Page images

Commanding words; whose force is still the same / Then let us either think he meant to say
As the first fiat that produc'd our frame. This faith, where publith'd, was the only way;
All faiths beside or did by arms ascend,

Or elfe conclude that, Arius to confute,
Or fense indulg'd has made mankind their friend; The good old man, too cager in dispute,
This only doctrine does our lufts oppose, Flew high; and as his christian fury role,
Unfed by nature's foil, in which it grows; Damn'd all for heretics who durst oppose.
Cross to our int'reíts, curbing sense and sin; Thus far my charity this path has tried;
Oppress'd without, and undermin’d within, A much unskilful, but well-meaning guide;
It thrives thro' pain ; its own tormentors tires; Yet what they are, e'en thcle crude thoughts were
And with a stubborn patience still aspires. By reading that which better thou hast read. [bred,
To what can reason such effects affign

Thy matchless author's work; which thou, my Transcending nature, but to laws divine; By well tranNating better doft commend; (friend, Which in that sacred volume are contain'd; Those youthful hours which of thy equals most Sufficient, clear, and for that use ordain’d? In toys have squander'd, or in vice have lost;

But stay : the Deist here will urge anew, Thole hours haft thou to nobler ule employ'd, No supernat’ral worship can be true;

And the severe delights of truth enjoy d. Becaule a gen'ral law is that alone

Witness this weighry book, in which appears Which must to all, and ev'ry where, be known: The crabbed toil of many thoughtful years, A style fo large as not this book can claim, Spent by thy author, in the lifting care Nor aught that bears reveal'd religion's name. of rabbins old sophisticated ware 'Tis faid, the sound of a Messiah's birth From gold divine; which he who well can fort Is gone thro' all the habitable earth ;

May afterwards make algebra a sport. But still that text must be confin'd alone A treasure, which if country-curates buy, To what was then inhabited and known: They Junius and Tremellius may defy; And what provision could from thence accruc Save pains in various readings and tranllations ; To Indian fouls, and worlds discover'd new? And without Hebrew make most learn'd quam In other parts it helps, that ages past,

tations. The scriptures there were known, and were em- A work fo full with various learning fraught, brac'd,

So nicely ponder'd, yet so strongly wrought, Till sin spread once again the shades of night; As nature's height and art's laft hand requirà, What's that to these, who never saw the light? As much as man could compass, uninfpir'd : Of all objections this indeed is chief

Where we may see what errors have been made To startle reason, stagger frail belief:

Both in the copyer's and translator's trade; We grant, 'tis true, that Heaven from human sense How Jewith, Popish, int’refts have prevail'd, Has hid the secret paths of providence ; And where infallibility has fail'd. But boundless wisdom, boundless mercy, may For fome, who have his secret meaning gucfs'd, Find, ev’n for those bewilder'd fouls, a way; Have found our author not too much a priest : If from his nature foes may pity claim, [name. For fashion's fake he feems to have recourse Much more may strangers who ne'cr heard his To pope, and councils, and tradition's force : And though no name be for salvation known, But he that old traditions could subdue, But that of his eternal Son's alone ;

Could not but find the weakness of the new : Who knows how far transcending goodness can If fcripture, tho' deriv'd from hcavenly birth, Extend the merits of that Son to man:

Has been but carelessly preserv'd on earth; Who knows what reasons may

If God's own people, who of God before Or ignorance invincible may plcad?

Knew what we know, and had been promis'd Not only charity bids hope the beft,

In fuller terms of heaven's allifting care, [more, But more the great apostle has express’d : And who did neither tinc nor study spare “ That if the Gentiles, whom no law infpir'd, To keep this book untainted, unperplex'd, By nature did what was by law requir'd, Let in grofs errors to corrupt the text, They, who the written rule had never known, Omitted paragraphs, cmbroil'd the tense, Were to themselves both rule and law alone : With vain traditions stopt the gaping fence, To nature's plain indictment they shall plead; Which ev'ry common hand pull'd up with case, And by their conscience be condemn'dor freed.' What safety from such brushwood-helps as thelu? Most rightcous doom! because a rule reveald If written words from time are not focur'd, Is none to those from whom it was conceald. How can we think have oral sounds endur'da Then those who follow'd reason's dictates right Which thus transmitted, if one mouth has fail'd, Liv'd up, and lifted high their nat'ral light; Immortal lyes on ages arc entail'd: With Socratcs may foc thcir Maker's face, And that some such have been, is prov'd too plain, While thousand rubric-martyrs want a place. If we consider int’rest, church, and gain. Nor does it baulk my charity, to find

