網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

In brief fententious précepts while they treat
Of fate and chance, and change in human life;
High actions, and high passions best defcribing:
Thence to the famous Orators repair,
Those ancient, whose refiftless eloquence.
Wielded at will that fierce Democratie,
Shook ch’Arsenal and fulmin'd over Greece;
To Macedon, and Artaxerxes Throne;
To fage Philosophy next lend thine ear,
From Heav'n descended to the low-roofc house
Of Socrates, see there his Tenement,
Whom well inspir'd the Oracle pronounc'd
Wisest of men; from whose mouth issu'd forth
Mellifluous streams that water'd all the Schools
Of Academics old and new; with those
Sirnam'd Peripateticks, and the Seet
Epicurean, and the Stoic severe;
These here revolve, or, as thou lik'st, at home;
Till time mature thee to a Kingdom's weight;
These rules will render thee a King compleat
Within thy self, much more with Empire join'd.

To whom our Saviour sagely thus reply'd. Think not, but that I know these things, or think

I

I know them not; not therefore am I forc
Of knowing what I aụght; he who receives
Light from above, from the fountain of light,
No other doctrine needs, though granted true;
But these are false,' or little else but dreams,
Conjectures, fancies, built on nothing firm.
The first and wisest of them all profess’d
To know this only, that he nothing knew;
The next to fabling fell and smooth conceits,
A third sort doubted all things, though plain sense;
Others in virtue plac'd felicity,
But virtue join'd with riches and long life,
In corporal pleasure he, and careless case,
The Stoic last in Philosophic pride,
By him call?d virtue; and his virtuous many
Wise, perfect in himself, and all possessing
Equal to God, oft shames not to prefer,
As fearing God nor man, contemning all
Wealth, pleasure, pain or torment, death and life,
Which when he lifts, he leaves, or boasts he can,
For all his tedious talk is but vain boast,
Or subtle shifts conviction to evade.
Alas what can they teach, and not miss-lead;
|

Ignoranc

[ocr errors]

Ignorant of themselves, of God much more,
And how the world began, and how man fell
Degraded by himself, on grace depending?
Much of the Soul they talk, but all awry,
And in themselves feek virtue, and to themselves
All glory arrogate, to God give none,
Rather accuse him under usual names,
Fortune and Fate, as one regardless quite
Of mortal things. Who therefore feeks in these
True wisdom, finds her not, or by delusion
Far worse, her false resemblance only meets,
An empty cloud. However many books
Wise men have said are wearisom; who reads
Incessantly, and to his reading brings not
A spirit and judgment equal or superior,
(And what he brings, what need he elsewhere seek)
Uncertain and unsettled still remains,
Deep verst in books and shallow in himself,
Crude or intoxicate, collecting toys,
And trifles for choice matters, worth a spunge;
As Children gath’ring pibles on the shore.
Or if I would delight my private hours
With Musick or with Poem, where so foon

As

As in our native Language can I find That solace? All our Law and Story strew'd * With Hysens,our Pfalmis wich artful terms inscribid, Our Hebrew Songs and Harps.in Babylon, That pleas'd so well our Vi&ors ear, declare That rather Greece from us these arts deriy'd; Ill imitated, while they loudest sing The vices of their Deities, and their own In Fable, Hymn, or Song, fó personating Their Gods ridiculous; and themselves past shame. Remove their swelling Epithetes thick laid As varnish on a Harlot's cheek, the rest, Thin fown with aught of profit or delight; Will far be found unworthy to compare With Siön's songs, to all true tafts excelling, Where God is prais'd aright, and God-like men, The Holieft of Holies, and his Saints; Such are from God inspird, not such from thec; Unless where moral virtue is express'd

av By: light of Nature not in all quite loft. Their Orators thou then extoll'st; as thofe The top

of Eloquence; Statists indeed, ". And lovers of cheid Country, as may seem,

G

But

But herein to our Prophets far beneath,
As men divinely taught, and better teaching
The folid rules of Civil Government
In their Majestic unaffected stile
Than all the Oratory of Greece and Rome.
In them is plainest taught, and easiest learnt, .
What makes a Nation happy, and keeps it so,
What ruins Kingdoms, and lays Cities flat;
These only with our Law best form a King.

So spake the Son of God; but Satan now
Quite at a loss, for all his darts were spent,
Thus to our Saviour with stern brow reply'd.

Since neither wealth, nor honour, arms nor arts, Kingdom nor Empire pleases thee, nor aught. By me propos'd in life contemplative, Or active, tended on by glory, or fame, What dost thou in this World? the Wilderness For thee is fittest place, I found thee there, And thither will return thee, yet remember What I foretel thee, soon thou shalt have caufe: To wish thou never hadît rejected thus Nicely or cautiously my offer'd aid, Which would have set thee in Mort time with ease

On

« 上一頁繼續 »