Page images
PDF
EPUB

135

140

145

That th' authors of them are unknown,
As little things they scorn'd to own;
Until by men of nobler thought
Th’ were to their full perfection brought.
This proves that Wit does but rough-hew,
Leaves Art to polish and review ;
And that a wit at second-hand
Has greatest interest and command ;
For to improve, dispose, and judge,
Is nobler than t’invent and drudge.

Invention's humorous and nice,
And never at cominand applies ;
Disdains t' obey the proudest wit,
Unless it chance to b' in the fit
(Like prophecy, that can presage
Successes of the latest age,
Yet is not able to tell when
It next shall prophely again);
Makes all her suitors course and wait,
Like a proud minister of state,
And, when the 's serious, in some freak,
Extravagant, and vain, and weak,
Attend her filly lazy pleasure,
Until the chance to be at leisure;
When 'tis more easy to steal wit :
To clip, and forge, and counterfeit,
Is both the business and delight,
Like hunting-fports, of those that write ;
For thievery is but one fort,
The learned say, of hunting-sport.

S

150

155

160

Henet

165

170

Hence 'tis that some, who fet up

first
As raw, and wretched, and unverft,
And open'd with a stock as poor
As a healthy beggar with one fore;
That never writ in profe or verse,
But pick’d, or cut it, like a purse,
And at the best could but commit
The petty-larceny of wit ;
To whom to write was to purloin,
And printing but to stamp false coin ;
Yet, after long and sturdy' endeavours
Of being painful wit-receivers,
With gathering rags and scraps of wit,
As paper 's made on which 'tis writ,
Have gone forth authors, and acquirid
The right-or wrong-to be admir'd;
And, arm’d with confidence, incurr'd
The fool's good luck, to be preferrd.
For, as a banker can dispose
Of greater sums he only owes,
Than he who honestly is known
To deal in nothing but his own,
So, whosoe'er can take up most,
May greatest fame and credit boast.

175

180

185

SATIRE,

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

PART I.
T is the noblest act of human-reason,

[blocks in formation]

In the large General Dictionary, or Bayle's enlarged by Mr. Bernard, Birch, and Lockman, we are told by the learned editors, under the article Hudibras, that they were personally informed by the late Mr. Longueville, That amongst the genuine remains of Butler, which were in his hands, there was a poem, entitled Tbe History of Learning.--To the fame purpose is the following passage, cited from The Poetical Register, vol. II. p. 21.

.-" In justice to the public, it is thought proper to declare, that all the manuscripts Mr. But“ ser left behind him are now in the custody of Mr. “ Longueville (among which is one, entitled The Hifto"ry of Learning, written after the manner of Hudi

« bras) and that not one line of those poems lately *“ published under his name is genuine."

As these authorities must have given the world reason to expect, in this Work, a poem of this fort, it be'comes necessary for me to inform the pablic-that But

ler

Assume the legal right to disengage
From all it had contracted under age,
And not its ingenuity and wit,
To all it was imbued with first, submit

[ocr errors][merged small]

ler did meditate a pretty long fatire upon the imperfection and abuse of Human Learning ; but that he only finished this first part of it, though' he has left very considerable and interesting fragments of the remainder, some of which I shall subjoin.

The Poet's plan seems to have consisted of two parts ; the first, which he has executed, is to expose the defects of human learning-from the wrong methods of education from the natural imperfection of the human mind- and from that over-eagerness of men to know things above the reach of human capacity:The second, as far as one can judge by the Remains, and intended parts of it, was to have exemplified what he has asserted in the first ; and ridiculed and satirized the different branches of human learning, in characte. rizing the philosopher, critic, orator, &c.

Mr. Longueville might be led, by this, into the miltake of calling this work A History of Learning; or perhaps it might arise from Butler's having, in one plan, which he afterwards altered, begun with these two lines,

The history of learning is so lame,

That few can tell from whence at first it came. What has been said will, I fatter myself, be a fuffi. cient apology for the printing an imperfect work, if the many good things to be met with in it does not make one unnecessary:-However, for this reason, I did not think fit to place it amongst his other Satires, which are perfect in their different ways.

a

10

20

Take true or false for better or for worse,
To have or t'hold indifferently of course.

For Custom, though but usher of the school
Where Nature breeds the body and the soul,
Usurps a greater power and interest
O'er man, the heir of Reason, than brute beast,
That by two different instincts is led,
Born to the one, and to the other bred,
And tuains him up with rudiments more false 15
Than Nature does her stupid animals ;
And that 's one reason why more care 's bestow'd
Upon the body than the soul 's allow'd,
That is not found to understand and know
- So subtly as the body's found to grow.

Though children, without study, pains, or thought, Are languages and vulgar notions taught, Improve their natural talents without care, And apprehend before they are aware, Yet as all strangers never leave the tones

25 They have been us’d of children to pronounce, So most men's reason never can outgrow: The discipline it first receiv'd to know, But renders words they first began to con, The end of all that 's after to be known,

3 And sets the help of education back, Worse than, without it, man could ever lack ; Who, therefore, finds the artificial'ft fools Have not been chang’d i' th' cradle, but the schools, Where error, pedantry, and affectation,

35 Run them behind-hand with their education,

And

« EelmineJätka »