« EelmineJätka »
The same first Mover certain bounds has plac'd, | So should we make our death a glad relief
And joyous of our conquest early won:
Why should we mourn that he so soon is freed, On some unalter'd cause they sure depend : Or call untiinely what the Gods decreed? Parts of the whole are we ; but God, the whole, With grief as just a friend may be deplor'd, Who gives us life and animating soul : From a foul prison to free air restord. For nature cannot from a part derive
Ought he to thank his kinsmen or his wife, That being, which the whole can only give : Could tears rocal him into wretched life? He perfect, stable ; but imperfect we, Their sorrow hurts themselves; ou him is lost; Subject to change, and diff'rent in degree ; And, worse than both, offends liis happy ghost. Plants, beasts, and man; and, as our organs are, What then remains, but, after past annoy, We more or less of his perfection share. To take the good vicissitude of joy? But by a long descent th' ethereal fire To thank the gracious Guds for what they give, Corrupts; and forms, the mortal part, expire: Possess our souls, and, while we live, to live? As he withdraws his virtne, so they pass;
Orelain we then two sorrows to combine, And the same matter makes another mass. And in one point th' extremes of grief to join; Thislaw th’Omniscient Pow'r was pleas'd to give, That thence resulting joy may be renewd; 'That ev'ry kind should by succession live: As jarring notes in harmony conclude. That individuals die his will ordains;
Then I propose that Palamon shall be The propagated species still remains. In marriage join'd with beauteous Emily; The inonarch oak, the patriarch of the trees, For which already I have gain d th' assent Shoots rising up, and spreads by low degrecs; Of my free people in full parliament. Three centuries he grows, and three he stays, Long love to her has borne the faithful knight, Supreme in state, and in three more decays; And well deserv'd, lad fortune done him right : So wears the paring pebble in the street, "Tis time to mend her fault ; since Emily And towns and tow'rs their fatal periods meet : By Arcite's death from former vows is free : So rivers, rapid once, now naked 'lic,
If you, fair sister, ratify th' accord, Forsaken of their springs, and leave their chan- And take hiin for your husband and your lord, nels dry
"Tis no dishonor to conser your grace So man, at first a drop, dilates with heat, On one descended from a royal race : Then, form'd, the little heart begins to beat; And were he less, yet years of service past Secret he feeds unknowing in the cell ; From grateful souls exact reward at last. At length, for haiching ripe, he breaks the shell, Pity is Heaven's and yours : nor can she find And struggles into breath, and cries for aid; A throne so soft as in a woman's mind, Then, helpless, in his mother's lap is laid. He said; she blush'd; and, as o'eraw'd by might, He creeps, he walks, and, issuing into man, Seem'd to give Theseus what she gave the knight. Grudges their life from whence his own began : Then, turning to the Theban, thus he said ; Reckless of laws, effects to rule alone, Small arguments are needful 10 persuade Anxious to reign, and restless on the throne : Your temper to comply with iny con mand ; First vegetive, ihen feels, and reasons last ; And, speaking thus, he gave Emilia's hand. Rich of three souls, and lives all three to waste. Senil d'Venus, to behold her own true knighty Some thus : but thousands more in flow'r of age : Obtain the conquest, tho' he lost the tight; For few arrive to run the latter stage.
And bless'd with nuptial bliss the sweet laboSunk in the first, in battle some are slain,
rious night. And others whelm'd beneath the stormy main. Eros and Anteros on either side, What makes all this, but Jupiter the king, One fir'd the bridegroom, and one warm'd the At whose command we perish and we spring ? bride; Then 'tis our best, since thus ordain'd to die, And long-attending Hymen from above To make a virtue of necessity.
Shower'd on the bed the whole Idalian grove. Take what he gives, since to rebel is vain; All of a tenor was their after-life, The bad grows better, which we well sustain ; No day discolor'd with domestic strife ; and could we choose the time, and choose aright, No jealousy, but mutual truth believ'd, "Tis best to die, our honor at the height. Secure repose, and kindness undeceiv'd. When we have done our ancestors no shame, Thus Heaven, beyond the compass of his thought, But serv'd our friends, and well secur'd our fame: Sent him the blessing he so dearly bought. Then should we wish our happy life to close, So may. the Queen of Love long duty bless, And leave no more for fortune io dispose : And all irue lorers find the same success
§ 29. Rcligio Laici. Dryden.
