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And with impertinent evafions force

The cleareft reafon from its native courfe-
That argue things fo' uncertain, 'tis no matter
Whether they are, or never were in nature;
And venture to demonstrate, when they 've slur'd,
And palm'd a fallacy upon a word.

For difputants (as fwordsmen use to fence
With blunted foyles) engage with blunted sense;
And, as they 're wont to falfify a blow,

Ufe nothing else to pass upon the foe;
Or, if they venture further to attack,

Like bowlers, ftrive to beat away the jack;

And, when they find themselves too hardly preft on,
Prevaricate, and change the ftate o' th' queft'on;
The nobleft fcience of defence and art

In practice now with all that controvert,
And th' only mode of prizes, from Bear-garden
Down to the schools, in giving blows, or warding.

AS old knights-errant in their harness fought
As fafe as in a castle or redoubt,
Gave one another defperate attacks,

To ftorm the counterfcarps upon their backs;
So difputants advance, and post their arms,
To form the works of one another's terms;
Fall foul on fome extravagant expreffion,
But ne'er attempt the main design and reason→→→
So fome polemics ufe to draw their fwords
Against the language only and the words;


As he who fought at barriers with Salmafius,
Engag'd with nothing but his style and phrases,
Wav'd to affert the murther of a prince,
The author of falfe Latin to convince ;
But laid the merits of the cause afide,
By thofe that understood them to be try'd;
And counted breaking Prifcian's head a thing
More capital than to behead a king;

For which he 'as been admir'd by all the learn'd,
Of knaves concern'd, and pedants unconcern'd.

JUDGMENT is but a curious pair of scales,
That turns with th' hundredth part of true or false,
And still, the more 'tis us'd, is wont t' abate
The fubtlety and nicenefs of its weight,
Until 'tis falfe, and will not rife nor fall,

Like thofe that are lefs artificial;

And therefore ftudents, in their ways of judging,
Are fain to swallow many a fenfelefs gudgeon,
And by their over-understanding lofe

Its active faculty with too much ufe;
For reafon, when too curiously 'tis fpun,
Is but the next of all remov'd from none-
It is Opinion governs all mankind,
As wifely as the blind that leads the blind :
For, as thofe furnames are efteem'd the beft
That fignify in all things elfe the leaft,

So men pass faireft in the world's opinion,
That have the least of truth and reafon in them.

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Truth would undo the world, if it poffeft
The meaneft of its right and interest ;
Is but a titular princess, whose authority
Is always under age, and in minority;
Has all things done, and carried in its name,
But most of all where it can lay no claim;
As far from gaiety and complaisance,
As greatness, infolence, and ignorance;
And therefore has furrendred her dominion
O'er all mankind to barbarous Opinion,
That in her right ufurps the tyrannies
And arbitrary government of lyes-

As no tricks on the rope but those that break,

Or come most near to breaking of a neck,
Are worth the fight, so nothing goes for wit
But nonfenfe, or the next of all to it:

For nonfenfe, being neither false nor true,
A little wit to any thing may screw;

And, when it has a while been us'd, of course
Will ftand as well in virtue, power, and force,
And pafs for fenfe t' all purpofes as good
As if it had at first been understood :
For nonfenfe has the ampleft privileges,

And more than all the strongest sense obliges;
That furnishes the fchools with terms of art,
The mysteries of fcience to impart ;
Supplies all feminaries with recruits
Of endless controverfies and difputes;


For learned nonfenfe has a deeper found
Than easy sense, and goes for more profound.

FOR all our learned authors now compile
At charge of nothing but the words and style,
And the moft curious critics or the learned
Believe themselves in nothing else concerned ;
For, as it is the garniture and dress

That all things wear in books and languages
(And all men's qualities are wont t' appear
According to the habits that they wear),
'Tis probable to be the trueft teft

Of all the ingenuity o' th' reft.

The lives of trees lie only in the barks,
And in their styles the wit of greatest clerks ;
Hence 'twas the ancient Roman politicians
Went to the schools of foreign rhetoricians,
To learn the art of patrons, in defence
Of interest and their clients' eloquence
When confuls, cenfors, fenators, and prætors,
With great dictators, us'd t' apply to rhetors,
To hear the greater magiftrate o' th' school
Give sentence in his haughty chair-curule,
And those who mighty nations overcame,
Were fain to say their leffons, and declame.
Words are but pictures, true or false design'd,
To draw the lines and features of the mind;
The characters and artificial draughts,
T'exprefs the inward images of thoughts;


And artists say a picture may be good,
Although the moral be not understood;
Whence fome infer they may admire a style,
Though all the reft be e'er fo mean and vile;
Applaud th' outfides of words, but never mind
With what fantastic tawdry they are lin'd.
So orators, enchanted with the twang
Of their own trillos, take delight t' harangue;
Whofe fcience, like a juggler's box and balls,
Conveys and counterchanges true and false;
Cafts mifts before an audience's eyes,
To pass the one for th' other in disguise;
And, like a morrice-dancer drefs'd with bells,
Only to ferve for noise and nothing else,
Such as a carrier makes his cattle wear,
And hangs for pendents in a horfe's ear;
For, if the language will but bear the test,
No matter what becomes of all the reft:
The ableft orator, to fave a word,
Would throw all fenfe and reafon overboard.

Hence 'tis that nothing else but eloquence
Is ty'd to fuch a prodigal expence ;

That lays out half the wit and fenfe it uses
Upon the other half's, as vain excufes :
For all defences and apologies

Are but specifics t' other frauds and lyes;
And th' artificial wash of eloquence
Is daub'd in vain upon the clearest fenfe,
Only to stain the native ingenuity
Of equal brevity and perfpicuity;



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