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And making narrower fearch they found, tho' late,
That what they thought the priest's, was their eftate:
Taught by the will produc'd, the written word,
How long they had been cheated on record.
Then every man who faw the title fair,

Claim'd a child's part, and put in for a fhare:
Confulted foberly his private good;

And fav'd himself as cheap as e'er he could.
'Tis true, my friend, and far be flattery hence,
This good had full as bad a confequence :
The book thus put in every vulgar hand,
Which each prefum'd he beft could understand,
The common rule was made the common prey;
And at the mercy of the rabble lay.

The tender page with horny fits was gall'd;
And he was gifted moft that loudeft baul'd:
The Spirit gave the doctoral degree:
And every member of a company

Was of his trade, and of the Bible free.

Plain truths enough for needful ufe they found;
But men would still be itching to expound :
Each was ambitious of th' obfcurest place,
No measure ta'en from knowledge, all from grace.
Study and pains were now no more their care;
Texts were explain'd by fafting and by prayer:
This was the fruit the private spirit brought;
Occafion'd by great zeal and little thought.
While crouds unlearn'd with rude devotion warm,
About the facred viands buz and fwarm.
The fly-blown text creates a crawling brood;
And turns to maggots what was meant for food.
A thousand daily fects rife up and die;
A thousand more the perish'd race fupply:
So all we make of heaven's discover'd will,
Is not to have it, or to use it ill.

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The danger's much the fame; on several shelves
If others wreck us, or we wreck ourselves.

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What then remains, but waving each extreme,
The tides of ignorance and pride to ftem?
Neither fo rich a treasure to forego;

Nor poudly feek beyond our power to know:
Faith is not built on difquifitions vain;

The things we must believe are few and plain :
But fince men will believe more than they need
And every man will make himself a creed:
In doubtful queftions 'tis the fafeft way
To learn what unfufpected ancients fay:
For 'tis not likely we fhould higher foar
In fearch of heaven, than all the church before:
Nor can we be deceiv'd, unless we fee
The fcripture and the fathers difagree.
If after all they ftand fufpected ftill,
For no man's faith depends upon his will;
'Tis fome relief, that points not clearly known,
Without much hazard may be let alone :
And after hearing what our church can say,
If ftill our reafon runs another way,
That private reafon 'tis more juft to curb,
Than by difputes the public peace disturb.
For points obfcure are of fmall use to learn:
But common quiet is mankind's concern.

Thus have I made my own opinions clear:
Yet neither praise expect, nor cenfure fear:
And this unpolifh'd rugged verfe I chose;
As fitteft for difcourfe, and nearest profe:
For while from facred truth I do not fwerve,
Tom Sternhold's, or Tom Shadwell's rhymes will ferve.

THE

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ADVERTISEMENT.

ΤΗ

HIS tranflation of monfieur Boileau's Art of Poetry was made in the year 1680, by Sir William Soame of Suffolk, Baronet; who being very intimately acquainted with Mr. Dryden, defired his revifal of it. I faw the manufcript lie in Mr. Dryden's hands for above fix months, who made very confiderable alterations in it, particularly the beginning of the fourth Canto: and it being his opinion that it would be better to apply the poem to English writers, than keep to the French names, as it was first tranflated, Sir William defired he would take the pains to make that alteration; and accordingly that was entirely done by Mr. Dryden.

The poem was first published in the year 1683; Sir William was after fent ambaffador to Conftantinople, in the reign of King James, but died in the voyage.

J. T.

ASH author, 'tis a vain prefumptuous crime,
To undertake the sacred art of rhime;
If at thy birth the ftars that rul'd thy fense
Shone not with a poetic influence;
In thy ftrait genius thou wilt ftill be bound,
Find Phoebus deaf, and Pegasus unfound.

You then that burn with the desire to try
The dangerous courfe of charming poetry;
Forbear in fruitlefs verfe to lofe your time,
Or take for genius the defire of rhyme :
Fear the allurements of a fpecious bait,
And well confider your own force and weight.
Nature abounds in wits of every kind,.

And for each author can a talent find:
One may in verfe defcribe an amorous flame,
Another fharpen a fhort epigram:

Waller a hero's mighty acts extol,
Spencer fing Rofalind in paftoral:

But authors that themselves too much efteem,
Lose their own genius, and mistake their theme;
Thus in times paft Dubartas vainly writ,
Allaying facred truth with trifling wit,
Impertinently, and without delight,
Defcrib'd the Ifraelites triumphant flight,
And following Mofes o'er the fandy plain,
Perifh'd with Pharaoh in th' Arabian main.
Whate'er you write of pleafant or fublime,
Always let fenfe accompany your rhyme :
Falfely they feem each other to oppose;
Rhyme must be made with reafon's laws to clofe:
And when to conquer her you bend your force,
The mind will triumph in the noble courfe :

To

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