Thus man by hisown strength to Heaven would Ind would not be oblig'd to God for more. [soar;
Vain wretched creature! how art thou misled, Dim as the borrow'd beams of moon and stars To think thy wit these godlike notions bred ! To lonely weary wand'ring travellers,
These truths are not the product of thy mind, Is reason to the soul : and as on high But dropt from heaven, and of a nobler kind. Those rolling fires discover but the sky, Reveal’d religion first informu'd thy sight, Nor light us here; $0 reason's glimm'ring ray And reason saw not till faith sprung the light. Was lent not to assure our doubtful way, llence all thy nat'ral worship takes the source ; But guide us upward to a better day. "Tis revelation, what thou think'st discourse. And as those nightly tapers disappear
Else how comest thou to see these truths so clear, When day's bright lori ascends onir hemisphere; Which so obscure to Heathens did appear? So pale grow's reason at religion's sight; Not Plato these, nor Aristotle found; So dies, and so dissolves in supernat'ral light. Nor he whose wisilom oracles renown'd. Somefew, whoselampshonebrighter, harebeenled Hast thou a wit so deep, or so sublime, From cause to canse, to nature's secret head; Or canst thou lower dive, or higher climb ? And found that one first principle must be : Canst thou by reason more of godhead know But what, or who, that universal He; Than Plutarch, Seneca, or Cicero? Whether some soul encompassing this ball, Those giant wits in happier ages bom, Unmade, unmor'd; yet making, moving all ; Whenarmsand arts did Greece and Rome adorn, Or various atoms, interfering dance,
Knew no such system; no such piles could raise
To one sule God.
But slew their fellow-creatures for a bribe :
and great oppressors might heaven's wrath be. But vanish'd from them like enchanted ground. By ofl'ring his own creatures for a spoil! (guile, One thought content the good to be enjoy'd : Dar’st thou, poor worm, offend Infinity? This every little accident destroy'd :
And must the terms of pence be given by thee? The wiser madmen did for virtue toil; Then thou art Justice in the last appeal; A thorny, or at best a barren soil :
Thy easy God instructs thee to rebet; In pleasure some their glutton soulswouldsteep: 2
And like a king, remote and weak, must take But found theirline too short, the well too deep;
What satisfaction thou art pleas'd to make. And leaky vessels which no bliss could keep?S But if there be a pow'r too just and strong Thus anxious thoughts in endless circles roll, To wink at crimes, and bear unpunish'd wrong, Without a centre where to fix the soul : Look humbly upward, see his vill disclose In this wild maze their vain endeavours end : The forfeit first, and then the fine impose; How can the less the greater comprehend? A mulct thy poverty could never pay, Or finite reason reach Infinity?
Had not eternal wisdom found the way, For what could fathom God were more than He. And with celestial wealth supplied thy store ; The Deist thinks he stands on firmer ground; His justice makes the fine;hismercy quitsthescore. Cries cūnaa, the mighty secret's found: See God descending in thry human frame; God is that spring of good ; supreme, and best ; Th' offending suffering in th' offender 's name ; We made to serve, and in that service blest. All thy misdeeds to him imputed see, If so, some rules of worship must be given, And all his righteousness (levolv'd on thee. Distributed alike to all by Heaven :
For, granting we have sinn'd, and that th' of. Else God were partial, and to some denied Of man is made against Omnipotence, [fence The means his justice should for all provide. Some price that bears proportion must be paid ; This gen'ral worship is to praise and pray ; And infinite with infinite be weighd. One part to borrow blessings, one to pay :
See then the Deist lost ; remorse for vice, And when frail nature slides into offence, Not paid ; or, paid, inadequate in price: The sacrifice for crimes is penitence.
What farther means can reason now direct, Yet, since th' effects of Providence, we find, Orwhat relief from hùman wit expect? Are variously dispens'd to human kind; That shows us sick ; and sadly are we sure That vice triumphs, and virtue suffers here, Still to be sick, till Heaven reveal the cure : A brand that sov'reign justice cannot bear; If then Heaven's will must needs be understood, Our reason prompts us to a future state, Which must, if wewantcure, and Heavenbegood, The last appeal froin fortune and from fate ; Let all records of will reveal'd be shown; Where God's all-righteous ways will be declar'd; With scripture all in equal balance thrown, The bad meet punishment, the good reward. And our one sacred book will be that one.