O but, says one, tradition fet alide, Th’Egyptian bishop of another mind;

Whcre can we hope for an uoerring guide ? For though his creed eternal truth contains, For since th' original scripture lias been lott, 'Tis hard for man to doom to endless pains All copies dilagreeing, maim'd the most, All who believ'd not all his zeal requir'd; Or christian faith can have no certain ground, Uploss he first could prove he was inspir’d. Or truth in church-tradition must be found.



mercy lead;


[ocr errors]

Such an omniscient church we with indeed; E'en Arius and Pelagius durst provoke
•Twere worth both Testaments; cast in the creed: To what the centuries preceding ipoke.
But if this mother be a guide fo furc,

Such diff'rence is there in an oft-told tale:
As can all doubts resolve, all truth secure, But truth by its own sinews will prevail.
Then her infallibility, as well

Tradition written therefore more coinmends
Where copies are corrupt or lame, can tell; Authority, than what from voice descends :
Rettore loit canon with as little pains,

And this, as perfect as its kind can be,
As truly explicate what itill remains :

Rolls down to us the sacred history:
Which yee no council dare pretend to do; Which, from the univerlal church receivid,
Unless, like Efdras, they could write it new : Is tricd, and after før itself believ'd.
Strange confidence still to interprct true,

The partial Papists would infer from hence
Yet not be sure that all they have explain'd Their church, in last resort, should judge the sense.
Is in the blest original contain'd.

But first they would assume with wondrous art
More fafe, and much more modeft 'tis, to say Themselves to be the whole, who are but part
God would not leave mankind without a way: Of that valt frame the church; yet grant they were
And that the scriptures, tho' not cvery where The handers-down, can they from thence infer
Free from corruption, or entire, or clear, A right t'interpret? or would they alone,
Are uncorrupt, sufficient, clear, entire,

Who brought the present, claim it for their own?
In all things which our needful faith require. The book's a common largess to mankind;
If others in the fame glass better fee,

Not more for them than ev'ry man defend: 'Tis for themselves they look, but not for me: The welcome news is in the letter found; For my salvation must its doom receive,

The carrier's not commifiion'd to expound. Not from what others, but what I believe. It speaks itself, and what it does contain Must all tradition then be set aside?

In all things needful to be known is plain.
This to afarm, were ignorance or pride.

In times o'ergrown with rust and ignorance,
Are there not many points, fome needful sure A gainful trade their clergy did advance ;
To laving faith, that scripture leaves obscure ? When want of learning kept the laymen low,
Which ev'ry fect will wrest a fev'ral way; And none but priests were authoriz'd to know:
For what one sect interprets, all sects may: When what small knowledge was in them did
We hold, and say we prove from scripture plain,

That Christ is God; the bold Socinian

And he a god who could but read and spell;
From the fame scripture urges he's but man. Then mother church did nightily prevail;
Now what appeai can end th' iinportant suit: She parceid out the Bible by retail:
Both parts talk loudly, but the rule is mute. But still expounded what the fold or gave,

Shall I speak plain, and in a nation free To keep it in her power to damn and fare.
Affume an honest layman's liverty?

Scripture was scarce, and, as the market went,
I think, according to my little skill,

Poor laymen took salvation cu content;
To my own mother-church fubmitting still, As needy men take money good or bad:
That inany have been sav'd, and many may, God's word they had not, but the priest's they had.
Who never heard this question brougit in play. Yet wliate'er falfe conveyances they made,
Th’unletter'd Christian, who believes in gross, Thc lawyer still was certain to be paid.
Plods on to heaven, and ne'cr is at a lofs : In those dark times they learn d their knack fo
For the straight gate would be made straighter That by long use they grew infallible

. (well, yet,

At lait á knowing age began t'enquire
Wcre none admitted there but men of wit.

