« AnteriorContinuar »
The doctrine, miracles; which must convince, For Heaven in them appeals to human sense: And though they prove not, they confirm the cause, When what is taught agrees with Nature's laws. Then for the style, majestic and divine, It speaks no less than God in every line: Commanding words; whose force is still the same As the first fiat that produc’d our frame. All faiths beside, or did by arms ascend; Or sense indulg'd has made mankind their friend: This only doctrine does our lusts oppose: Ulfed by Nature's soil, in which it grows; Cross to our interests, curbing sense and sin; Oppress'd without, and undermin'd within, It thrives through pain; its own tormentors tires; And with a stubborn patience still aspires. To what can reason such effects assign Transcending nature, but to laws divine; Which in that sacred volume are contain'd ; Sufficient, clear, and for that use ordain'd? But stay: the deist here will urge anew, No supernatural worship can be true: Because a general law is that alone Which must to all, and every where, be known: A style so large as not this book can claim, Nor ought that bears reveal’d religion's name. 'Tis said the sound of a Messiah's birth Is gone through all the habitable Earth: But still that text must be confin'd alone To what was then inhabited and known : And what provision could from thence accrue To Indian souls, and worlds discover'd new 2 In other parts it helps, that, ages past, The Scriptures there were known, and were embrac'd, Till sin spread once again the shades of night: What's that to these, who never saw the light? Of all objections this indeed is chief To startle reason, stagger frail belief: We grant, 'tis true, that Heaven from human sense Hashid the secret paths of providence: But boundless wisdom, boundless mercy, may Find ev’n for those bewilder'd souls, a way: If from his nature foes may pity claim, Much more may strangers who ne'er heard his name. And though no name be for salvation known, But that of his eternal Son's alone; Who knows how far transcending goodness can Extend the merits of that Son to man? Who knows what reasons may his mercy lead; o: ignorance invincible may plead 2 Not only charity bids hope the best, But more the great apostle has exprest: * That if the Gentiles, whom no law inspir'd, By nature did what was by law requir'd ; They, who the written rule had never known, Were to themselves both rule and law alone: To nature's plain indictment they shall plead; And by their conscience be condemn'd or freed.” Most righteous doom because a rule reveal’d Is none to those from whom it was conceal’d. Then those who follow'd reason's dictates right; Liv'd up, and lifted high their natural light; With Socrates may see their Maker's face, While thousand rubric-martyrs want a place. Nor does it baulk my charity, to find Th Egyptian bishop of another mind: Fo though his creed eternal truth contains, 'Tis hard for man to doom to endless pains All who believ'd not all his zeal requir’d; Unless be first could prove he was inspir'd.
| Then let us either think he meant to say
This faith, where publish'd, was the only way;
Restore lost canon with as little pains,
But first they would assume, with wondrous art,
: When want of learning kept the laymen low,
And none but priests were authoris'd to know :
That what they thought the priest's, was their estate:
'Tis true, my friend, and far be flattery hence,
What then remains, but, waving each extreme, The tides of ignorance and pride to stem? Neither so rich a treasure to forego; Nor proudly seek beyond our power to know : Faith is not built on disquisitions vain; The things we must believe are few and plain: But, since men will believe more than they need, And every man will make himself a creed, ln doubtful questions 'tis the safest way To learn what unsuspected ancients say: For 'tis not likely we should higher soar In search of Heaven, than all the church before : Nor can we be deceiv'd, unless we see The Scripture and the fathers disagree. If after all they stand suspected still, For no man's faith depends upon his will; To some relief, that points not clearly known Without much hazard may be let alone. And, after hearing what our church can say, If still our reason runs another way, That private reason 'tis more just to curb, Tan by disputes, the public peace disturb, For points obscure are of small use to learn : But common quiet is mankind's concern. Thus have I made my own opinions clear: Yet neither praise expect, nor censure fear: And this unpolish'd rugged verse I chose; A fittest for discourse, and nearest prose: For while from sacred truth I do not swerve, Tom Sternhold's or Tom Shadwell's rhymes will serve.
T0 SIR GODFREY KNELLER,
PRINcipAL PAINTER to his MAJESTY.
