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Yet, if these finer whims are gone,
Your clock, though plain, would still go on;
But spoil the engine of digestion,
And you entirely change the question.
Alma's affairs no power can mend ;
The jest, alas! is at an end:
Soon ceases all the worldly bustle,
And you consign the corpse to Russel.
"Now make your Alma come or go
From leg to hand, from top to toe,
Your system, without my addition,
Is in a very sad condition.
So Harlequin extoll'd his horse,
Fit for the war, or road, or course!
His mouth was soft, his eye was good,
His foot was sure as ever trod :
One fault he had (a fault indeed!)
And what was that? the horse was dead."
"Dick, from these instances and fetches,
Thou mak'st of horses, clocks, and watches,"
Quoth Mat," to me thou seem'st to mean,
That Alma is a mere machine:
That, telling others what's o'clock,
She knows not what herself has struck;
But leaves to standers-by the trial
Of what is mark'd upon her dial."
'Here hold a blow, good friend," quoth Dick,
And rais'd his voice exceeding quick.
"Fight fair, sir: what I never meant
Don't you infer. In argument
Similies are like songs in love:
They much describe; they nothing prove."
Mat, who was here a little gravell'd,
Tost up his nose, and would have cavill'd;
But, calling Hermes to his aid,
Half pleas'd, half angry, thus he said:
(Where mind ('tis for the author's fame)
That Matthew call'd, and Hermes came.
In danger heroes, and in doubt
Poets find gods to help them out.)
"Friend Richard, I begin to see,
That you and I shall scarce agree.
Observe how oddly you behave:
The more I grant, the more you crave.
But, comrade, as I said just now,
I should affirm, and you allow.
We system-makers can sustain
The thesis, which you grant was plain;
And with remarks and comments tease ye,
In case the thing before was easy.
But, in a point obscure and dark,
We fight as Leibnitz did with Clarke;
And, when no reason we can show,
Why matters this or that way go,
The shortest way the thing we try,
And what we know not, we deny;
True to our own o'erbearing pride,
And false to all the world beside.
"That old philosopher grew cross,
Who could not tell what motion was:
Because he walk'd against his will,
He fac'd men down, that he stood still.
And he who, reading on the heart,
(When all his quodlibets of art
Could not expound its pulse and heat)
Swore he had never felt it beat.
Chrysippus, foil'd by Epicurus,
Makes bold (Jove bless him!) to assure us,
That all things, which our mind can view,
May be at once both false and true.
And Malebranche has an odd conceit,
As ever enter'd Frenchman's pate:
Says he,So little can our mind
Of matter or of spirit find,
That we by guess at least may gather
Something, which may be both, or neither."
Faith, Dick, I must confess, 'tis true,
(But this is only entre nous)
That many knotty points there are,
Which all discuss, but few can clear;
As Nature slily had thought fit,
For some by-ends, to cross-bite wit:
Circles to square, and cubes to double,
Would give a man excessive trouble;
The longitude uncertain roams,
In spite of Whiston and his bombs.
What system, Dick, has right averr'd
The cause why woman has no beard?
Or why, as years our frame attack,
Our hairs grow white, our teeth grow black!
In points like these we must agree,
Our barbers know as much as we.
Yet still, unable to explain,
We must persist the best we can;
With care our system still renew,
And prove things likely, though not true.
"I could, thou seest, in quaint dispute,
By dint of logic, strike thee mute;
With learned skill, now push, now parry,
From Darii to Bocardo vary,
And never yield; or, what is worst,
Never conclude the point discours'd.
Yet, that you hic & nunc may know
How much you to my candor owe,
I'll from the disputant descend,
To show thee, I assume the friend:
I'll take thy notion for my own—
(So most philosophers have done)
It makes my system more complete :
Dick, can it have a nobler fate?"
Take what thou wilt," said Dick, "dear But bring thy matters to an end."
"I find," quoth Mat, "reproof is vain:
Who first offend, will first complain.
Thou wishest I should make to shore;
Yet still putt'st in thy thwarting oar.
What I have told thee fifty times
In prose, receive for once in rhymes:
A huge fat man in country-fair,
Or city-church, (no matter where,)
Labor'd and push'd amidst the crowd,
Still bawling out extremely loud,
'Lord save us! why do people press!"
Another, marking his distress,
Friendly replied, Plump gentleman,
Get out as fast as e'er you can;
Or cease to push, or to exclaim:
You make the very crowd you blame.''
