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Soft on the paper ruff its leaves I spread,
Bright with the gilded button tipt its head.
Then thron'd in glass, and nam'd it Caroline!
Each maid cried charming! and each youth, divine!
Did Nature's pencil ever blend such rays,
Such varied light in one promiscuous blaze?
Now prostrate! dead! behold that Caroline:
No maid cries charming! and no youth, divine!
And lo the wretch! whose vile, whose insect lust
Laid this gay daughter of the spring in dust.
O punish him, or to th' Elysian shades
Dismiss my soul, where no carnation fades."
He ceas'd, and wept. With innocence of mien
Th' accus'd stood forth, and thus address'd the queen:
"Of all th' enamell'd race, whose silvery wing 421
Waves to the tepid zephyrs of the spring,
Or swims along the fluid atmosphere,
Once brightest shin'd this child of heat and air.
I saw, and started from its vernal bower
The rising game, and chas'd from flower to flower.
It fled, I follow'd; now in hope, now pain;
It stopt, I stopt; it mov'd, I mov'd again.
At last it fix'd, 'twas on what plant it pleas'd,
And where it fix'd, the beauteous bird I seiz'd: 430
Rose or carnation was below my care;
I meddle, goddess! only in my sphere.
I tell the naked fact without disguise,
And, to excuse it, need but shew the prize;
Whose spoils this paper offers to your eye,
Fair ev'n in death! this peerless butterfly."
[parts: 66 My sons! (she answer'd) both have done your Live happy both, and long promote our arts.
v. 421. Of all the enamell'd race.] The Poet seems to have an eye to Spenser, Muiopotmos.
"Of all the race of silver-winged flies
Which do possess the empire of the air."
v. 427, 428. It fled, I follow'd, &c.]
It started back: but pleas'd I soon return'd;
Pleas'd it return'd as soon."
But hear a mother, when she recommends
To your fraternal care our sleeping friends.
The common soul, of Heav'n's more frugal make,
Serves but to keep fools pert, and knaves awake.
A drowsy watchman, that just gives a knock,
And breaks our rest, to tell us what's a-clock.
Yet by some object every brain is stirr❜d;
The dull may waken to a humming-bird;
The most recluse, discreetly open'd, find
Congenial matter in the cockle-kind;
The mind, in metaphysics at a loss,
May wander in a wilderness of moss;
The head that turns at superlunar things,
Pois'd with a tail, may steer on Wilkins' wings.
"O! would the sons of men once think their eyes
And reason giv'n them but to study flies!
See Nature in some partial narrow shape,
And let the Author of the whole escape:
Learn but to trifle; or, who most observe,
To wonder at their Maker, not to serve!".
"Be that my task (replies a gloomy clerk,
Sworn foe to mystery, yet divinely dark;
Whose pious hope aspires to see the day
When moral evidence shall quite decay,
And damns implicit faith, and holy lies,
Prompt to impose, and fond to dogmatize:)
Let others creep by timid steps, and slow,
On plain experience lay foundations low,
By common sense to common knowledge bred,
And last, to Nature's cause through Nature led.
All-seeing in thy mists, we want no guide,
Mother of arrogance, and source of pride!
We nobly take the high priori road,
And reason downward, till we doubt of God:
v.452. Wilkins' wings.] One of the first projectors of the Royal Society, who, among many enlarged and useful notions, entertained the extravagant hope of a possibility to fly to the moon; which has put some volatile geniuses upon making wings for that purpose.
Make Nature still encroach upon his plan,
And shove him off as far as e'er we can :
Thrust some mechanic cause into his place,
Or bind in matter, or diffuse in space:
Or, at one bound o'er-leaping all his laws,
Make God man's image; man, the final cause;
Find virtue local, all relation scorn,
See all in self, and but for self be born:
Of nought so certain as our reason still,
Of nought so doubtful as of soul and will.
O hide the God still more! and make us see
Such as Lucretius drew, a god like thee:
Wrapt up in self, a god without a thought,
Regardless of our merit or default.
Or that bright image to our fancy draw,
Which Theocles in raptur'd vision saw,
While through poetic scenes the genius roves,
Or wanders wild in academic groves;
That Nature our society adores,
Where Tindal dictates, and Silenus snores!"
