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TO MR. HOBBES.
VAST bodies of philosophy
I never yet the living soul could see,
'Tis only God can know
Whether the fair idea thou dost show
This I dare boldly tell,
'Tis so like truth, 'twill serve our turn as well.
As firm the parts upon their centre rest,
Long did the mighty Stagyrite retain
Saw his own country's short-liv'd leopard slain;
Spent and out-worn, return no harvest now;
And boast of past fertility,
The poor relief of present poverty.
Unless new lands we plant.
We break-up tombs with sacrilegious hands;
To walk in ruins, like vain ghosts, we love,
We search among the dead
The Baltic, Euxine, and the Caspian,
And nothing sees but seas and skies,
Thou great Columbus of the golden lands of new
Thy task was harder much than his;
Not only found-out first by thee,
Has planted, peopled, built, and civiliz'd it.
I little thought before,
(Nor, being my own self so poor,
That all the wardrobe of rich Eloquence
Of bright, of new, and lasting stuff,
To the Trojan hero given,
Too strong to take a mark from any mortal dart,
Then, when they 're sure to lose the combat by't.
Nor can the snow, which now cold Age does shed
Quench or allay the noble fires within ;
But all which thou hast been,
And all that youth can be thou 'rt yet!
Enjoy the manhood and the bloom of Wit,
Here hoary frosts, and by them breaks out fire!
Nature and causes, we shall see
STRANGE and unnatural! let's stay and see
Lo, of themselves th' enliven'd Chess-men move!
As full of art and industry,
Of courage and of policy,
As we ourselves, who think there's nothing wise but
Here a proud Pawn I admire,
That, still advancing higher,
At top of all became
Another thing and name;
Here I'm amaz'd at th' actions of a Knignt,
Here I the losing party blame,
For those false moves that break the game, That to their grave, the bag, the conquer'd pieces bring,
And, above all, th' ill-conduct of the Mated king.
"Whate'er these seem, whate'er philosophy
And sense or reason tell," said I,
'Tis their own wisdom moulds their state, Their faults and virtues make their fate. They do, they do," said I; but straight, Lo! from my enlighten'd eyes the mists and shadows fell,
That hinder spirits from being visible;
An unseen hand makes all their moves;
And some are great, and some are small, Some climb to good, some from good-fortune fall;
Me from the womb the midwife Muse did take:
Content thyself with the small barren praise,
Their several ways of life let others chuse,
With Fate what boots it to contend?
And some small light it did dispense,
No matter, Cowley! let proud Fortune see,
Let all her gifts the portion be
Of Folly, Lust, and Flattery,
Rebellion and Hypocrisy ;
Do thou not grieve, nor blush to be,
As all th' inspired tuneful men,
But as her beams reflected pass
Through our own Nature or Ill-custom's glass: As 'tis no wonder, so,
If with dejected eye
In standing pools we seek the sky,
The cancell'd name of friend he bore?
There's none but Brutus could deserve
Ill Fate assum'd a body thee t'affright,
Goes out when spirits appear in sight. One would have thought 't had heard the morn、 ing crow,
Or seen her well-appointed star
Come marching up the eastern hill afar.
But, unseen, attack'd thee there:
And all thy great forefathers, were, from Homer Had it presum'd in any shape thee to oppose,
down to Ben.
EXCELLENT Brutus! of all human race
The best, till Nature was improv'd by Grace;
The gentle, vigorous influence
In all their contrariety:
Each had his motion natural and free,
Thou would'st have forc'd it back upon thy foes:
Ill men, and wretched accidents,
The false Octavius and wild Antony,
God-like Brutus! conquer thee?
And the whole no more mov'd, than the whole The bold voice of thy generous disdain :
world, could be.
These mighty gulphs are yet
Too deep for all thy judgment and thy wit.
From thy strict rule some think that thou didst The time's set forth already which shall quell
Stiff Reason, when it offers to rebel;
Which these great secrets shall unseal,
A few years more, so soon hadst thou not dy'd,
TO DR. SCARBOROUGH.
When Slaughter all the while
Albion no more, nor to be nam'd from white!
Sure the unpeopled land
Would now untill'd, desert, and naked stand,
At the same time let loose Diseases' rage
Their civil wars in man to wage.
But thou by Heaven wert sent
This desolation to prevent,
Amed'cine, and a counter-poison, to the age.
By wondrous art, and by successful care,
The inundations of all liquid pain,
And deluge Dropsy, thou dost drain.
The subtle Ague, that for sureness' sake
And at each battery the whole fort does shake,
The cruel Stone, that restless pain,
That's sometimes roll'd away in vain, But still, like Sysiphus's stone, returns again, Thou break'st and meltest by learn'd juices' force, (A greater work, though short the way appear, Than Hannibal's by vinegar !) Oppressed Nature's necessary course It stops in vain; like Moses, thou Strik'st but the rock, and straight the waters freely flow.
Of man's infirmity?
At thy strong charms it must be gone
Who, whilst thy wondrous skill in plants they see, Fear lest the tree of life should be found out by thee.
And thy well-travell'd knowledge, too, does give No less account of th' empire sensitive;
Chiefly of man, whose body is
That active soul's metropolis.