Says Dick, "Your moral does not need
The least return; so e'en proceed:
Your tale, howe'er applied, was short:
So far, at least, I thank you for 't."
Mat took his thanks; and, in a tone
More magisterial, thus went on.
Now Alma settles in the head, As has before been sung or said:
And here begins this farce of life;
Enter Revenge, Ambition, Strife:
Behold on both sides men advance,
To form in earnest Bays's dance.
L'Avare, not using half his store,
Still grumbles that he has no more;
Strikes not the present tun, for fear
The vintage should be bad next year;
And eats to-day with inward sorrow,
And dread of fancied want to-morrow.
Abroad if the surtout you wear
Repels the rigor of the air;
Would you be warmer, if at home
You had the fabric and the loom?
And, if two boots keep out the weather,
What need you have two hides of leather?
Could Pedro, think you, make no trial
Of a sonata on his viol,
Unless he had the total gut
Whence every string at first was cut?
"When Rarus shows you his cartone, He always tells you, with a groan, Where two of that same hand were torn, Long before you or he were born.
· Poor Vento's mind so much is crost,
For part of his Petronius lost,
That he can never take the pains
To understand what yet remains.
"What toil did honest Curio take,
What strict inquiries did he make,
To get one medal wanting yet,
And perfect all his Roman set!
"Tis found: and, O his happy lot!
"Tis bought, lock'd up, and lies forgot:
Of these no more you hear him speak:
He now begins upon the Greek.
These, rang'd and show'd, shall in their turns
Remain obscure as in their urns.
My copper lamps, at any rate,
For being true antique, I bought;
Yet wisely melted down my plate,
On modern models to be wrought: And trifles I alike pursue,
Because they're old, because they're new.
"Dick, I have seen you with delight,
For Georgy* make a paper kite.
And simple ode too many show ye
My servile complaisance to Chloe.
Parents and lovers are decreed
By Nature fools."-"That's brave, indeed!" Quoth Dick: "such truths are worth receiving."| Yet still Dick look'd as not believing.
“Now, Alma, to divines and prose
I leave thy frauds, and crimes, and woes;
Nor think to-night of thy ill-nature,
But of thy follies, idle creature!
The turns of thy uncertain wing,
And not the malice of thy sting:
Thy pride of being great and wise
I do but mention, to despise ;
I view, with anger and disdain,
How little gives thee joy or pain;
A print, a bronze, a flower, a root,
A shell, a butterfly, can do't:
Ev'n a romance, a tune, a rhyme,
Help thee to pass the tedious time,
Which else would on thy hand remain;
Though, flown, it ne'er looks back again;
And cards are dealt, and chess-boards brought,
To ease the pain of coward Thought:
Happy result of human wit!
That Alma may herself forget.
"Dick, thus we act; and thus we are,
Or toss'd by hope, or sunk by care.
With endless pain this man pursues
What, if he gain'd, he could not use :
And t'other fondly hopes to see
What never was, nor e'er shall be.
We err by use, go wrong by rules,
In gesture grave, in action fools:
We join hypocrisy to pride,
Doubling the faults we strive to hide.
Or grant that, with extreme surprise,
We find ourselves at sixty wise,
And twenty pretty things are known,
Of which we can't accomplish one;
Whilst, as my system says, the Mind
Is to these upper rooms confin'd.
Should I, my friend, at large repeat
Her borrow'd sense, her fond conceit,
The bead-roll of her vicious tricks,
My poem would be too prolix.
For, could I my remarks sustain,
Like Socrates, or Miles Montaigne,
Who in these times would read my books,
But Tom o'Stiles, or John o'Nokes?
"As Brentford kings, discreet and wise,
After long thought and grave advice,
Into Lardella's coffin peeping,
Saw nought to cause their mirth or weeping:
So Alma, now to joy or grief
Superior, finds her late relief:
Wearied of being high or great,
And nodding in her chair of state;
Stunn'd and worn out with endless chat
Of Will did this, and Nan said that;
She finds, poor thing, some little crack,
Which Nature, forc'd by Time, must make,
Through which she wings her destin'd way;
Upward she soars, and down drops clay:
While some surviving friend supplies
Hic jacet, and a hundred lies.
"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,
And Time some uncouth heir supply,
Who shall for nothing else be known
But spoiling all that thou hast done.
Who set the twigs shall he remember
That is in haste to sell the timber?
And what shall of thy woods remain,
Except the box that threw the main?
Nay, may not Time and Death remove
The near relations whom I love?