Rous'd at his name, up rose the bowzy sire,
And shook from out his pipe the seeds of fire;
Then snapt his box, and strok'd his belly down; 495
Rosy and reverend, though without a gown.
Bland and familiar to the throne he came,
Led up the youth, and call'd the goddess dame.
Then thus: "From priestcraft happily set free,
Lo! every finish'd son returns to thee:
First slave to words, then vassal to a name,
Then dupe to party; child and man the same;
Bounded by nature, narrow'd still by art,
A trifling head, and a contracted heart.
Thus bred, thus taught, how many have I seen, 505
Smiling on all, and smil'd on by a queen!
Mark'd out for honours, honour'd for their birth,
To thee the most rebellious things on earth:
v. 492. Silenus.] Silenus was an Epicurean philosopher, as appears from Virgil, Ecl. vi. where he sings the principles of that philosophy in his drink.
Now to thy gentle shadow all are shrunk,
All melted down in pension or in punk!
So K*, so B** sneak'd into the grave,
A monarch's half, and half a harlot's slave.
Poor W** nipt in folly's broadest bloom,
Who praises now? his chaplain on his tomb.
Then take them all, O take them to thy breast! 515
Thy Magus, goddess! shall perform the rest.”
With that a wizard old his cup extends,
Which whoso tastes, forgets his former friends,
Sire, ancestors, himself. One casts his eyes
Up to a star, and like Endymion dies:
A feather, shooting from another's head,
Extracts his brain, and principle is fled;
Lost is his God, his country, every thing,
And nothing left but homage to a king!
The vulgar herd turn off to roll with hogs,
To run with horses, or to hunt with dogs;
But, sad example! never to escape
Their infamy, still keep the human shape.
But she, good goddess, sent to every child
Firm impudence, or stupefaction mild:`
And straight succeeded, leaving shame no room,
Cibberian forehead, or Cimmerian gloom.
Kind self-conceit to some her glass applies,
Which no one looks in with another's eyes:
But as the flatterer or dependant paint,
Beholds himself a patriot, chief, or saint.
On others interest her gay livery flings,
Interest, that waves on party-colour'd wings;
Turn'd to the sun, she casts a thousand dyes,
And, as she turns, the colours fall or rise.
Others the syren sisters warble round,
And empty heads console with empty sound.
v.517.---his cup--- Which whoso tastes, &c.] The cup of self-love, which causes a total oblivion of the obligations of friendship or ho nour; and of the service of God or our country; all sacrificed to vain-glory, court-worship, or the yet meaner considerations of lucre and brutal pleasures. From ver, 520 to 528,
No more, alas! the voice of fame they hear,
The balin of dulness trickling in their car.
Great C**, H**, P**, R**, K*,
Why all your toils? your sons have learn❜d to sing.
How quick ambition hastes to ridicule :
The sire is made a peer, the son a fool.
On some, a priest succinct in amice white
Attends; all flesh is nothing in his sight!
Beeves, at his touch, at once to jelly turn,
And the huge boar is shrunk into an urn:
The board with specious miracles he loads,
Turns hares to larks, and pigeons into toads.
Another (for in all what one can shine?)
Explains the seve and verdeur of the vine.
What cannot copious sacrifice atone?
Thy truffles, Perigord! thy hains, Bayonne !
With French libation, and Italian strain,
Wash Bladen white, and expiate Hays's stain.
Knight lifts the head; for what are crowds undone,
To three essential partridges in one?
Gone every blush, and silent all reproach,
Contending princes mount them in their coach.
Next bidding all draw near on bended knees, 565
The queen confers her titles and degrees.
Her children first of more distinguish'd sort,
Who study Shakspeare at the Inns of Court,
Impale a glow-worm, or vertù profess,
Shine in the dignity of F. R. S.
Some, deep free-masons, join the silent race,
Worthy to fill Pythagoras's place:
Some botanists, or florists at the least,
Or issue members of an annual feast.
Nor past the meanest unregarded, one
Rose a Gregorian, one a Gormogon.
v. 560.---Bladen---Hays.] Names of gamesters. Bladen is a black Robert Knight, Cashier of the South Sea Company, who fled from England in 1720 (afterwards pardoned in 1742.)-These lived with the utmost magnificence at Paris, and kept open tables, frequented by persons of the first quality of England, and even by princes of the blood of France.