my collection:
Thy son, and his, ere that, may die,
“ Nay, may not Time and Death remove
“Sir, if it be your wisdom's aim
* For Plato's fancies what care I?
“Dear Drift,* to set our matters right,
"I know, that whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever;
nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it; and God doeth it, that men should fear before him."
Eccles. chap. iii. ver. 14. “ He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also
he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the be. ginning to the end."-Ver. Il.
“For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that in.
creaseth knowledge, increaseth sorrow."--ch. i. ver. 18. “And further, by these, my son, be admonished : of
making many books there is no end: and much study is a weariness of the flesh."-ch. xii. ver. 12.
THE ARGUMENT. SOLOMON, seeking happiness from knowledge, con
venes the learned men of his kingdom ; requires them to explain to him the various operations and effects of Nature; discourses of vegetables, animals, and man; proposes some questions concerning the origin and situation of the habitable Earth; proceeds to examine the system of the visible Heaven; doubts if there may not be a plurality of worlds ; inquires into the nature of spirits and angels; and wishes to be more
* Mr. Prior's secretary and executor.
fully informed as to the attributes of the Supreme Wanting the Sun, why does the caltha fade ?
While in the lower marsh the gourd is found,
And while the hill with olive shade is crown d ? Ye sons of men, with just regard attend,
Why does one climate and one soil endue
A various color from one parent root;
The twining jasmine and the blushing rose,
Happiness, object of that waking dream, Why should one earth, one clime, one stream, one Which we call life, mistaking: fugitive theme
breath, Of my pursuing verse, ideal shade,
Raise this to strength, and sicken that to death? Notional good, by fancy only made,
“Whence does it happen, that the plant, which And by tradition nurs d, fallacious fire,
well Whose dancing beams mislead our fond desire, We name the Sensitive, should move and feel ? Cause of our care, and error of our mind ; Whence know her leaves to answer her command, Oh! hadst thou ever been by Heaven design'd And with quick horror fly the neighboring hand ? To Adam, and his mortal race; the boon
"Along the sunny bank, or watery mead, Entire had been reserv'd for Solomon:
Ten thousand stalks the various blossoms spread On me the partial lot had been bestow'd,
Peaceful and lowly in their natire soil,
Yet with confess'd magnificence deride
The cowslip smiles, in brighter yellow dress'd That joy, still sought, should never be attain'd. Than that which veils the nubile virgin's breast : This sad experience cites me to reveal,
A fairer red stands blushing in the rose And what I dictate is from what I feel.
Than that which on the bridegroom's vestment Born, as I was, great David's favorite son,
flows. Dear to my people, on the Hebrew throne,
Take but the humblest lily of the field, Sublime my court, with Ophir's treasures blest, And, if our pride will to our reason yield, My name extended to the farthest east,
It must, by sure comparison, be shown My body cloth'd with every outward grace, That on the regal seat great David's son, Strength in my limbs, and beauty in my face, Array'd in all his robes and types of power, My shining thought with fruitful notions crown'd, Shines with less glory than that simple flower. Quick my invention, and my judgment sound: “Of fishes next, my friends, I would inquire. "Arise," I commun'd with myself, "arise ;
How the mute race engender, or respire, Think, to be happy; to be great, be wise : From the small fry that glide on Jordan's stream, Content of spirit must from science flow,
Unmark'd, a multitude without a name, For 'tis a godlike attribute to know."
To that Leviathan, who o'er the seas I said ; and sent my edict through the land : Immense rolls onward his impetuous ways, Around my throne the letter'd rabbins stand; And mocks the wind, and in the tempest plays ? Historic leares revolve, long volumes spread, How they in warlike bands march greatly forth The old discoursing as the younger read :
From freezing waters and the colder north, Attent I heard, propos'd my doubts, and said : To southern climes directing their career,
“The vegetable world, each plant and tree, Their station changing with th' inverted year? Its seed, its name, its nature, its degree,
How all with careful knowledge are endued, I am allow'd, as Fame reports, to know
To choose their proper bed, and wave, and food ; From the fair cedar on the craggy brow
To guard their spawn, and educate their brood ? Of Lebanon, nodding supremely tall,
“Of birds, how each, according to her kind, To creeping moss and hyssop on the wall:
Proper materials for her nest can find, Yet, just and conscious to myself, I find
And build a frame, which deepest thought in man A thousand doubts oppose the searching mind. Would or amend or imitate in vain ?
"I know not why the beech delights the glade How in small flights they know to try their young, With boughs extended, and a rounder shade; And teach the callow child her parent's song? Whilst towering firs in conic forms arise,
Why these frequent the plain, and those the wood ? And with a pointed spear divide the skies : Why every land has her specific brood? Nor why again the changing oak should shed Where the tall crane, or winding swallow, goes, The yearly honor of his stately head;
Fearful of gathering winds and falling snows; Whilst the distinguish'd yew is ever seen,
If into rocks, or bollow trees, they creep, Vachang'd his branch, and permanent his green. In temporary death confin'd to sleep;
Or, conscious of the coming evil, fly
For the kind gifts of water and of food To milder regions, and a southern sky?
