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Although, the subtler all things are,
They're but to nothing the more near ;
And, the less weight they can sustain,
The more he still lays on in vain,
And hangs his soul upon as nice
And subtle curiosities,
As one of that vast multitude
That on a needle's point have stood ;
Weighs right and wrong, and true and false,
Upon as nice and subtle scales,
As those that turn upon a plane
With th' hundredth part of half a grain,
And still the subtler they move,
The fooner false and useless prove.
So man, that thinks to force and strain,
Beyond its natural sphere, his brain,
In vain torments it on the rack,
And, for improving, fets it back;
Is ignorant of his own extent,
And that to which his aims are bent ;
Is loft in both, and breaks his blade,
Upon the anvil where 'twas made :
For, as abortions cost more pain
Than vigorous births, so all the vain
And weak productions of man's wit,
That aim at purposes unfit,
Require more drudgery, and worse,
Than those of strong and lively force.

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225

'S A T

I RE

UPON THE

LICENTIOUS AGE OF CHARLES II.

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IS a strange age we've liv'd in, and a lewd,

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An age as vile as ever Justice urg'd,
Like a fantastic letcher, to be scourg'd;
Nor has it scap'd, and yet has only learn’d,
The more 'tis plagued, to be the less concern'd.
Twice have we seen two dreadful judgments rage,
Enough to fright the stubborn'it-hearted age ;
The one to mow vast crowds of people down,
The other (as then needless) half the Town;
And two as mighty miracles restore
What both had ruin'd and destroy'd before ;
In all as unconcern'd as if they 'ad been
But pastimes-for diversion to be seen,

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As the preceding satire was upon mankind in general, with some allusion to that age in which it was wrote, this is particularly leveled at the licentious and åebauched times of Charles II. humoroully contrafted with the Puritanical ones which went before ; and is a fresh proof of the Author's impartiality, and that he was not, as is generally, but falfély, imagined, a bigot to the Cavalier party.

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Or, like the plagues of Egypt, meant a curse,

15 Not to reclaim us, but to make us worse. Twice have men turn'd the World (that filly block

head)
The wrong side outward, like a juggler's pockct,

,
Shook out hypocrisy as fast and loose
As e'er the devil could teach, or finners use,
And on the other side at once put in
As impotent iniquity and sin.
As sculls that have been crack'd are often found
Upon the wrong side to receive the wound;
And like tobacco-pipes at one end hit,
To break at th’ other fill that 's opposite ;
So men, who one extravagance would fhun,
Into the contrary extreme have run ;
And all the difference is, that, as the first
Provokes the other freak to prove the worst,

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So, in return, that strives to render leís
The last delusion, with its own excess,
And, like two unskill'd gamesters, use one way,
With bungling t help out one another's play.
For those who heretofore sought private holes, 35
Securely in the dark to damn their souls,
Wore vizards of hypocrisy, to steal
And sink away in masquerade to hell,
Now bring their crimes into the

open

sun, For all mankind to gaze their worst upon, As eagles try their young against his rays, To prove if they ’re of generous breed or base ; 5.

Call

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Call heaven and earth to witness how they've aim'd,
With all their utmost vigour, to be damn'd,
And by their own examples, in the view

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Of all the world, striv'd to damn others too ;
On all occasions sought to be as civil
As possible they could t' his grace the Devil,
To give him no unnecessary trouble,
Nor in small matters use a friend fo noble,

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But with their constant practice done their best
T'improve and propagate his interest:
For men have now made vice so great an art,
The matter of fact 's become the fightest part;
And the debauched' st actions they can do,
Mere trifles to the circumstance and show.
For ’tis not what they do that's now the sin,
But what they lewdly affect and glory in,
As if preposterously they would profess
A forc'd hypocrisy of wickedness,

ба
And affe&tation, that makes good things bad,
Must make affected shame accurs’d and mad;
For vices for themselves may find excuse,
But never for their compliment and News;
That if there ever were a mystery
Of moral secular iniquity,
And that the churches may not lose their due
By being incroach'd upon, 'tis now, and new :
For men are now as scrupulous and nice,
And tender-conscienc'd of low paltry vice;

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Disdain as proudly to be thought to have
To do in any mischief but the brave ;

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T'

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As the most scrupulous zealot of late times
appear

in
any

but the horrid'st crimes; Have as precise and strict punctilios

*75 Now to appear, as then to make no shows, And steer the world, by disagreeing force Of different customs, 'gainst her natural course : So powerful's ill example to encroach, And Nature, spite of all her laws, debauch, 80 Example, that imperious dictator Of all that 's good or bad to human nature, By which the world 's corrupted and reclaim'd, Hopes to be sav'd and studies to be damn'd; That reconciles all contrarieties, Makes wisdom foolifhness, and folly wise, Imposes on divinity, and sets Her feal alike on truths and counterfeits; Alters all characters of virtue' and vice, And passes one for th' other in disguise; Makes all things, as it pleafes, understood, The good receiv'd for bad, and bad for good; That flyly counter-changes wrong and right, Like white in fields of black, and black in white; As if the laws of Nature had been made Of purpose only to be disobey'd ; Or man had lost his mighty interest, By having been distinguish'd from a beast; And had no other way but sin and vice, To be restor'd again to Paradise.

100 How copious is our language lately grown, To make blafpheming wit, and a jargon!

And

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