Proof needs not here: for whether we compar-| But boundless wisdom, houndless mercy, may That impious idle superstitious ware
Find, ev'n for those bewilder'd souls, a way; Of rites, lustrations, ott'rings, which before, If from his nature foes may pity claim, In various ages, various countries bore, Much more may strangers whó ne'er heard his With christian faith and virtues; we shall find name. None answ'ring the great ends of human kind, And though no name be for salvation known, But this one rule of life, that shows us best But that of his eternal Son's alone; How God may be appeas d, and mortals blest. Who knows how far transcending goodness car Whether from lengih of time its worth we draw, Extend the nirrits of that Son to man? The word is scarce more antient than the law; Who knows what reasons may his mercy lead ; Heaven's early care prescrib'd for ev'ry age; Or ignorance invincible may plead ? First in the soúl, and afier in the page. Not only charity bids hope the best, Or wherher more abstractedly we look, But more the great apostle has expressed : Or, on the writers, or the written book, “ 'That if the Gentiles, whom no law inspir'd, Whence, but from Heaven, could men unskill'd By nature did what was by law requir'd, in arts,
They, who the written rule had never know, In sev’ral ages born, in sev'ral parts,
Were to themselves both rule and law alone : Weave sucli agreeing truths? or how, or why, To nature's plain indictment they shall plead; Should all conspire w cheat us with a lye? Ani by their conscience be condemn’d or freed." Uvask'd their pains, ungrateful their advice, Most righteous doom! because a rule rereald Starving their gain, anri martyrdom their price. Is none to those from whom it was conceald.
If on the book is self we cast our view, Then those who follow'd reason's dictates right Concurrent heathens prove the swry true; Liv'd up, and lified high their nai'ral light; The doctrine, miracles; which must convince, With Socrates may see ihcir Maker's face, For heaven in them appeals to human sense ; While thousand rubric-niartyrs want a place. And tho' they prove noi, they confirm the cause, Nor does it baulk my charity, to find When what is taught agrees with nature's laws. Th' Egyptian bishop of another mind;
Then for the style, majestic and divme, For though his creed eternal iruth contains, It speaks no less than Göd in ev'ry line; 'Tis hard for my to doom to endless pains Commanding words; whose force is siillilie same All who beijer'd not all his zeal requir'd; As the first tiat that produc'd our frame. Unless lie first could prove he was inspir’d. All faitlis besicle or did by anns ascend, Thien let us either think he meant to say, Or since indulg'd has aiade mankind their friend, This faitis, where publish'd, was the only way; This only doctrine does our lists oppose, Orelse conciude thai, Arius to confute, Uvferi by nature's soil, in which it grows; The good old man, too eager ir. dispute, Cross to our ini'rests, curbing sense and sin · Hlew high ; and as his christian fury rose Oppress'd wiibout, and undermin’d within, Dainn' all for heretics who durst oppose. It thrives thro' pain ; its own iormentors tires ; Thus far ny charity this path has iried; And with a stubbom patience still aspires. A much unskilful, but well-meaning guide : To what can reason such effects assign Yet what they are, e'en these crude thoughts Transcending nature, but to law's divine;
were bred, Which in that sacred volunie are contain'd; By reading that which better thou had read. Sufficient, clear, and for that use ordain'd? Tuy natchless author's work, which thou' my But stay : the Deist here will urge anew.
friend, No supernat'ral worship can be true; By well translating better riost commend : Because a gen’ral law is thai alone
Those yenthful Hours which of thy equals most Which must to all, and ev'ry where, be known: In toys have squander'd, or in vice have lost; A style so large as not this book can claim, Those hours hast thou to pohler use employ'd, Noraught that bears reveald religion's name. And the scvere delights of truth enjoyd. "Tis said, the sound ot'a Messiah's birth Uitness this weighty book, in which appears Is gone thro' all the habitable earth;
The crabbed toil of inany thoughtful years, But still that text inust be confir'd alone
Spent by thy author, in the sitting care To what was then inhabited and known : Oi rabbins old sophisticated ware And what provisions could from thence accrue F:«m gold divine; which he who well can sort To Indian souls, and worlds discover'd new ? May afterwards make algebra a sport. In ottier parts it helps, that ages past,
A treasure, which if country curares buy, The scriptures there were known, and were They Junius and Tremellius may defy; einbrac d
Save pains in various readings and translations ; Till sin spread once again the shades of night : And without Hebrew make must learn'd quo What's that to these, who never saw the light? tations.