And my coz Tom, or his coz Mary,
(Who hold the plow, or skim the dairy,)
My favorite books and pictures sell
To Smart, or Doiley, by the ell?
Kindly throw in a little figure,
And set the price upon the bigger?
Those who could never read the grammar,
When my dear volumes touch the hammer,
May think books best, as richest bound;
My copper medals by the pound
May be with learned justice weigh'd;
To turn the balance, Otho's head
May be thrown in; and, for the metal,
The coin may mend a tinker's kettle-
"Tir'd with these thoughts"-"Less
Quoth Dick, "with your philosophy-
That people live and die, I knew
An hour ago, as well as you.
And, if Fate spins us longer years,
Or is in haste to take the shears,
I know we must both fortunes try,
And bear our evils, wet or dry.
Yet, let the goddess smile or frown,
Bread we shall eat, or white or brown;
And in a cottage, or a court,
Drink fine champaigne, or muddled port.
What need of books these truths to tell,
Which folks perceive who cannot spell?
And must we spectacles apply,
To view what hurts our naked eye!
"Sir, if it be your wisdom's aim
To make me merrier than I am,
I'll be all night at your devotion-
Come on, friend, broach the pleasing notion;
But, if you would depress my thought,
Your system is not worth a groat-
"For Plato's fancies what care I?
I hope you would not have me die,
Like simple Cato in the play,
For any thing that he can say:
E'en let him of ideas speak
To heathens in his native Greek.
If to be sad is to be wise,
I do most heartily despise
Whatever Socrates has said,
Or Tully writ, or Wanley read.
Dear Drift,* to set our matters right, Remove these papers from my sight; Burn Mat's Des-cart, and Aristotle : Here! Jonathan, your master's bottle."
* Mr. Prior's secretary and executor.
Ο Βίος γὰρ ὄνομ ̓ ἔχει, πόνος δ' ἔργῳ πέλει. EURIP
Siquis Deus mihi largiatur, ut ex hac ætate repuerascam, et in cunis vagiam, valde recusem.-CIC. de Senect.
The bewailing of man's miseries has been elegantly and copi ously set forth by many in the writings as well of philosophers as divines; and is both a pleasant and a profitable contemplation.-BACON.
Texts chiefly alluded to in Book I.
"THE words of the Preacher the son of David, king of Jerusalem."-ECCLES. chap. i. ver. 1.
"Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities, all is vanity."-Ver. 2.
"I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge."-Ver. 16.
"He spake of trees, from the cedar-tree that is in Lebanon, even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes."-1 KINGS, chap. iv. ver. 33.
"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 beginning to the end."-Ver. 11.
"For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge, increaseth sorrow."-ck. 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.
SOLOMON, seeking happiness from knowledge, convenes 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
fully informed as to the attributes of the Supreme Wanting the Sun, why does the caltha fade?
Being. He is imperfectly answered by the rab- Why does the cypress flourish in the shade?
bins and doctors; blames his own curiosity; and The fig and date, why love they to remain
concludes, that, as to human science, All is In middle station, and an even plain :
While in the lower marsh the gourd is found,
And while the hill with olive shade is crown d?
Why does one climate and one soil endue
The blushing poppy with a crimson hue,
Yet leave the lily pale, and tinge the violet blue?
Why does the fond carnation love to shoot
A various color from one parent root;
While the fantastic tulip strives to break
In twofold beauty, and a parted streak?
The twining jasmine and the blushing rose,
With lavish grace, their morning scents disclose :
The smelling tuberose and jonquil declare
The stronger impulse of an evening air.
Whence has the tree (resolve me), or the flower,
A various instinct, or a different power?
Why should one earth, one clime, one stream, one
YE sons of men, with just regard attend,
Observe the preacher, and believe the friend,
Whose serious Muse inspires him to explain,
That all we act, and all we think, is vain;
That, in this pilgrimage of seventy years,
O'er rocks of perils, and through vales of tears,
Destin'd to march, our doubtful steps we tend,
Tir'd with the toil, yet fearful of its end:
That from the womb we take our fatal shares
Of follies, passions, labors, tumults, cares;
And, at approach of Death, shall only know
The truth, which from these pensive numbers flow,
That we pursue false joy, and suffer real woe.