As the great artist in his sphere of glass
There are who all their patients' chagrin have,
As certainly as I;
And all thy noble reparations sink
Unbend sometimes thy restless care,
T' enjoy at once their health and thee: Some hours, at least, to thine own pleasures spare: Since the whole stock may soon exhausted be, Bestow 't not all in charity.
Let Nature and let Art do what they please,
What's somebody, or nobody?
In all the cobwebs of the schoolmen's trade, We no such nice distinction woven see,
As 'tis "to be," or not to be." Dream of a shadow ! a reflection made From the false glories of the gay reflected bow, Is a more solid thing than thou.
Though a disease, as well as devil, were called Vain weak-built isthmus, which dost proudly rise
From creeping moss to soaring cedar thou
On their green infants here bestow: Canst all those magic virtues from them draw, That keep Disease and Death in awe;
Up betwixt two eternities!
Yet canst nor wave nor wind sustain, But, broken and o'erwhelm'd, the endless oceans
And wi h what rare inventions do we strive
Wise, subtle arts, and such as well befit
Some with vast costly tombs would purchase it,
"Here lies the great"-false Marble ! where? Nothing but small and sordid dust lies there.-Some build enormous mountain-palaces,
The fools and architects to please;
Lives in the dropping ruins of his amphitheatre.
His father-in-law an higher place does claim
He, since that toy his death,
Does fill all mouths, and breathes in all men's
In those alone does the great Cæsar live,
"Tis all the conquer'd world could give. We poets, madder yet than all,
With a refin'd fantastic vanity,
Think we not only have, but give, eternity.
Fain would I see that prodigal,
Who his to morrow would bestow,
Through several orbs which one fair planet bear,
The hints of Galileo's glass,
I touch at last the spangled sphere :
"Tis all so bright and gay,
And the joint eyes of night make up a perfect
Where am I now? Angels, and God is here;
Swallows my senses quite,
And drowns all what, or how, or where!
The tyrannous pleasure could express.
Oh, 'tis too much for man! but let it ne'er be
The mighty Elijah mounted so on high,
And went not downwards to the sky!
(As conquering kings in triumph go)
And wondrous was his way, and wondrous was hit
For all old Homer's life, e'er since he dy'd till 'Twas gaudy all; and rich in every part
Where shall I find the noble British land?
Lo! I at last a northern speck espy,
Which in the sea does lie,
And seems a grain o' th' sand!
And is it this, alas! which we
I pass by th' arched magazines which hold
Nor shake with fear or cold:
I meet clouds charg'd with thunder,
And lightnings, in my way,
Like harmless lambent fires, about my temples
Now into a gentle sea of rolling flame
So great, so pure, so bright a fire,
Was that unfortunate desire,
My faithful breast did cover,
Of essences, of gems; and spirit of gold
Drawn forth by chymic angels' art.
And flaming manes their necks array'd:
But such light solid ones as shine
On the transparent rocks o' th' Heaven crystal
Thus mounted the great prophet to the skies;
Wonder'd from hence to see one rise.
Awhile the sacred footsteps bore;
He past by th' Moon and planets, and did fright
With th' unexampled sight.
To a better thing do aspire,
And mount herself, like him, to eternity in fire.
TO THE NEW YEAR.
GREAT Janus! (who dost, sure, my mysteries view
hen, when i was of late a wretched mortal lover. | With all thine eyes, yet think'st them all too few
If thy fore-face do see
No better things prepar'd for me,
Than did thy face behind;
If still her breast must shut against me be,
Alas! what need I thus to pray?
His well-hors'd troops, the Months, and Days,and
Sourness and lees, which to the bottom sink,
Remain for latter years to drink;
Until, some one offended with the taste,
The vessel breaks, and out the wretched relics run at last..
If then, young Year ! thou needst must come,
The birth beyond its time can never tarry,
Chuse thy attendants well; for 'tis not thee
Let neither Loss of Friends, or Fame, or Liberty,
Either black Sin, or gaudy Vanity:
Nay, if thou lov'st me, gentle Year!
Vain fruitless love, I mean; for, gentle Year!
There's of this caution little need,
Such a mistake:
Such love I mean, alone,
As by thy cruel predecessors has been shown;
WE'RE ill by these grammarians us'd; We are abus'd by words, grossly abus'd: From the maternal tomb
To the grave's fruitful womb, We call here Life; but Life 's a name That nothing here can truly claim: This wretched inn, where we scarce stay to bait, We call our dwelling-place;
We call one step a race: But angels, in their full enlighten'd state, Angels, who live, and know what 'tis to be; Who all the nonsense of our language see; Who speak things, and our words, their illdrawn pictures, scorn;
When we, by a foolish figure, say, "Behold an old man dead!" then they Speak properly, and cry, "Behold a man-child born !"
My eyes are open'd, and I see
Through the transparent fallacy :
Like men of business; and for business walk
And mighty voyages we take,
And mighty journeys seem to make,
O'er sea and land, the little point that has no space :
Because we fight, and battles gain;
Some captives call, and say," the rest are slain:"
And, like Egyptian chroniclers,
That really we live:
Whilst all these shadows, that for things we
Are but the empty dreams which in Death's sleep we make.
For, though I'ave too much cause to doubt it, But these fantastic errours of our dream
I fain would try for once if life can live with
Lead us to solid wrong;
We pray God our friends' torments to prolong,
To be as long a dying as Methusalem.
We seek to close and plaister up by art
THE XXXIVth CHAPTER OF THE