Of all objections this indeed is chief A work so full with various learning fraught, To startle reason, stagger frail belief:
So nicely ponder'd, yet so strongly wrotight, Wegrant 'tis true, that Hearen from humansense As nature's height and art's last hand requir'd, Has hid the secret paths of Providence: As much as máu could compass, uninspir'd:
Where we may see what errors have been made Wehold, and say we prove from scripture plain,
Now what appeal caii end th' important suit?
Th' unletter'd Christian, who believes in gross, If Goul's own people, who of God before Plods on to heaven, and ne'er is at a loss : Knew what we know, and had been promis'd For the strait gare would be made straiter yet,
Were none admitted there but inen of wit. In fuller terms of heaven's assisting care, The few by nature forni'd, with learning fraught, And who did neither time nor stily spare,
Born to instruct, as others to be tanght, To keep this book untainted, unperplex'd, Must study well the sacred page; and see Let in foss errors 10 corrupt the text,
Which doctrine, this or that, does best agree Omitted paragraphs, embroild the sense, With the whole tenor of the work divine, With vain traditions s:opt the gaping fence, And plainliest points to Heaven's reveal'd design? Which ev'ry common hand pull'd up with ease, Which exposition flows from genuine sense, Whatsafety from suchbrush-wood-helps as these? And which is forc'd by wit and eloquence. If written words from tinie are not secur'd, Not that tradition's parts are useless here ; How can we think have oral sounds endurid ? When gen'ral, old, disint'rested, and clear; Which thus transmitted, if one mouth has fail'd, That antient fathers thus expound the page, Immortal lyes on ages are entailid:
Gives truth the reverend majesty of age ; And that some such have been, is prov'd too plain, Confirms its force by 'biding ev'ry tests If we consiler int'rest, church, and gain. For best authorities next rules are best. O but, savs one, trarlition set aside,
And still the nearer to the spring we go,
Such an omniscient church we wish indeer!; E'en Arius and Pelagius durst provoke
Such diff'rence is there in an oft told talo : 'As can all doubts resolve, and truth secure, But truth by its own sinews will prevail. Then her infallibility, as well
Tradition written therefore more cominends Where copies are corrupi or laine, can tell ; Authority, than what from voice descends : Restore lost canons wiih as little pains, And this, as perfect as its kind can be, As truly explicate what still remains:
Rolls down to 13 the sacred history : Which vet no council clare pretend to do; 21 Which, from the universal church received, Unlesa, like Es.iras, they could write it new: Is tried, and after for itself believ'd. Strange contidence still in interpret true, The partial lapists would infer from hence Yet not be sure that all they have explain'd Their church, in last resort, should jurige the is in the blest original contain'd. Vlore safe, and much niore modest, 'tis to say, But first they would assuunc with wondrous art God would not leave mankind without a way: Themselves to be the whole, who are but part And that the scriptures, tho' not every where Of that vast frame the church; yet grant they were Free from corruption, or entire, or clear, The handers-down, can they from thence infer Are incorrupt, suficient, clear, entire, A right t'interprèt? or would thiev alone, In all things which our needful faith require. Who brought the present, claim it for their own! If others in the same glacs better see,
The book's a comulou largess to mankind; "Tis for themselves they look, but not for me: Nor more for them than ev'ry wan design'd: For iny
salvation must its dooin receive, The welcome news is in the letter found; Not from what others, but what I believe. The carrier's not commission'd to expound. Must all tradition then be set aside ?
