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And all alike are taught poetic rage,
When hardly one 's fit for it in an age.

No sooner are the organs of the brain
Quick to receive, and stedfast to retain,
Best knowledges, but all 's laid out upon
Retrieving of the curfe of Babylon;
To make confounded languages restore
A greater drudgery than it barr’d before:
And therefore those imported from the East, · 45
Where first they were incurråd, are held the best,
Although convey'd in worse Arabian pothooks
"Than gifted tradesmen fcratch in sermon note-books ;
Are really but pains and labour loft,
And not worth half-the drudgery they cost, 50
Unless, like rarities, as they've been brought
From foreign climates, and as dearly bought,
When those who had no other but their own,
Have all succeeding eloquence outdone;
As men that wink with one eye see more true, 55
And take their am much better, than with two:
For, the more languages a man can speak,
His talent has but sprung the greater leak;
And, for the industry he'as-spent upon 't,
Muft full as much some other


discount. 60 The Hebrew, Chaldee, and the Syriac, Do, like their letters, fet men's reason back, And turn their wits, that ftrive to understand it (Like those that write the characters) left-handed : Yet he that is but able to express No sense at all in several languages,


Will pass for learneder than he that 's known
To speak the strongest reason in his own.

These are the modern arts of education,
With all the learned of nânkind in fashion,
But practis'd only with the rod and whip,
As riding-schools inculcate horsemanships
Or Romish penitents let out their skins,
To bear the penalties of others fins :
When letters, at the first, were meant for play, 75
And only us'& to pass the time away;
When th' ancient Greeks and Romans had no name
To express a school and playhouse, but the fame,
And in their languages, so long agone,
To study or be idle was all one ;

For nothing more preserves men in their wits,
Than giving of them leave to play by fits,
In dreams to sport, and ramble with all fancies,
And waking, little less extravagances,
The rest and recreation of tir'd thought,
When 'tis run down with care and overwrought,
Of which whoever does not freely take
His constant share,.is never broad awake,
And, when he wants an equal competence
Of both recruits, abates as much of sense. go

Nor is their education worse design'd
Than Nature (in her province) proves unkind:
The greatest inclinations with the least
Capacities are fatally postest,
Condemn'd to drudge, and labour, and take pains, 95
Without an equal competence of brains ;



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While thofe she has indulg'd in soul and body,
Are most averse to industry and study,
And th' activ'it fancies share as loose alloys,
For want of equal weight to counterpoise.
But when those great conveniencies meet,
Of equal judgment, industry, and wit,
The one but strives the other to divert,
While Fate and Custom in the feud take part,
And scholars, by preposterous over-doing,
And under-judging, all their projects ruin ;
Who, though the understanding of mankind
Within so strait a compass is confin’d,
Disdain the limits Nature sets to bound
The wit of man, and vainly rovę beyond.
The bravest soldiers scorn, until they 're got
Close to the enemy, to make a shot;
Yet great philosophers delight to stretch
Their talents most at things beyond their reach,
And proudly think t' unriddle


That Nature uses, by their own bye-laws;
When 'tis not only' impertinent, but rude,
Where the denies admission, to intrude ;
And all their industry is but to err,
Unless they have free quarantine from her;
Whence 'tis the world the less has understood,
By striving to know more than 'tis allow'd.

For Adam, with the loss of Paradise
Bought knowledge at too desperate a price,
And ever since that miserable fate
Learning did never cost an ealier rate;

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For, though the most divine and fovereign good
That Nature has upon mankind bestow'd,
Yet it has prov'd a greater hinde ance
To th' interest of truth than ignorance,

And therefore never bore so high a value
As when 'twas low, contemptible, and shallow;
Had academies, schools, and colleges,
Endow'd for its improvement and increase ;
With pomp and Thew was introduc'd with maces, 135
More than a Roman magistrate had fasces;
Impower'd with statute, privilege, and mandate,
T'assume an art, and after understand it;
Like bills of store for taking a degree,
With all the learning to it custom-free ;
And own professions which they never took
So much delight in as to read one book :
Like princes, had prerogative to give
Convicted malefactors a reprieve;
And, having but a little paltry wit

More than the world, reduc'd and govern'd it,
But scorn'd, as soon as 'twas but understood,
As better is a spiteful foe to good,
And now has nothing left for its support,
But what the darkest times provided for 't. 150

Man has a natural desire to know,
But th' one half is for interest, th' other show :
As scriveners take more pains to learn the fleight
Of making knots, than all the hands they write :
So all his study is not to extend

155 The bounds of knowledge, but some vainer end;


T' appear



appear and pass for learned, though his claim
Will hardly reach beyond the empty name :
For most of those that drudge and labour hard,
Furnish their understandings by the yard,

As a French library by the whole is,
So much an ell for quarto’s and for folios ;.
To which they are but indexes themselves,
And understand no further than the shelves ;;
But smatter with their titles and editions,

165 And place them in their. Classical partitions ; When all a student knows of what he reads Is not in 's own, but under general heads Of common-places, not in his own power, But, like a Dutchman's money, i' th’ cantore, 170 Where all he can make of it at the best, Is hardly three per cent. for interest; And whether he will ever get it

out, Into his own possession, is a doubt : Affects all books of past and modern ages,

175 But reads na further than the title-pages, Only to con the authors' names by rote, Or, at the best, those of the books they quote, Enough to challenge intimate acquaintance With all the learned Moderns and the Ancients. 380 As Roman noblemen were wont to greet, And compliment the rabble in the street, Had nomenclators in their trains, to claim Acquaintance with the meanest by his name, And, by so mean contemptible a bribe,

185 Trepann?d the fuffrages of every tribe ;, :



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