« EelmineJätka »
Then all they do, like gold and pearl appears,
And other actions are but dirt to theirs.
They that so highly think themselves above
All other men, themselves can only love ;
Reason and virtue, all that man can boast
O'er other creatures,
in those brutes are loft.
Observe (if thee this fatal error touch,
Thou to thyself contributing too much)
Those who are generous, humble, just, and wise,
Who not their gold, nor themselves idolize ;
To form thyself by their example learn
(For many eyes can more than one discern);
But yet beware of counfels when too full,
Number makes long disputes and graveness dull ;
Though their advice be good, their counsel wise,
Yet length still lofes opportunities :
Debate destroys dispatch; as fruits we fee
Rot, when they hang too long upon the tree ;
In vain that husbandman his feed doth fow,
If he his crop not in due feafon mow.
A general sets his army in array
In vain, unless he fight, and win the day.
'Tis virtuous action that must praise bring forth,
Without which sow advice is little worth.
Yet they who give good counsel, praife deserve,
Though in the active part they cannot serve :
In action, learned counsellors their age,
Profession, or disease, forbids t'engage.
Nor to philosophers is praise deny'd,
Whose wise instructions after-ages guide ;
Yet vainly most their age in study spend ;
No end of writing books, and to no end :
Beating their brains for Strange and hidden things,
Whose knowledge, nor delight, nor profit brings ;
Themselves with doubt both day and night perplex,
Nor gentle reader please, or teach, but vex.
Books should to one of these four ends conduce,
For wisdom, piety, delight, or use.
What need we gaze upon the spangled sky?
Or into matter's hidden causes
To describe every city, stream, or hill
I'th' world, our fancy with vain arts to fill ?
What is 't to hear a sophister, that pleads,
Who by the ears the deceiv'd audience leads ?
If we were wise, these things we should not mind,
But more delight in easy matters find.
Learn to live well, that thou may'st die fo too ;
To live and die is all we have to do:
The way (if no digression 's made) is even,
And free access, if we but ask, is given.
Then seek to know those things which make us bleft,
And having found them, lock them in thy breast;
Enquiring then the way, go on, nor flack,
But mend thy pace, nor think of going back.
Some their whole age in these enquiries waste,
And die like fools before one step they've past;
'Tis strange to know the way, and not t advance,
That knowledge is far worse than ignorance.
The learned teach, but what they teach, not do;
And standing still themselves, make others go.
In vain on study time away we throw,
When we forbear to act the things we know.
The foldier that philosopher well blam’d,
Who long and loudly in the fchools declaim'd;
Tell (said the foldier) venerable fir,
Why all these words, this clamour, and this ftir ?
Why do disputes in wrangling spend the day?
Whilst one says only yea, and t’other nay.
Oh, said the doctor, we for wisdom toil'd,
For which none toils too much : the foldier smil'd;
You ’re grey and old, and to some pious use
This mass of treasure you should now reduce :
But you your store have hoarded in some bank,
For which th' infernal spirits shall you thank.
Let what. thou learnest be by practice shown,
'Tis faid that wisdom's children make her known.
What's good doth open to th' enquirer stand,
And itself offers to th' accepting hand ;
All things by order and true measures done,
Wisdom will end, as well as she begun.
Let early care thy main concerns secure,
Things of less moment may delays endure :
Men do not for their servants first prepare,
And of their wives and children quit the care ;
Yet when we ’re sick, the doctor's fetcht in haste,
Leaving our grcat concernment to the last.
When we are well, our hearts are only set
(Which way we care not) to be rich, or great;
What shall become of all that we have got ;
We only know that us it follows nat;
And what a trifle is a moment's breath,
Laid in the scale with everlasting death!
What's time, when on eternity we think?
A thousand ages in that sea must fink;
Time's nothing but a word, a million
Is full as far from infinite as one.
To whom thou much doft owe, thou much must pay,
Think on the debt against th'accompting-day ;
God, who to thee reason and knowledge lent,
Will ask how these two talents have been spent.
Let not low pleasures thy high reason blind,
He's mad, that seeks what no man e'er could find.
Why should we fondly please our sense, wherein
Beasts us exceed, nor feel the stings of sin ?
What thoughts man's reason better can become,
Than th' expectation of his welcome home?
Lords of the world have but for life their lease,
And that to (if the lesser please) must cease.
Death cancels nature's bonds, but for our deeds
(That debt first paid) a strict account succeeds;
If here not clear’d, no suretyship can bail
Condemned debtors from th' eternal gaol.
Christ's blood 's our balsam ; if that cure us here,
Him, when our judge, we shall not find fevere ;
His yoke is easy when by us embrac'd,
But loads and galls, if on our necks 'tis caft.
Be just in all thy actions ; and if join'd
With those that are not, never change thy mind :
If aught obstruct thy course, yet stand not still,
But wind about, till you have topp'd the hill;
To the fame end men several paths may tread,
As many doors into one temple lead;
And the fame hand into a fist may close,
Which instantly a palm expanded fhows :
Justice and faith never forsake the wife,
him in disguise ;
Not turning like the wind, but if the state
Of things must change, he is not obstinate ;
Things past, and future, with the present weighs,
Nor credulous of what vain rumour says.
Few things by wisdom are at first believ'd ;
An easy ear deceives, and is deceiv'd :
For many truths have often past for lies,
And lies as often put on truth's disguise :
As Aattery too oft like friendship shows,
So them who speak plain truth we think our foes.
No quick reply to dubious questions make,
Suspence and caution still prevent mistake.
When any great design thou doft intend,
Think on the means, the manner, and the end :
All great concernments must delays endure ;
Rashness and haste make all things unsecure ;
And if uncertain thy pretensions be,
Stay till fit time wear out uncertainty ;
But if to unjust things thou dost pretend,
Ere they begin let thy pretensions end.
Let thy discourse be fuch, that thou may'st give
Profit to others, or from them receive :
Inftru&t the ignorant; to those that live
Under thy care, good rules and patterns give ;.