It speaks itself, and what it does contain This to affirm, were ignorance and pride. In all things needful to be known is plain. Are there not many points, some needful sure In times o'ergrown with rust and ignorance, To saving faith, ebát scripture leaves obscure ? A gainfal trade their clergy did advance ; Which ei'ry sect will wrest a sey'ral way; When want of learning kept the laymen low, For what one sect interprets, all secie insy: And none bus priests were authoriz'd to know:
When what small knowledge was in them did In doubtful questions 'tis the safest way
To learn what unsuspected antients say: And he a god who could but read and spell ; For 'tis not likely we should higher soar. The mother-church did mightily prevail ; In search of heaven than all the church before; She parcel'd out the Bible by retail:
Nor can we be deceiv'd unless wé sce But still expounded what she sold or gave, The scripture and the fathers disagree. To keep it in her power to damn or save. If after all they stand suspected still, Scripture was scarce, and, as the market went, For no man's faith depends upon his will ; Poor lavmen took salvation on content; "Tis some relief, that joints not clearly knowa As needy men take money good or bad : [had. Without much hazard may be let alone : God's word they had not but the priest's they And after hearing what our church can say, Yet whate'er false conveyances they made,
If still our reason runs another way, The lawyer still was certain to be paid. That private reason 'tis more just to curb, In those dark tiines they learn'd their knack so Than by disputes the public peace disturb; That by long use they grew infallible. [well, for points obscure are of small use to learu; At last a knowing aye began t' inquire But coinmon quiet is mankind's concern. If they the book or that did them inspire:(late, Thus have I made my own opinious clear; And inaking narrower search they foundl, tho' Yet neither praise expect, nor censure fear: That what they thought the priesi's was their And this unpolish'd rugged verse I chose, estate :
As fittest for discourse, and nearest prose : Taught by the will produc'd, the written worl, For while from sacred trwh I do not swerre, How long they had been cheated on record. Tom Sternhold's or Tom Shadwell's rhyrwas Then ev'ry man who saw the title fair,
$30. Mac Flecknoe. Dryden. 'Tis true, my friend, and far be flau'ry hence, All human things are subject to decay, This gond had fall as bad a consequence : And when fate suminons, monarchs must ober.
The book thus put in ev'ry vulgar hand, This Flecknee found, who like Augustus, young Which each presum'd he best could understand, Was call'd to empire, and had govern'd long: The common rule was made the common prey, In prose and verse was ownd without dispute, And at the mercy of the rabble lay.
Thro' all the realms of Nonsense absolute. The tender page with horny fists was gall'a :' This aged prince, now flourishing in peace, And he was gifted most that loudest bawlll; And bless'd with issue of a large increase; The spirit gave the doctoral degree : And ev'ry member of a company
Worn out with business, did ai length debate 2
To settle the succession of the state: Was of his tradle and of the Bible free. And pond'ring which, of all his sons, was fit Plain truths enough for needful use they found ; To reign, and wage immortal war with Wit; But men would still be itching to expound : Cried, "Tis resolv’d; for Nature pleads that he Each was ambitious of the obscurest place, Should only rule who most resembles me. No measure ta'en from knowledge, all from grace. Sho, alone, my perfect image bears, Study and pains were now no inore their care; Mature in dullness froin his tender years : Texts were explain’d by fasting and by pray'r: Sh, alone, of all my sons, is he, This was the fruit the private spirit brought ; Who stauds confirm'd in full stupidity. Occasion'd by grcat zeal and little thought; The rest to some faint meaning make pretenee; While crowds unlearn'd, with rude devotion But Sh-never deviates into sense. warın,
Some beams of wit on other souls may fall, About the sacred winds buz and swarın. Strike thro', and make a lucid interval; 'The fly-blown text creates a crawling brood; But She's genuine night adınits no ray; And turns to maggots what was meant for food. His rising fogs prevail upon the day. A thousand daily sects rise up and die; Besides his goodly fabric fills the eye, A thousand more the perish'd race supply: And seems design'd for thoughtless majesty: So all we make of Heaven's discover'd will, Thoughtless as monarch oaks that shade the plain, Is vot to have it, or to use it ill.
And spread in solemn state, supinely reign. The danger's much the same; on sev'ral shelves Heywood and Shirley were but types of ihee, If others wreck us, or we wreck ourselves. Thou last great prophet of Tautology.
What then remains but waving each extreme, Ev'n I, a dunce of more renown than they, The tides of ignorance and pride to stem? Was sent before but to prepare thy way; Neither so rich a treasure to forego ;
And coarsely clad in Norwich drugget, came Nor proudly seek beyond oar pow'r to know: To teach the nations in thy greater name. Faith is not built on disquisitions vain ; My warbling lute, the lute I whilom strung, The things we must believe are few and plain. When to king John of Portugal I sung, But since men will believe more than they need,Was but the prelude of that glorious day, And ev'ry man will make himself a creed, When thou on silver Thames didst cut ihy way.