If they the book, or that did them inspire:
The few by natureformd, with learning fraught, And making narrower search they found, tho'late,
Born to infiruct, as others to be taught, That what they thought the priest's was their
Mutt study well the facred page; and see

Which doariuc, this or that, docs beft

agree Taugļt by the will produc'd, the written word,
With the völle tenor of the work divine, How long they had been chcated on record.
And plainiuit points to llcaven's reveald design: Then ev'ry man who saw the title fair,
Which exposition fows from genuine sease, Claim'd a child's part, and put in for a share :
And which is forc'd by wit and cloquence. Consulted soberly his private good,
Not that tradition's parts are useless ncre; And fav'd himself as cheap as e'er he could.
When gen'ral, old, ditinterified, and clear:

'Tis true, iny friend, and far be tatt'ry hence,
That ancient rathers thus expound the page, This good had full as bad a conlequence :
Gises truth the reverend macity of age: The book thus put in ev'ry vulgar hand,
Confirms its force by biding cv'ry teit; Which each prelum'd he best could understand,
For boît authoritics next rules are bcft.

The common rule was inade the common prey,
And still the nearer to the spring we go, And at the mercy of the rabble lay.
Alore lipid, more unioil'd, the waters flow, The terder page with horny filts ivas gall d;
Thus first traditions were a proof alonc; And he was gifted most that loudest basild:
Could we be certain, fuch they were, so known; The spirit gave the doctoral degree;
But fiuce fome flaws in long descent may be, And ev'ry incmber of a company
They make cot truth, but probability.

Was of his trade and of the Bible free,






Plain truths enough for necdful use they found; Sh—, alone, my perfect image bears,
But men would still be itching to expound:

Mature in dulness from his tender years :
Each was ambitious of ih'obícurest place,

-, alone, of all my tons, was he, No measure ta’en from knowledge, all from grace. Who stands confirm'd in full frupidity. Study and pains were now no more their care ; The rest to fome faint meaning make pretence; Texts were explain’d by fasting and by pray’r:

But Sh-never deviates into fenfe. This was the fruit the private Ipirit brought;

Some beams of wit on other souls may fall, Occafion'd by great zeal and little thought ; Strike thro', and make a lucid interval; While crowds unlearn'd, with rude devotion But Sh—'s genuine night admits no ray; About the facred viands buz and swarm. (warm, His rising fogs prevail upon the day. The fly-blown text creates 'a crawling brood; Befides, his goodly fabric fills the eye, And turns to maggots what was meant for food. And seems design'd for thougıtless majesty: A thousand daily fects rise up and die;

Thoughtless as monarch oaks that shade the plain, A thousand more the perith'd race supply : And, spread in folemn state, supinely reign. So all we make of Heaven's discover'd will, Heywood and Shirley were but types of thee, Is not to have it, or to use it ill.

Thou last great prophet of Tautology. The danger's much the same; on sev'ral shelves Ev'n I, a dunce of more renown than they, If others wreck us, or we wreck ourselves.

Was fent before but to prepare thy way; What then remains, but, waving each extreme, And, coarsely clad in Norwich drugger, caine The tides of ignorance and pride to stem

To teach the nations in thy greater name. Neither fo rich a treasure to forego;

My warbling lute, the lute I whilom strung, Nor proudly fcek beyond our pow'r to know: When to king John of Portugal I lung, Faith is not built on disquisitions vain;

Was but the prelude to that glorious day, The things we must believe are few and plain : When thou on filver Thames didft cut thy way; But, since men will believe more than they need, With well-tim'd oars, before the royal barge, And ev'ry man will make himself a creed, Swellid with the pride of thy celestial charge; In doubtful questions 'tis the safest way

And, big with hymn, commander of an host, To learn what unsuspected ancients say : The like was ne'er in Epsom blankets toss'd. For 'tis not likely we should higher foar

Methinks I see the new Arion fail, In search of heaven than all the church before; The lute still trembling underr.cath thy nail. Nor can we be deceiv’d, unless we see

At thy well-tharpen'd thumb, from thore to Thore The scripture and the fathers disagree.

The trebles squeak for fear, the bases roar: If after all they stand suspected still


Echoes from Pilling-Alley Sh- call, For no man's faith depends upon his will; And Sh- they rcfound from Aston-Hall. 'Tis some relief, that points not clearly known About thy boat the little fishes throng, Without much hazard may be let alone: As at the morning toast that foats along, . And, after hearing what our church can fay, Sometimes, as prince of thy harmonious band, If ftill our reason runs another way,

Thou wield'it thy papers in thy threshing hand. That private reason 'tis more just to curb,

St. Andre's feet ne'er kept more equal time, Than by disputes the public peace disturb;

Not c'en the feet of thy own Pfyche's rhyme: For points obscure are of small use to learn ; Though they in number as in sense excel; But common quiet is mankind's concern. So just, so like Tautology they fell,

Thus have I made my own opinions clear ; That, pale with envy, Singleton forswore Yet neither praise expećt, nor cenfure fear :

The lute and sword which he in triumph bore, And this unpolith'd rugged verse I chose,

And vow'd he nc'er would act Villerius more. As fittest for discourse, and nearest prose:

Here stopt the good old fire, and wept for joy, For while from sacred truth I do not swerve,

In filent raptures of the hopeful boy. Tom Sternhold's or Tom Shadwell's rhymes All arguments, but most his plays, persuade, will serve.

That for anointed duiness he was made.

Close to the walls which fair Augufta bind § 30. Mac Fiecknoe. DRYDEN. (The fair Augusta, much to fears inclin'd) AL

LL human things are subject to decay, [obey: An ancient fabric, rais’d t'inform the hight,

And when Fatc fummons, monarchs must | There stood of yore, and Barbican it hight: This Flecknoe found, who, like Augustus, young A watch-tow'r once; but now, so fate ordains, Was callid to empire, and had govern'd long; Of all the pile an empty name remains: In profe and versc was own'd, without dispute, From its old ruias brothel-houses rile, Thro' all the realms of Nonsense, abfolute. Scenes of lewd loves, and of polluted joys, This aged prince, now flourishing in peace, Where their vast courts the mother-Itrumpets And bless'd with issue of a large increase;

keep, Worn out with business, did at length debate And, undifturb’d by watch, in silence sleep. To settle the succcision of the state:

Near these a nursery erects its head, And pond'ring which, of all his sons, was fit Where queens are form’d, and future heroes bred: To reign, and wage immortal war with Wit, Where unfcdg'd actors learn to laugh and cry, Cried, 'Tis resolv’d; for Nature pleads, that he Where infant punks their tender voices try, Should only rule who must resembles inc. And little Maximins the gods defy.



Great Fletcher never treads in buskins here, Beyond Love's kingdom let him stretch his pen!' N

or greater Jonson dares in socks appear; He paus'd, and all the people cried, Amen. But gentle Simkin just reception finds

Then thus continued he: - My son, advance Amidit this monument of vanish'd minds: Still in new impudence, new ignorance. Pure clinches the suburbian muse affords, Succefs let others teach ; learn thou, from me, And Panton waging harmless war with words. Pangs without birth, and fruitless industry. Here Flecknoe, as a place to fame well known, Let Virtuofos in five years be writ; Ambitioully design'd his Sho's throne : Yet not one thought accufe thy coil of wit. For ancient Decker prophesied, long since, Let gentle Gcorge in triumph tread the stage; That in this pile should reign a mighty prince, Make Dorimant betray, and Loveit rage ; Born for a scourge of wit, and fail of lense : Let Cully, Cockwood, Fopling, charm the pit, To whom true dulness should fome Pfyche's owe, And, in their folly, thew ihe writer's wit. But worlds of Misers from his pen hould Aow; Yet still thy fools Thall stand in thy defence, Humorists and Hypocrites it should produce, And justify their author's want of sense. Whole Raymond families, and tribes of Bruce. Let 'em be all by thy own model made Now empress Fame had publish d the renown Of dulnefs, and defire no foreign aid; Of She's coronation thro' the town.

That they to future ages may be known, Rous'd by report of fainc, the nations meet, Not copies drawn, but iilue of thy own. From near Bun-hill, and distant Watling-street; Nay, let thy men of wit too be the fame, No Persian carpets ipread th' imperial way, All full of thee, and diff ring but in name, But scatter'd limbs of mangled pocts lay: But let no alien S-dl-y interpose, From dusty shops neglected authors come, To lard with wit thy hungry Epson prose. Martyrs of pyes, and relicks of the bum. And, when false flow'rs of Rhetoric thou wouldft Much Heywood, Shirley, Ogleby, there lay; Trust Nature, do not labour to be dull; (cull, But loads of Sh- almost choak'd the way. But write thy best, and top; and, in cach line, Bilk'd stationers for yeomen food prepard, Sir Formal's oratory will be thine: And H-n was captain of the guard.

