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The little wick of life's poor shallow lamp
In playing tricks with nature, giving laws 165
To distant worlds, and trifling in their own.
Is't not a pity now, that tickling rheums
Should ever tease the lungs, and blear the sight
of oracles like these ? Great pity, too,
That having wielded th' elements, and built 170
A thousand systems, each in his own way,
They should go out in fume, and be forgot!
Ah! what is life thus spent ? and what are they
But frantick, who thus spend it ? all for smoke-
Eternity for bubbles, proves at last

175
A senseless bargain. When I see such games
Play'd by the creatures of a pow'r who swears
That he will judge the Earth, and call the fool
To a sharp reck’ning, that has liv'd in vain;
And when I weigh this seeming wisdom well, 180
And prove it in th' infallible result
So hollow and so false-I feel my heart
Dissolve in pity, and account the learn'd,
If this be learning, most of all deceiv'd.
Great crimes alarm the conscience, but it sleeps, 185
While thoughtful man is plausibly amused.
Defend me, therefore, common sense, say I,
From reveries so airy, from the toil
Of dropping buckets into empty wells,
And growing old in drawing nothing up! 190

'Twere well, says one, sage, erudite, profound Terribly arch'd and aquiline his nose, And overbuilt with most impending brows, "Twere well, could you permit the World to live As the world pleases : what's the World to you ? 195 Much. I was born of woman, and drew milk As sweet as charity from human breasts. I think, articulate I laugh and weep, And exercise all functions of a man. How then should I and any man that lives

200 Be strangers to each other? Pierce my vein,

280

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And him who writes it, though the style be neat,
The method clear, and argument exact ?
That makes a minister in holy things
The joy of many,

and the dread of more.
His name a theme for praise and for reproach ?-
That, while it gives us worth in God's account,
Depreciates and undoes us in our own ?
What pearl is it, that rich men cannot buy,
That learning is too proud to gather up ;
But which the poor, and the despis'd of all,
Seek and obtain, and often find unsought;
Tell me and I will tell thee what is truth.

O friendly to the best pursuits of man,
Friendly to thought, to virtue, and to peace !
Domestick life in rural leisure pass'd !
Few know thy value, and few taste thy sweets;
Though many boast thy favours, and affect
To understand and choose thee for their own.
But foolish man foregoes his proper bliss,
E'en as his first progenitor, and quits,
Though plac'd in Paradise, (for earth has still,
Some traces of her youthful beauty left)
Substantial happiness for transient joy :
Scenes form’d for contemplation, and to nurse
The growing seeds of wisdom; that suggest
By ev'ry pleasing image they present,
Reflections such as meliorate the heart,
Compose the passions, and exalt the mind;
Scenes such as these 'tis his supreme delight
To fill with riot, and defile with blood.
Should some contagion, kind to the poor brutes
We persecute, annihilate the tribes
That draw the sportsman over hill and dale,
Fearless and wrapt away from all his cares;
Should never game-fowl hatch her eggs again,
br baited hook deceive the fish's eye ;
Id pageantry and dance, and feast and song,
Nell'd in all our summer-months' retreats;

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305

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But if his word once teach us—shoot a ray 240
Through all the heart's dark chambers, and reveal
Truths undiscern'd but by that holy light;
Then all is plain. Philosophy, baptiz'd
In the pure fountain of eternal love,
Has eyes indeed; and viewing all she sees 245
As meant to indicate a God to man,
Gives him his praise, and forfeits not her own.
Learning has borne such fruit in other days
On all her branches: piety has found
Friends in the friends of science, and true pray’r 250
Has flow'd from lips wet with Castalian dews.
Such was thy wisdom, Newton, childlike sage!
Sagacious reader of the works of God,
And in his word sagacious. Such, too, thine,
Milton, whose genius had angelick wings, 255
And fed on manna ! And such thine, in whom
Our British Themis gloried with just cause,
Immortal Hale! for deep discernment prais'd,
And sound integrity, not more than fam’d
For sanctity of manners undefil'd.