Osco. I beheld the fairest of her kind, And still the sweet idea charms my mind: Tour, she was dumb; for Nature gaz'd so long, Pas'd with her work, that she forgot her tongue; But, smiling, said, “She still shall gain the prize; Ionly have transferr'd it to her eyes.” §th are thy pictures, Kneller: such thy skill, Tui Nature seems obedient to thy will; (me out, and meets thy pencil in the draught; *there, and wants but words to speak her thought. *last thy pictures look a voice; and we losine sounds, deceiv'd to that degree, ": think 'tis somewhat more than just to see. Sadows are but privations of the light; Ye, when we walk, they shoot before the sight; With us approach, retire, arise, and fall; *ing themselves, and yet expressing all. ** are thy pieces, imitating life * Hear, they almost conquer in the strife; *d from their animated canvass came, ing souls, and loosen'd from the frame. etheus, were he here, would cast away *Adam, and refuse a soul to clay; odsither would thy noble work inspire, think it warm enough without his fire. But vulgar hands may vulgar likeness raise; *isthe least attendant on thy praise: *hence the rudiments of art began ; **, or chalk, first imitated man: * the shadow, taken on a wall, * outlines to the rude original;
Ere canvass yet was strain'd, before the grace
Likeness appears in every lineament; But likeness in thy work is eloquent. Though Nature there her true resemblance bears, A nobler beauty in thy piece appears. So warm thy work, so glows the generous frame, Flesh looks less living in the lovely dame. Thou paint'st as we describe, improving still, When on wild Nature we ingraft our skill ; But not creating beauties at our will. But poets are confin'd in narrower space, To speak the language of their native place: The painter widely stretches his command; Thy pencil speaks the tongue of every land. From hence, my friend, all climates are your own, Nor can you forfeit, for you hold of none. All nations all immunities will give To make you theirs, where'er you please to live; And not seven cities, but the world would strive. Sure some propitious planet then did smile, When first you were conducted to this isle: Our genius brought you here, t' enlarge our fame; For your good stars are every where the same. Thy matchless hand, of every region free, Adopts our climate, not our climate thee. Great Rome and Venice early did impart To thee th' examples of their wondrous art. Those masters then, but seen, not understood, With generous emulation fir'd thy blood: For what in Nature's dawn the child admir’d, The youth endeavour'd, and the man acquir'd. If yet thou hast not reach'd their high degree, 'Tis only wanting to this age, not thee. Thy genius, bounded by the times, like mine, Drudges on petty draughts, nor dare design A more exalted work, and more divine. For what a song, or senseless opera, Is to the living labour of a play; Or what a play to Virgil's work would be, Such is a single piece to history. But we, who life bestow, ourselves must live: Kings cannot reign, unless their subjects give: And they, who pay the taxes, bear the rule: Thus, thou, sometimes, art forc'd to draw a fool : But so his follies in thy posture sink, The senseless ideot seems at last to think. [vain, Good Heaven that sots and knaves should be so To wish their vile resemblance may remain And stand recorded, at their own request To future days, a libel or a jest! Else should we see your noble pencil trace Our unities of action, time, and place: A whole compos'd of parts, and those the best, With every various character exprest; Heroes at large, and at a nearer view : Less, and at distance, an ignobler crew. While all the figures in one action join, As tending to complete the main design. More cannot be by mortal art exprest; But venerable age shall add the rest, For Time shall with his ready pencil stand; Retouch your figures with his ripening hand; Mellow your colours, and imbrown the teint; Add every grace, which Time alone can grant; To future ages shall your fame convey, And give more beauties than he takes away.
THE COCK AND THE FOX: of the TALE of THE NUN's PRIEST.
There liv'd, as authors tell, in days of yore, A widow, somewhat old, and very poor. Deep in her cell her cottage lonely stood, Well thatch'd, and under covert of a wood. This dowager, on whom my tale I found, Since last she laid her husband in the ground. A simple sober life, in patience, led, And had but just enough to buy her bread: But huswifing the little Heaven had lent, She duly paid a groat for quarter rent; And pinch'd her belly, with her daughters two, To bring the year about with much ado. The cattle in her homestead were three sows, An ewe call'd Mallie, and three brinded cows. Her parlour-window stuck with herbs around, Qf savoury smell; and rushes strew'd the ground. A maple-dresser in her hall she had, On which full many a slender meal she made; For no delicious morsel pass'd her throat; According to her cloth she cut her coat: No poignant sauce she knew, nor costly treat, Her hunger gave a relish to her meat: A sparing diet did her health assure; Or, sick, a pepper posset was her cure. Before the day was done, her work she sped, And never went by candle-light to bed: With exercise she sweat ill humours out, Her dancing was not hinder'd by the gout. Her poverty was glad; her heart content; Nor knew she what the spleen or vapours meant. Of wine she never tasted through the year, But white and black was all her homely cheer: Brown bread, and milk, (but first she skimm'd her bowls) And rashcrs of sing'd bacon on the coals. On holy days an egg, or two at most; But her ambition never reach'd to roast. A yard she had with pales enclos'd about, Some high, some low and a dry ditch without. Within this homestead, liv'd, without a peer, For crowing loud, the noble Chanticleer; So hight her cock, whose singing did surpass The merry notes of organs at the mass. More certain was the crowing of the cock To number hours, than is an abbey-clock; And sooner than the matin-bell was rung, He clapp'd his wings upon his roost, and sung. For when degrees fifteen ascended right, By sure instinct he knew 'twas one at night. High was his comb, and coral-red withal, In dents embattled like a castle wall; His bill was raven-black, and shone like jet; Blue were his legs, and orient were his feet : White were his nails, like silver to behold, His body glittering like the burnish'd gold. This gentle cock, for solace of his life, Six misses had, besides his lawful wife;