Sir Formal, tho' unfought, attends thy quill, The hoary prince in majesty appear'd,

And does thy Northern Dedications fill. High on a throne of his own labours year'd. Nor let false friends seduce thy mind to fame, At his right hand our young Alcanius fat, By arrogating Jonson's hostile name. Rome's other hope, and pillar of the state. Let father Flecknoe fire thy mind with praise, His brows, thick fogs, instead of glories, grace, And uncle Ogleby thy envy raise. And lambent Dulness play'd around his face. Thou art my blood, where Jonson has no part: As Hannibal did to the altars come,

What thare have we in nature or in art ? Sworn by his fire a mortal foe to Romc;

Where did his wit on Learning fix a brand, So Sh-swore, nor should his vow be vain, And rail at arts he did not understand ? That he, till death, true dulness would maintain ; Where made he love in Prince Nicander's vein, And, in his father's right, and realm's defence', Or swept the dust in Psychc's humble strain? Ne'er to have peace with vit, nor truce with sense. Where told he bargains, whip-stitch, kiss my arse; The king himielf the sacred unétion made, Promis’d.a play, and dwindled to a farce : As king by office, and as priest by trade. When did his mute from Fletcher scenes purloin, In his finifter hand, inttead of ball,

As thou whole Eth'ridge dost transfuse to thine ? He plac'd a mighty mug of potent aic;

But so transfus'd, as oil and waters flow; Love's kingdom to his right he did convey, His always floats above, thine links below. At once his sceptre, and his rule of lway; ( voung, This is thy province, this thy wondrous way, . Whose righteou: jore the prince had practis'd New humours to invent for each new play: And from whofe loins recorded Psyche fprung: This is that boatted bias of thy mind, His temples last with poppies were o'erspread, By which, one way, to dulners 'eis inclin'd: That, nodding, seemd to confecrate his head. Which makes thy writings lean on one side still, Tutt at the point of time, if fulde not lye, And, in all changes, that way bends thy will. On his left hand twelve rev rend owls did fly.' Nor Ict thy mountain-belly make pretence So Romulus, 'tis sung, by Tiber's brook, Of likeness; thine's a tympany of fenfe. Presage of sivay from twice fix vultures took. A tun of man in thy large bulk is writ; Th’admiring throng loud acclamations maks, But sure thou'rt but a kilderkin of wit. And omens of his tuure empire take

Like mine, thy gentlé numbers feebly creep: The fire theo thook the honours of his hoad, Thy tragic mufe gives tiniles; thy comic, sleep. And from his brow's damps of oblivion shed With whate'er gall thou fet'st thyself to write, Full on the filial dulnefs : long he stood, Thy inoffensive fatires never bite. Repelling from his breast the raging god; In thy felonious heart though venom lies, At length burst out in this prophetic mood. It does but touch thy Irish pen, and dies.

• Heavens biefs my fon, from Ireland let him Thy genius calls thee not to purchase fame To far Barbadoes on the western main; [reign In keen Iambics, but inild Anagram. Of his dominion may no end be kuown,

Leave writing plays, and chute for thy command and greater and his father's be his throne; Some peaceful province in Acrostic land.



There thou mayft wings display, and altars raise, No cominon coxcomb must be mention'd here: And torture one poor word ten thousand ways.

Not tbe dull train of dancing sparks appear ; Or, if thou wouldi thy diff'rent talents fuit, Nor flutt'ring officers who never fight : Set thy own songs, and sing them to thy lute.' Of such a wretched rabble who would write ? He said; but his last words were scarcely Much less half wits: that's more against ourrules; heard :

For they are fops, the other are but fools. For Bruçe and Longvil had a trap prepar'd, Who would not be as filly as Dunbar ? And down they tent the yet declaiming bard. As dull as Monmouth, rather than Sir Carr? Sinking, he left his drugget robe behind, The cunning courtier Thould be slighted too, Borne upwards by a fubterrancan wind. Who with dull knav'ry makes so much ado; The mantle fell to the young prophet's part,

Till the shrewd fool, by thriving too, too fast, With double portion of his father's art. Like Æsop's fox, becomes a prey at last.