260
All flesh is grass, and all its glory fades
Like the fair flow'r dishevell’d in the wind;
Riches have wings, and grandeur is a dream;
The man we celebrate must find a tomb,
And we that worship him, ignoble graves.

265
Nothing is proof against the gen'ral curse
Of vanity that seizes all below.
The only amaranthine flow'r on earth
Is virtue ; th' only lasting treasure, truth.
But what is truth ? 'Twas Pilate's question put 270
To Truth itself, that deign'd him no reply.
And wherefore? will not God impart his light
To them that ask it ?-Freely—'tis his joy,
His glory, and his nature, to impart.
But to the proud, uncandid, insincere,

275
Or negligent inquirer, not a spark.
What's that which brings contempt upon a book,

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285

290

295

And him who writes it, though the style be neat,
The method clear, and argument exact ?
That makes a minister in holy things
The joy of many, and the dread of more.
His name a theme for praise and for reproach ?-
That, while it gives us worth in God's account,
Depreciates and undoes us in our own ?
What pearl is it, that rich men cannot buy,
That learning is too proud to gather up;
But which the poor, and the despis’d of all,
Seek and obtain, and often find unsought;
Tell me and I will tell thee what is truth.

O friendly to the best pursuits of man,
Friendly to thought, to virtue, and to peace !
Domestick life in rural leisure pass'd !
Few know thy value, and few taste thy sweets ;
Though many boast thy favours, and affect
To understand and choose thee for their own.
But foolish man foregoes his proper bliss,
E'en as his first progenitor, and quits,
Though plac'd in Paradise, (for earth has still,
Some traces of her youthful beauty left)
Substantial happiness for transient joy :
Scenes form'd for contemplation, and to nurse
The growing seeds of wisdom; that suggest
By ev'ry pleasing image they present,
Reflections such as meliorate the heart,
Compose the passions, and exalt the mind;
Scenes such as these 'tis his supreme delight
To fill with riot, and defile with blood.
Should some contagion, kind to the poor brutes
We persecute, annihilate the tribes
That draw the sportsman over hill and dale,
Fearless and wrapt away from all his cares;
Should never game-fowl hatch her eggs again,
Nor baited hook deceive the fish's eye ;
Could pageantry and dance, and feast and song,
Be quell'd in all our summer-months' retreats;

300

305

310

315

How many self-deluded nymphs and swains,
Who dream they have a taste for fields and groves,
Would find them hideous nurs'ries of the spleen,
And crowd the roads, impatient for the town!
They love the country, and none else, who seek, 320
For their own sake, its silence and its shade.
Delights which who would leave that has a heart
Susceptible of pity, or a mind
Cultur'd and capable of sober thought
For all the savage din of the swift pack

325
And clamours of the field ?-Detested sport,
That owes its pleasures to another's pain ;
That feeds upon the sobs and dying shrieks
Of harmless nature, dumb, but yet endued
With eloquence, that agonies inspire,

830 Of silent tears and heart-distending sighs ? Vain tears, alas, and sighs that never find A corresponding tone in jovial souls ! Well--one at least is safe. One shelter'd hare Has never heard the sanguinary yell

335 Of cruel man, exulting in her woes. Innocent partner of my peaceful home, Whom ten long years' experience of my care Has made at last familiar : she has lost Much of her vigilant instinctive dread,

340 Not needful here, beneath a roof like mine. Yes-thou mayst eat thy bread, and lick the hand That feeds thee; thou mayst frolick on the floor At ev'ning, and at night retire secure To thy straw couch, and slumber unalarmid ; 345 For I have gained thy confidence, have pledg'd All that is human in me, to protect Thine unsuspecting gratitude and love. If I survive thee, I will dig thy grave; And, when I place thee in it, sighing say, 350 I knew at least one hare that had a friend.*

VOL. II.

* See the note at the end.

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