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Behinde this throng, the talking Greeks had

place ; Who Nature turn to art, and truth disguise, As skill does native beauty oft deface; With termes they charm the weak, and pose the

the wise.

Now they the Hebrew, Greek and Roman spie; Who for the peoples ease, yoaked them with

law; Whom else, ungovern'd lusts would drive

awry ; And each his own way frowardly would draw.

In little tomes these grave first lawyers lie,

In volumes their interpreters below; Who first made law an art, then misterie ;

So cleerest springs, when troubled, clowdy grow.

Our map

But here, the soul's chief book did all precede;

tow'rds Heav'n ; to common crowds deny'd; Who proudly aim to teach, ere they can read;

And all must stray, where each will be a guide.

About this sacred little book did stand

Unwieldly volunes, and in number great; And long it was since any reader's hand

Had reach'd them from their unfrequented seat.

For a deep dust (which Time does softly shed,

Where only Time does come) their covers bare ; On which grave spyders, streets of webbs had

spread; Subtle, and slight, as the grave writers were.

In these, Heav'n's holy fire does vainly burn;

Nor warms, nor lights, but is in sparkles spent; Where froward authors, with disputes, have torn

The garment seamless as the firmament.

These are the old polemicks, long since read,

And shut by Astragon ; who thought it just, They, like the author's (truth's tormentors) dead,

Should lie unvisited, and lost in dust.

Here the Arabian's gospel open lay,

(Men injure truth, who fiction nicely hide) Where they the monks audacious stealths survey,

From the world's first, and greater second guide. The curious much perus'd this, then, new book;

As if some secret wayes to Heav'n it taught; For straying from the old, men never look, And prise the found, not finding those they


We, in tradition (Heav'n's dark mapp) descrie Heav'n worse, than ancient mapps farr India

show; Therefore in new, we search where Heav'n does


The mind's sought ophir, which we long to know.

Or as a planter, though good land he spies,

Seeks new, and when no more so good he findes Doubly esteems the first; so truth men prise,

Truth, the discov'ry made by trav'ling mindes.

And this false book, till truly understood

By Astragon was openly display'd ;
As counterfiet ; false princes rather shou'd

Be shown abroad, than in close prison lay'd.

Now to the old philosophers they come ;

Who follow'd Nature with such just despaire, As some do kings farr off; and when at home

Like courtiers, boast, that they deep secrets share.

Near them are grave dull moralists, who give

Counsell to such, as still in public dwell ; At sea, in courts, in camps,

and cities live; And scorn experience from th' unpractis'd cell.

Esop with these stands high, and they below;

His pleasant wisdome mocks their gravity; Who vertue like a tedious matron show,

He dresses Nature to invite the eye.

High skill their ethics seemes, whilst he stoops down

To make the people wise; their learned pride Makes all obscure, that men may prise the gown;

With ease he teaches, what with pain they hide.

And next (as if their bus'ness rul'd mankind)

Historians stand, bigg as their living books ; Who thought, swift Time they could in fetters

binde; Till his confessions they had ta’ne in books.

But Time oft ’scap'd them in the shades of night

And was in princes' closets oft conceal'd, And hid in battels' smoke ; so what they write

Of courts and camps, is oft by guess reveal'd.

Near these, physicians stood; who but reprieve Like life a judge, whom greater pow'r does

awe; And cannot an almighty pardon give;

So much yields subject Art to Nature's law.

And not weak Art, but Nature we upbraid,

When our frail essence proudly we take ill; Think we are robb’d, when first we are decay'd,

And those were murder'd whom her law did kill.

Now they refresh, after this long survey,

With pleasant poets, who the soul sublime; Fame's heraulds, in whose triumphs they make

way ; And place all those whom honour helps to


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