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Of oracles like these? Great pity too,
That, having wielded th' elements, and built
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 frantic who thus spend it? all for smoke-
Eternity for bubbles, proves at last
A senseless bargain. When I see such
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,
it in th' infallible result
So hollow and so false I feel
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
While thoughtful man is plausibly amus'd.
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!
'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 vorld pleases. What's the world to you? 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 Be strangers to each other? Pierce my vein, Take of the crimson stream meand'ring there, And catechise it well; apply thy glass, Search it, and prove now if it be not blood Congenial with thine own: and, if it be, What edge of subtlety canst thou suppose Keen enough, wise and skilful as thou art,
To cut the link of brotherhood, by which
One common Maker bound me to the kind?
True; I am no proficient, I confess,
In arts like your's. I cannot call the swift
And perilous lightnings from the angry clouds,
And bid them hide themselves in earth beneath;
I cannot analyse the air, nor catch
The parallax of yonder luminous point,
That seems half quench'd in the immense abyss:
Such pow'rs I boast not-neither can I rest
A silent witness of the headlong rage
Or heedless 'folly by which thousands die,
bone, and kindred souls to mine.
By strides of human wisdom. In his works,
Though wondrous, he commands us in his word
To seek him rather, where his mercy shines.
The mind indeed, enlighten'd from above,
Views him in all; ascribes to the grand cause
The grand effect; acknowledges with joy
His manner, and with rapture tastes his style.
But never yet did philosophic tube,
That brings the planets home into the eye
Of observation, and discovers, else
Not visible, his family of worlds,
Discover him that rules them; such a veil
Hangs over mortal eyes, blind from the birth, ,
And dark in things divine. Full often, too,
Our wayward intellect, the more we learn
Of nature, overlooks her author more;
From instrumental causes proud to draw
Conclusions retrograde, and mad mistake.
But if his word once teach us, shoot a ray
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
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
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 angelic wings,
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.
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,