Ungrateful, and returning ill for good, "Of beasts and creeping insects shall we trace He seeks his keeper's flesh, and thirsts his blood : The wondrous nature, and the various race; While the strong camel, and the generous horse, Or wild or tame, or friend to man or foe,
Restrain'd and aw'd by man's inferior force, Of us what they, or what of them we know? Do to the rider's will iheir rage submit,
"Tell me, 'ye studious, who pretend to see And answer to the spur, and own the bit; Far into Nature's bosom, whence the bee
Stretch their glad mouths to meet the feeder's hand, Was first informd her venturous flight to steer Pleas'd with his weight, and proud of his command Through trackless paths, and an abyss of air ?
“ Again: the lonely fox roams far abroad, Whence she avoids the slimy marsh, and knows On secret rapine bent, and midnight fraud ; The fertile hills, where sweeter herbage grows, Now haunts the cliff, now traverses the lawn, And honey-making flowers their opening buds dis- And flies the hated neighborhood of man: close ?
While the kind spaniel and the faithful hound, How from the thicken'd mist, and setting sun, Likest that fox in shape and species found, Finds she the labor of her day is done?
Refuses through these cliffs and lawns to roam,
Does with kind joy domestic faces meet,
“ And, O thou sluggard, tell me why the ant, “By what immediate cause they are inclin'd, 'Midst summer's plenty, thinks of winter's want, In many acts, 'tis hard, I own, to find. By constant journeys careful to prepare
I see in others, or I think I see,
Abhor the poison, and receive the food.
Like us they love or hate; like us they know Distinct in either insect's deed appear
To joy the friend, or grapple with the foe. The marks of thought, contrivance, hope, and fear. With seeming thought their action they intend; " Fix thy corporeal and internal eye
And use the means proportion'd to the end. On the young gnat, or new-engender'd fly;
Then vainly the philosopher avers, On the vile worm that yesterday began
That reason guides our deed, and instinct theirs. To crawl; thy fellow-creatures, abject man! (see, How can we justly different causes frame, Like thee they breathe, they move, they taste, they When the effects entirely are the same ? They show their passions by their acts, like thee : Instinct and reason how can we divide ? Darting their stings, they previously declare "Tis the fool's ignorance, and the pedant's pride. Design'd revenge, and fierce intent of war:
“With the same folly, sure, man vaunts his sway Laying their eggs, they evidenily prove
If the brute beast refuses to obey. The genial power, and full effect of love.
For tell me, when the empty boaster's word Each then has organs to digest his food,
Proclaims himself the universal lord, One to beget, and one receive the brood ;
Does he not tremble, lest the lion's paw Has limbs and sinews, blood and heart, and brain, Should join his plea against the fancied law? Life and her proper functions to sustain,
Would not the learned coward leave the chair, Though the whole fabric smaller than a grain. If in the schools or porches should appear What more can our penurious reason grant
The fierce hyena, or the foaming bear? To the large whale, or castled elephant;
“The combatant too late the field declines, To those enormous terrors of the Nile,
When now the sword is girded to his loins. The crested snake, and long-tail'd crocodile : When the swift vessel flies before the wind, Than that all differ but in shape and name, Too late the sailor views the land behind. Each destin'd to a less or larger frame ?
And 'tis too late now back again to bring "For potent Nature loves a various act,
Inquiry, rais'd and towering on the wing: Prone to enlarge, or studious to contract;
Forward she strives, averse to be withheld Now forms her work too small, now too immense, From nobler objects, and a larger field. And scorns the measures of our feeble sense.
“Consider with me this ethereal space, The object, spread too far, or rais'd 100 high, Yielding to earth and sea the middle place. Denies its real image to the eye ;
Anxious I ask you, how the pensile ball Too little, it eludes the dazzled sight,
Should never strive to rise, nor fear to fall ? Becomes mixt blackness, or unparted light. When I reflect how the revolving Sun Water and air the varied form confound;
Does round our globe his crooked journeys run, The straight looks crooked, and the square grows I doubt of many lands, if they contain round.
Or herd of beast, or colony of man;
If any suffer on the polar coast
The rage of Arctos and eternal frost.
To each of these some secret good dispense?
Those who amidst the torrid regions live, ller close decrees, and chasten human pride. May they not gales unknown to us receive ?
“Untam'd and fierce the tiger still remains, See daily showers rejoice the thirsty earth, He tires his life in biting on his chains :
| And bless the nowery buds' succeeding birth ?