Happiness, object of that waking dream,
Which we call life, mistaking: fugitive theme
Of my pursuing verse, ideal shade,
Notional good, by fancy only made,
And by tradition nurs'd, fallacious fire,
Whose dancing beams mislead our fond desire,
Cause of our care, and error of our mind;
Oh! hadst thou ever been by Heaven design'd
To Adam, and his mortal race; the boon
Entire had been reserv'd for Solomon:
On me the partial lot had been bestow'd,
And in my cup the golden draught had flow'd.
But O! ere yet original man was made,
Ere the foundations of this Earth were laid,
It was, opponent to our search, ordain'd
That joy, still sought, should never be attain'd.
This sa d experience cites me to reveal,
And what I dictate is from what I feel.
Born, as I was, great David's favorite son,
Dear to my people, on the Hebrew throne,
Sublime my court, with Ophir's treasures blest,
My naine extended to the farthest east,
My body cloth'd with every outward grace,
Strength in my limbs, and beauty in my face,
My shining thought with fruitful notions crown'd,
Quick my invention, and my judgment sound:
I said; and sent my edict through the land:
Around my throne the letter'd rabbins stand;
Historic leaves revolve, long volumes spread,
The old discoursing as the younger read:
Attent I heard, propos'd my doubts, and said:
The vegetable world, each plant and tree,
Its seed, its name, its nature, its degree,
I am allow'd, as Fame reports, to know
From the fair cedar on the craggy brow
Of Lebanon, nodding supremely tall,
To creeping moss and hyssop on the wall:
Yet, just and conscious to myself, I find
A thousand doubts oppose the searching mind.
"I know not why the beech delights the glade
With boughs extended, and a rounder shade;
Whilst towering firs in conic forms arise,
And with a pointed spear divide the skies:
Nor why again the changing oak should shed
The yearly honor of his stately head;
Whilst the distinguish'd yew is ever seen,
Unchang'd his branch, and permanent his green.
Raise this to strength, and sicken that to death?
"Whence does it happen, that the plant, which
We name the Sensitive, should move and feel?
Whence know her leaves to answer her command,
And with quick horror fly the neighboring hand?
"Along the sunny bank, or watery mead,
Ten thousand stalks the various blossoms spread :
Peaceful and lowly in their native soil,
They neither know to spin, nor care to toil;
Yet with confess'd magnificence deride
Our vile attire, and impotence of pride.
The cowslip smiles, in brighter yellow dress'd
Than that which veils the nubile virgin's breast:
A fairer red stands blushing in the rose
Than that which on the bridegroom's vestment
Take but the humblest lily of the field,
And, if our pride will to our reason yield,
It must, by sure comparison, be shown
That on the regal seat great David's son,
Array'd in all his robes and types of power,
Shines with less glory than that simple flower.
"Of fishes next, my friends, I would inquire.
How the mute race engender, or respire,
From the small fry that glide on Jordan's stream,
Unmark'd, a multitude without a name,
To that Leviathan, who o'er the seas
Immense rolls onward his impetuous ways,
And mocks the wind, and in the tempest plays?
How they in warlike bands march greatly forth
From freezing waters and the colder north,
To southern climes directing their career,
Their station changing with th' inverted year?
How all with careful knowledge are endued,
To choose their proper bed, and wave, and food;
To guard their spawn, and educate their brood?
"Of birds, how each, according to her kind,
Proper materials for her nest can find,
And build a frame, which deepest thought in man
Would or amend or imitate in vain?
How in small flights they know to try their young,
And teach the callow child her parent's song?
Why these frequent the plain, and those the wood?
Why every land has her specific brood?
Where the tall crane, or winding swallow, goes,
Fearful of gathering winds and falling snows;
If into rocks, or hollow trees, they creep,
In temporary death confin'd to sleep;
Or, conscious of the coming evil, fly
To milder regions, and a southern sky?
Of beasts and creeping insects shall we trace
The wondrous nature, and the various race;
Or wild or tame, or friend to man or foe,
Of us what they, or what of them we know?
"Tell me, ye studious, who pretend to see
Far into Nature's bosom, whence the bee
Was first inform'd her venturous flight to steer
Through trackless paths, and an abyss of air?
Whence she avoids the slimy marsh, and knows
The fertile hills, where sweeter herbage grows,
And honey-making flowers their opening buds dis-
How from the thicken'd mist, and setting sun,
Finds she the labor of her day is done?
Who taught her against winds and rains to strive,
To bring her burthen to the certain hive;
And through the liquid fields again to pass,
Duteous, and hearkening to the sounding brass?
"And, O thou sluggard, tell me why the ant,
'Midst summer's plenty, thinks of winter's want,
By constant journeys careful to prepare
Her stores; and, bringing home the corny ear,
By what instruction does she bite the grain,
Lest, hid in earth, and taking root again,
It might elude the foresight of her care?
Distinct in either insect's deed appear
For the kind gifts of water and of food
Ungrateful, and returning ill for good,
He seeks his keeper's flesh, and thirsts his blood:
While the strong camel, and the generous horse,
Restrain'd and aw'd by man's inferior force,
Do to the rider's will their rage submit,
And answer to the spur, and own the bit;
Stretch their glad mouths to meet the feeder's hand,
Pleas'd with his weight, and proud of his command
"Again: the lonely fox roams far abroad,
On secret rapine bent, and midnight fraud;
Now haunts the cliff, now traverses the lawn,
And flies the hated neighborhood of man
While the kind spaniel and the faithful hound,
Likest that fox in shape and species found,
Refuses through these cliffs and lawns to roam,
Pursues the noted path, and covets home,
Does with kind joy domestic faces meet,
Takes what the glutted child denies to eat,
And, dying, licks his long-lov'd master's feet.
"By what immediate cause they are inclin'd,
In many acts, 'tis hard, I own, to find.
I see in others, or I think I see,
That strict their principles and ours agree.
Evil like us they shun, and covet good;
Abhor the poison, and receive the food.
Like us they love or hate; like us they know
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
On the young gnat, or new-engender'd fly;
On the vile worm that yesterday began
To crawl; thy fellow-creatures, abject man! [see,
Like thee they breathe, they move, they taste, they
They show their passions by their acts, like thee:
Darting their stings, they previously declare
Design'd revenge, and fierce intent of war:
Laying their eggs, they evidently prove
The genial power, and full effect of love.
Each then has organs to digest his food,
One to beget, and one receive the brood;
And use the means proportion'd to the end.
Then vainly the philosopher avers,
That reason guides our deed, and instinct theirs.
How can we justly different causes frame,
When the effects entirely are the same?
Instinct and reason how can we divide?
"Tis the fool's ignorance, and the pedant's pride.
"With the same folly, sure, man vaunts his sway
If the brute beast refuses to obey.
For tell me, when the empty boaster's word
Proclaims himself the universal lord,
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,
Though the whole fabric smaller than a grain.
What more can our penurious reason grant
To the large whale, or castled elephant;
To those enormous terrors of the Nile,
The crested snake, and long-tail'd crocodile :
Than that all differ but in shape and name,
Each destin'd to a less or larger frame?
"For potent Nature loves a various act,
Prone to enlarge, or studious to contract;
Now forms her work too small, now too immense,
And scorns the measures of our feeble sense.
The object, spread too far, or rais'd too high,
Denies its real image to the eye;
Too little, it eludes the dazzled sight,
Becomes mixt blackness, or unparted light.
Water and air the varied form confound;
Would not the learned coward leave the chair,
If in the schools or porches should appear
The fierce hyena, or the foaming bear?
"The combatant too late the field declines,
When now the sword is girded to his loins.
When the swift vessel flics before the wind,
Too late the sailor views the land behind.
And 'tis too late now back again to bring
Inquiry, rais'd and towering on the wing:
Forward she strives, averse to be withheld
From nobler objects, and a larger field.
"Consider with me this ethereal space,
Yielding to earth and sea the middle place.
Anxious I ask you, how the pensile ball
Should never strive to rise, nor fear to fall?
When I reflect how the revolving Sun
Does round our globe his crooked journeys run,
The straight looks crooked, and the square grows I doubt of many lands, if they contain
Thus, while with fruitless hope and weary pain,
We seek great Nature's power, but seek in vain,
Safe sits the goddess in her dark retreat;
Around her myriads of ideas wait,
And endless shapes, which the mysterious queen
Can take or quit, can alter or retain,
As from our lost pursuit she wills, to hide
ller close decrees, and chasten human pride.
"Untam'd and fierce the tiger still remains,
He tires his life in biting on his chains:
Or herd of beast, or colony of man;
If any nation pass their destin'd days
Beneath the neighboring Sun's directer rays;
If any suffer on the polar coast
The rage of Arctos and eternal frost.
"May not the pleasure of Omnipotence
To each of these some secret good dispense?
Those who amidst the torrid regions live,
May they not gales unknown to us receive?
See daily showers rejoice the thirsty earth,
And bless the flowery buds' succeeding birth?