Nor Thall the royal mistresses be nam’d,

Too ugly, or too easy, to be blam'd; 31. An Ejay upon Satire.

With whom each rhyming fool kceps such a pothor, DRYDEN and BUCKINGHAM. They are as common that way as the other: How dull

and how infenfible a beaft Yet faunt'ring Charles, between his beastly Is man, who yet would lord it o'er the rest! brace, Philofophers and poets vainly strove

Meets with dissembling still in either place, In ev'ry age the lumpish mals to move:

Affected humour, or a painted face. But those were pedants, when compar'd with these, In loyal libels' we have often told him, Who know not only to instruct but please. How one has jilted him, the other fold him; Poets alone found the delightful way,

How that affe&ts to laugh, how this to weep: Mysterious morals gently to convey

But who can rail so long as he can sleep? In charming numbers; so that as men grew Was ever prince by two at once milled, Pleas’d with their poems, they grew wiler too. False, foolish, old, ill-natur'd, and ill-bred ? Satire has always shone among the rest,

Earncly and Aylesbury, with all that race And is the boldest way, if not the best,

Of bulý blockheads, hall have here no place; To tell men freely of their foulest faults ; At council fit as foils on Dorset's score, To laugh at their vain deeds, and vainer thoughts. To make that great falje jewel shine the more; In latire too the wife took diff'rent ways,

Who all that while was thought exceeding wife, To each deserving its peculiar praise.

Only for taking pains and telling lyes. Some did all folly with just sharpness blame, But there's no meddling with such nauseous inen; Whilst others laugh’d, and fcorn'd them into Their very names bare tir'd my lazy pen : Thame.

'Tis time to quit their company, and choose But, of these two, the last succeeded best, Some fitter fubject for a tharper Mulc. As men aim rightest when they thoot in jeft. First, let's behold the merriest man alive Yet, if we may presume to blame our guides, Against his carclefs genius vainly strive ; And cenfure those who censure all befides, Quit his dcar cafe, some deep delign to lay, In other things they justly are preferrd; 'Gainst a fet time; and then forget the day: In this alone inchinks the ancients crrid: Yet he will laugh at his best friends ;

and be Against the grofieft follies they declaim ; Just as good company as Nokes and Lec. Hard they pursue, but hunt ignoble game.

But when he aims at reason or at rule, Nothing is easier than such bloes to hit,

He turns hinfcif the bett to ridicule. And 'tis the talent of each vulgar wit :

Let him at bus'ness ne'er to earnçit sit, Belides, 'tis labour ioft for who would preach Shew him but mirth, and bajt that mirth with wit; Morals to Armitrong, or dull Afton teach? That thadow of a jett thall be enjoy'd, 'Tis being devout at play, wife at a ball, Though he left all mankind to be destroy'd. Or bringing wit and friendship to Whitchall. So cat transform'd fat gravely and deinure, But with tharp eyes those nicer faults to find, Till mouse appear'd, and thought himtelficcure, Which lie oblcurely in the wifeft mind ; But foon the lady had him in her ere, That little speck which all the reft does spoil, And from her friend did just as oddly fly. To walk off that, would be a noble toil; Reaching above our nature does no good; Beyond the loose-writ libels of this age,

We mult fall back to our old Aleth and blood; Or the forc'd scenes of our declining stage ; As, by our little Machiavel, we find Above all cenfure too, each little wit

That nimblest creature of the busy kind, Will bé so glad to see the greater hit;

His limbs are crippled, and his body thakes; Who judying better, though concern'd the most, Yet his hard mind, which allthis buitle nakus, Of such correction will have cause to boalt. No pity of its poor companion takes.

} In such a satire all would seek a tharc,

What gravity can hold from laugining out, And ev'ry fool will fancy he is there.

To see himn drag his feeble legs about, Old story-tellers too must pine and die,

Like hounds ill-coupleds louler lugs him ftiil To see their antiquated wit laid by ;

Thro' hedge's, ditches, and thro' all that's ill. Like her, who mifs'd her name in a lampoon, "Twere crime in any man but hiin alone, And griey'd to find herself decay'd fo foon, To uic a body so, tho' 'tis onu': opin:


« PreviousContinue »