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A chronicle of ancient ftanding;
A Chryfoftom to smooth thy band in.
The Polyglott-three parts-my text,
Howbeit-likewife-now to my next,
Lo here the Septuagint-and Paul,
To fum the whole-the clofe of all.

He that has thefe, may pass his life,
Drink with the 'fquire, and kiss his wife;
On Sunday's preach, and eat his fill;
And faft on Fridays--if he will;
Toast church and queen, explain the news,
Talk with church-wardens about pews,
Pray heartily for fome new gift,
And shake his head at Doctor Swift.









Written in the Year 1732.

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AVING proposed to write fome pieces on Human Life and Manners, fuch as (to ufe my Lord Bacon's expreffion) come home to men's business and bosoms, I thought it more fatisfactory to begin with confidering man in the abstract, his nature and his state: fince to prove any moral duty, to enforce any moral precept, or to examine the perfection or imperfection of any creature whatsoever, it is neceffary firft to know what condition and relation it is placed in, and what is the proper end and purpofe of its being.



The science of human naturé is, like all other sciences, reduced to a few, clear points: there are not many certain truths in this world. It is therefore in the anatomy of the mind, as in that of the body; more good will accrue to mankind by attending to the large, open, and perceptible parts, than by studying too much fuch finer nerves and veffels as will for ever escape our observation. The difputes are all upon thefe laft, and I will venture to fay, they have lefs fharpened the wits than the hearts of men against each other, and have diminished the practice, more than advanced the theory, of morality. If I could flatter myself that this Essay has any merit, it is in steering betwixt doctrines feemingly oppofite, in paffing over terms utterly unintelligible, and in forming out of all, a temperate yet not inconfiftent, and a short yet not imperfect Syftem of Ethics.

This I might have done in profe; but I chofe verse, and even rhyme, for two reafons. The one will appear VOL. I. Kk


obvious; that principles, maxims, or precepts fo written, both strike the reader more ftrongly at firft, and are more eafily retained by him afterwards. The other may feem odd, but is true; I found I could exprefs them more fhortly this way than in prose itself; and nothing is truer than that much of the force as well as grace of arguments or inftructions depends on their concifeness. I was unable to treat this part of my subject more in detail, without becoming dry and tedious: or more poetically, without facrificing perfpicuity to ornament, without wandering from the precifion, or breaking the chain of reasoning. If any man can unite all these without diminution of any of them, I freely confefs he will compass a thing above my capacity.

What is now publifhed, is only to be confidered as a general Map of MAN, marking out no more than the greater parts, their extents, their limits, and their connection, but leaving the particular to be more fully delineated in the charts which are to follow. Confequently, these Epiftles in their progress (if I have health and leisure to make any progress) will become lefs dry, and more fufceptible of ornament. I am here only opening the fountains, and clearing the paffage; to deduce the rivers, to follow them in their courfe, and to obferve their effects, would be a task more agreeable.


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