But passing this, as from our tale apart, Dame Partlet was the sovereign of his heart: Ardent in love, outrageous in his play, He feather'd her a hundred times a day: And she, that was not only passing fair, But was withal discreet, and debonair, Resolv'd the passive doctrine to fulfil, Though loth; and let him work his wicked will: At board and bed was affable and kind, According as their marriage vow did bind, And as the church's precept had enjoin'd : Ev’n since she was a se’nnight old, they say, Was chaste and humble to her dying day, Nor chick nor hen was known to disobey. By this her husband's heart she did obtain; What cannot beauty, join'd with virtue, gain! She was his only joy, and he her pride, She, when he walk'd, went pecking by his side; If spurning up the ground, he sprung a corn, The tribute in his bill to her was borne. But, oh! what joy it was to hear him sing In summer, when the day began to spring, Stretching his neck, and warbling in his throat, “Solus cum sola,” then was all his note. For in the days of yore, the birds of parts [arts. Were bred to speak, and sing, and learn the liberal It happ'd, that, perching on the parlour-beam Amidst his wives, he had a deadly dream, Just at the dawn; and sigh'd, and groan'd so fast, As every breath he drew would be his last. Dame Partlet, ever nearest to his side, Heard all his piteous moan, and how he cry’d For help from gods and men ; and sore aghast She peck'd and pull'd, and waken'd him at last. “Dearheart,” said she, “for love of Heaven, declare Your pain, and make me partner of your care. You groan, sir, ever since the morning-light, As something had disturb’d your noble spright.” “And, madam, well I might,” said Chanticleer, “Never was shrovetide cock in such a fear; Ev’n still I run all over in a sweat, My princely senses not recover'd yet. For such a dream I had of dire portent, That much I fear my body will be shent: It bodes I shall have wars and woeful strife, Or in a loathsome dungeon end my life. Know, dame, I dreamt within my troubled breast, That in our yard I saw a murderous beast, That on my body would have made arrest. With waking eyes I ne'er beheld his fellow; His colour was betwixt a red and yellow : Tipp'd was his tail, and both his pricking ears Were black, and much unlike his other hairs: The rest, in shape a beagle's whelp throughout, With broader forehead, and a sharper snout: Deep in his front were sunk his glowing eyes, That yet methinks I see him with surprise. Beach out your hand, I drop with clammy sweat, And lay it to my heart, and feel it beat.” “Now fy for shame,” quoth she, “by Heaven above, Thou hast for ever lost thy lady's love; No woman can endure a recreant knight, He must be bold by day, and free by night: Our sex desires a husband or a friend, Who can our honour and his own defend; Wise, hardy, secret, liberal of his purse: A fool is nauseous, but a coward worse: No bragging coxcomb, yet no baffled knight, Ho" dar’t thou talk of love, and dar'st not fight?
How dar'st thou tell thy dame thou art affear'd? Hast thou no manly heart, and hast a beard? “If aught from fearful dreams inay be divin'd, They signify a cock of dunghill kind. All dreams, as in old Galen I have read, Are from repletion and complexion bred; From rising fumes of indigested food, And noxious humours that infect the blood: And sure, my lord, if I can read aright, These foolish fancies you have had to-night Are certain symptoms (in the canting style) Of boiling choler, and abounding bile; This yellow gall, that in your stomach floats, Engenders all these visionary thoughts. When choler overflows, then dreams are bred Of flames, and all the family of red; Red dragons, and red beasts in sleep we view, For humours are distinguish'd by their hue. From hence we dream of wars and warlike things, And wasps and hornets with their double wings. Choler adust congeals our blood with fear, Then black bulls tossus, and black devils tear. In sanguine airy dreams aloft we bound, With rheums oppress'd we sink, in rivers drown'd. “More I could say, but thus conclude my theme, The dominating humour makes the dream. Cato was in his time accounted wise, And he condemns them all for empty lies. Take my advice, and when we fly to ground, With laxatives preserve your body sound, And purge the peccant humours that abound. I should be loth to lay you on a bier; And though there lives no 'pothecary near, I dare for once prescribe for your disease, And save long bills, and a damn'd doctor's fees. “Two sovereign herbs, which I by practice know, And both at hand (for in our yard they grow); Qn peril of my soul shall rid you wholly Of yellow choler, and of melancholy: You must both purge and vomit; but obey, And for the love of Heaven make no delay. Since hot and dry in your complexion join, Beware the Sun when in a vernal sign; For when he mounts exalted in the Ram, If then he finds your body in a flame, Replete with choler, I dare lay a groat, A tertian ague is at least your lot. Perhaps a fever (which the gods foresend) May bring your youth to some untimely end: And therefore, sir, as you desire to live, A day or two before your laxative, Take just three worms, nor under nor above, Because the gods unequal numbers love. These digestives prepare you for your purge; Of fumetery, centaury, and spurge, And of ground-ivy add a leaf or two, All which within our yard or garden grow. Eat these, and be, my lord, of better cheer; Your father's son was never born to fear.” “Madam,” quoth he, “grammercy for your care, But Cato, whom you quoted, you may spare:
'Tis true, a wise and worthy man he secms,
And (as you say) gave no belief to dreams: