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And yet how expressive and significant,
In damme at once to curfe, and swear, and rant !
As if no way express'd men's souls so well, 105
As damning of them to the pit of hell;
afleveration were so civil,
As mortgaging salvation to the devil;
Or that his name did add a charming grace,
And blasphemy a purity to our phrase.
For what can any language more enrich,
Than to pay fouls for viciating speech;
When the great'st tyrant in the world made those
But lick their words out that abus'd his prose?
What trivial punishments did then protect 115
To public censure a profound respect,
When the most fhameful penance, and severe,
That could b'inflicted on a Cavalier
For infamous debauchery, was no worse
Than but to be degraded from his horse,
And have his livery of oats and hay,
Instead of cutting spurs off, tak’n away?
They held no torture then so great as shame,
And that to slay was less than to defame;
For juft so much regard as men express
'125 To th' censure of the public, more or less, The same will be return'd to them again, In Mame or reputation, to a grain; And, how perverse sue'er the world appears, 'Tis just to all the bad it fees and hears;
130 And for that virtue strives to be allow'd For all the injuries it does the good.
How filly were their fages lieretofore,
To fright their heroes with a fyren whore !
Make them believe a water-witch, with charms,
Could fink their men of war as easy as storms,
And turn their mariners, that heard them fing,
Into land porpusses, and cod and ling;
To terrify those mighty champions,
As we do children now with Bloodybones ;
Until the subtlest of their conjurers
the labels to his soul, his ears,
And tyd his deafen'd failors (while he pass’d
The dreadful lady's lodgings) to the malt,
And rather venture drowning than to wrong
The sea-pugs chaste ears viith a bawdy song :.
Tob' out of countenance, and, like an ass,
Not pledge the Lady Circe one beer-glass;
Unmannerly refuse her treat and wine,
For fear of being turn'd into a swine,
When one of our heroic adventurers now
Would drink her down, and turn her int' a low!
So simple were those times, when a grave sage
Could with an old-wife's tale instruct the age,
Teach virtue more fantastic ways and nice,
Than ours will now endure t’ improve in vice;
Made a dull lentence, and a moral fable,
Do more than all our holdings-forth are able,
A forc'd obfcurè mythology convince,
Beyond our worst infiictions upon fins ;
When an old proverb, or an end of verse,
Could more than all our penal laws coerce,
And keep men honefter than all our furies
Of jailors, judges, conftables, and juries;
Who were converted then with an old saying,
Better than all our preaching now, and praying
What fops had these been, had they liv'd with us,
Where the best reafon’s made ridiculous,
And all the plain and sober things we say,
By raillery are put beside their play?
For men are grown above all knowledge now,
And what they ’re ignorant of disdain to know;
Engrofs truth (like Fanatics) underhand,
And boldly judge before they understand ;
The self-fame courses equally advance
175 In spiritual and carnal ignorance, And, by the fame degrees of confidence, Become impregnable against all fente; For, as they outgrew ordinances then, So would they now morality again. Though Drudgery and Knowledge are of kin, And both descended from one parent, Sin, And therefore seldom have been known to part, In tracing out the ways of Truth and Art, Yet they have north-west passages to steer 135 A short way to it, without pains or care : For, as implicit faith is far more stiff Than that which understands its own belief, So those that think, and do but think they know, Are far more obstinate than those that do, Igo And :nore averse than if they ’ad ne'er been taught A wrong way, to a right one to be brought;,
Take boldness upon credit beforehand,
And grow too positive to understand;
Believe themselves as knowing and as famous,
As if their gifts had gotten a mandamus,
A bill of store to take up a degree,
With all the learning to it, custom-free,
And look as big for what they bought at Court,
As if they 'ad done their exercises for ?t.
HAT fool would trouble fortune more,
When she has been too kind before;
Or tempt her to take back again
What the had thrown
By idly venturing her good graces
To be dispos’d of by ames-aces:;
Or settling it in trust to uses
Out of his power, on trays and deuces ;
To put it to the chance, and try,
I'th' ballot of a box and dye,
Whether his money be his own,
And lose it, if he be o'erthrown ;
As if he were betray'd, and set
By his own stars to every cheat,
Or wretchedly condemn’d by Fate
To throw dice for his own estate;
As mutineers, by fatal doom,
Do for their lives upon a drum ?
For what less influence can produce
So great a monster as a chouse,
Or any two-legg'd thing possess
With such a brutish fottishness ?.
Unless those tutelary stars,
Intrusted by astrologers
To have the charge of man, combin'd
To use him in the self-fame kind;
As those that help'd them to the trust,
Are wont to deal with others just.
For to become so fadly dull
And stupid, as to fine for gull
(Not as, in cities, to b' excus'd,
But to be judg'd fit to be us’d),.
That whosoe'er can draw it in
Is sure inevitably t'win,
And, with a curs'd half-witted fate,.
To grow more dully desperate,
The more 'tis made a common prey,
And cheated foppishly at play,
Is their condition ; Fate betrays
To folly first, and then destroys.
For what but miracles can serve.
So great a madness to preserve,
As his, that ventures goods and chattels
(Where there's no quarter given) in battles,
And fights with money-bags as bold,
As men with sand-bags did of old ;