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So learned men, by authors' names unknown,
Have gain'd no small improvement to their own,
And he's esteem'd the learned'st of all others,
That has the largest catalogue of authors.
OF THE FORE GOING SATIRE.
EN'S talents grow more bold and confident,
The further they ’re beyond their jult extent,
As These Fragments were fairly written out, and several times, with lome little variations, transcribed by Butler, but never connected, or reduced into any regular form. They may be considered as the principal parts of a curious edifice, each separately finished, but not united into one general design.
From these the reader may form a notion and tolerable idea of our Author's intended scheme; and will, I doubt not, regret, with me, that he did not apply himself to the ħnishing of a satire fo well suited to his judgment and particular turn of wit.
It may be thought, perhaps, that some parts of it ought to have been illustrated with notes; but as the printing an imperfect work may be judged, by some readers of great delicacy, a sort of intrusion upon the public, I did not care to enhance the objection by cloga ging it with additional observations of my own.. VOL. II.
As smatterers prove more arrogant and pert,
The less they truly understand an art;
And, where they 've least capacity to doubt,
Are wont t appear most peremptory and stout;
While those that know the mathematic lines
Where Nature all the wit of man confines;
And when it keeps within its bounds, and where
It acts beyond the limits of its sphere ;
Enjoy an absoluter free command
O'er all they have a right to understand,
Than those that falsely venture to encroach
Where Nature has deny'd them all approach,
And still, the more they strive to understand,
Like great estates, run furthest behind-hand;
Will undertake the universe to fathom,
From infinite down to a single atom ;
Without a geometric instrument,
To take their own capacity's extent;
Can tell as easy how the world was made,
As if they ’ad been brought up to the trade,
And whether Chance, Necessity, or Matter,
Contriv’d the whole establishment of Nature;
When all their wits to understand the world
Can never tell why a pig's tail is curld,
Or give a rational account why fish,
That always use to drink, do never piss.
WHAT mad fantastic gambols have been play'd By th' ancient Greek forefathers of the trade, That were not much inferior to the freaks Of all our lunatic fanatic feets ! The first and best philosopher of Athens Was crackt, and ran stark-staring mad with patience, And had no other way to thew his wit, But when his wife was in her scolding-fit; Was after in the Pagan inquisition, And suffer'd martyrdom for no religion. Next him, his scholar, striving to expel All poets his poetic commonweal, Exil'd himself, and all his followers, Notorious poets, only bating verse. The Stagyrite, unable to expound The Euripus, leapt into 't, and was drown's : So he that put his eyes out, to consider And contemplate on natural things the steadier, Did but himself for idiot convince, Though reverenc'd by the learned ever since. Empedocles, to be esteem’d a god, Leapt into Ætna, with his sandals shod : That being blown out, discover'd what an ass The great philofopher and juggler was, That to his own new deity facrific'd, And was himself the victim and the priest. The Cynic coin'd false money, and, for fear Of being hang'd for 't, turn'd philofopher; Yet with his lantern went, by day, to find One honest man i' th' heap of all mankind;
An idle freak he needed not have done,
If he had known himself to be but one.
With swarms of maggots of the self-fame rate,
The learned of all ages celebrate
Things that are properer for Knightsbridge college,
Than th' authors and originals of knowledge ;
More sottish than the two fanatics, trying
To mend the world by laughing, or by crying ,
Or he that laugh'd until he chok'd his whistle,
To rally on an ass that ate a thistle i
That th' antique fage, that was gallant t’a goose,
A fitter mistress could not pick and chuse,
Whose tempers, inclinations, sense, and wit,
Like two indentures, did agree fo fit.
THE ancient sceptics constantly deny'd
What they maintain’d, and thought they justify’d;
For when they' affirm'd that nothing 's to be known,
They did but what they said before disown;
And, like Polemics of the Post, pronounce
The same thing to be true and false at once.
These follies had such influence on the rabble,
As to engage them in perpetual squabble ;
Divided Rome and Athens into clans
Of ignorant mechanic partisans ;
That, to maintain their own hypotheses,
Broke one another's blockheads, and the peace ;;
Were often set by officers 'i th’ stocks
For quarreling about a paradox :
When pudding-wives were launcht in cock-quean stools,
For falling foul on oyster-women's schools,
No herb-women sold cabbages or onions,
But to their gossips of their own opinions.
A Peripatetic cobler scorn'd to foal
A pair of shoes of any other school ;
And porters of the judgment of the Stoics,
To go an errand of the Cyrenaics ;
That us'd t'encounter in athletic lists,
With beard to beard, and teeth and nails to fifts,
Like modern kicks and cuffs among the youth
Of academics, to maintain the trath.
But in the boldest feats of arms the Stoic
And Epicureans were the most heroic,
That stoutly ventur'd breaking of their necks,
To vindicate the interests of their sects,
And still behay'd themselves as resolute
In waging cuffs and bruises as dispute,
Until, with wounds and bruises which they' had got,
Some hundreds were kill'd dead upon the spot;
When all their quarrels, rightly understood,
Were but to prove disputes the fovereign good.
DISTINCTIONS, that had been at first delign'd
To regulate the errors of the mind,
By being too nicely overstrain'd and vext,
Have made the comment harder than the text,
And do not now, like carving, hit the joint,
But break the bon sin pieces, of a point,