May they not pity us, condemn’d to bear
Or could they think the new-discover'd isle The various heaven of an obliquer sphere; Pleas'd to receive a pregnant crocodile ? While by fix'd laws, and with a just return,
"And, since the savage lineage we must trace They feel twelve hours that shade, for twelve that From Noah sav'd, and his distinguish'd race; burn;
How should their fathers happen to forget And praise the neighboring Sun, whose constant The arts which Noah taught, the rules he set, flame
To sow the glebe, to plant the generous vine, Enlightens them with seasons still the same? And load with grateful flames the holy shrine; And may not those, whose distant lot is cast While the great sire's unhappy sons are found, North beyond Tartary's extended waste;
Unpress'd their vintage, and untillid their ground, Where through the plains of one continual day Straggling o'er dale and hill in quest of food, Sir shining months pursue their even way, And rude of arts, of virtue, and of God ? And six succeeding urge their dusky flight,
“How shall we next o'er earth and seas pursue Obscur'd with vapors, and o'erwhelm'd in night? The varied forms of every thing we view; May not, I ask, the natives of these climes That all is chang’d, though all is still the same, (As annals may inform succeeding times)
Fluid the parts, yet durable the frame?
The pristine springs and parents of the rest,
Those finer parts of air again aspire, Half of our daily toil yet scarcely done!
Move into warmth, and brighten into fire : May they not justly to our climes upbraid
The fire, once more by thicker air o'ercome, Shortness of night, and penury of shade;
And downward forc'd, in Earth's capacious womb That, ere our wearied limbs are justly blest Alters its particles; is fire no more, With wholesome sleep, and necessary rest, But lies resplendent dust, and shining ore; Another Sun demands return of care,
Or, running through the mighty mother's veins, The remnant toil of yesterday to bear?
Changes its shape, puts off its old remains; Whilst, when the solar beams salute their sight, With watery parts its lessen'd force divides, Bold and secure in half a year of light,
Flows into waves, and rises into tides. . Uninterrupted voyages they take
“Disparted streams shall from their channels fly, To the remotest wood, and farthest lake;
And, deep surcharg'd, by sandy mountains lie, Manage the fishing, and pursue the course
Obscurely sepulchred. By beating rain, With more extended nerves, and more continued And furious wind, down to the distant plain, force ?
The hill, that hides his head above the skies, And, when declining day forsakes their sky, Shall fall; the plain, by slow degrees, shall risc When gathering clouds speak gloomy winter nigh; Higher than erst had stood the summit-hill; With plenty for the coming season blest,
For Time must Nature's great behest fulfil. Sir solid months (an age) they live, releas'd
“Thus, by a length of years and change of fate, From all the labor, process, clamor, woe,
All things are light or heavy, small or great: Which our sad scenes of daily action know: Thus Jordan's waves shall future clouds appear, They light the shining lamp, prepare the feast, And Egypt's pyramids refine to air : And with full mirth receive the welcome guest; Thus later age shall ask for Pison's food, Or tell their tender loves (the only care
And travellers inquire where Babel stood. Which now they suffer) to the listening fair; Now where we see these changes often fall And, rais'd in pleasure, or repos'd in ease,
Sedate we pass them by as natural ; (Grateful alternate of substantial peace)
Where to our eye more rarely they appear, They bless the long nocturnal influence shed The pompous name of prodigy they bear. On the crown'd goblet, and the genial bed. Let active thought these close meanders trace;
" In foreign isles, which our discoverers find, Let human wit their dubious boundaries place : Far from this length of continent disjoin'd, Are all things miracle, or nothing such ? The rugged bear's, or spotted lynx's brood, And prove we not too little, or too much? Frighten the valleys, and infest the wood;
"For, that a branch cut off, a wither'd rod, The hungry crocodile, and hissing snake,
Should, at a word pronounc'd, revive and bud; Lurk in the troubled stream and fenny brake; Is this more strange, than that the mountain's brow, And man, untaught and ravenous as the beast, Stripp'd by December's frost, and white with snow, Does valley, wood, and brake, and stream, infest : Should push in spring ten thousand thousand buds, Deriv'd these men and animals their birth
And boast returning leaves, and blooming woods ? From trunk of oak, or pregnant womb of Earth ? That each successive night, from opening Heaven, Whence then the old belief, that all began
The food of angels should to man be given; In Eden's shade, and one created man?
Is this more strange, than that with common bread Or, grant this progeny was wafted o'er,
Our fainting bodies every day are fed ? By coasting boats, from next adjacent shore; Than that each grain and seed, consum'd in earth, Would those, from whom we will suppose they Raises its store, and multiplies its birth, spring,
And from the handful, which the tiller sows, Slaughter to harmless lands and poison bring ? The labor'd fields rejoice, and future harvest fows. Would they on board or bears or lynxos take,
“Then, from whate'er we can to sense produce, Feed the she-adder, and the brooding snake ? | Common and plain, or wondrous and abstruso,