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likewise garnished. Amongst which I read that in the year 1444, by a tempest of thunder and lightning, on the first of February at night, Paul's steeple was fired, but with great labour quenched. And towards the morning of Candlemas day, at the Leaden ball in Cornhill, a standard of a tree being set up in the midst of the pavement fast to the ground, nailed full of helm and ivy for disport to the people, was torn up and cast down by the malignant spirit (as was thought), and the stones of the pavement all about were cast in the streets and into divers houses, so that the people were sore aghast at the great tempest.


"In the week before Easter there were great shews made for the fetching in of a twisted tree out of the woods into the king's house, and the like into every man's house of honour or worship.

"In the month of May, namely on May-day in the morning, every man without impedi ment would walk into the sweet meadows and grecu woods, there to rejoice their spirits with the beauty and savour of sweet flowers, and with the harmony of birds praising God in their kind. And for example here Edward Hall hath noted, that King Henry VIII. in the

THIS marble boasts what once was truly great,
The friend of man, the father of his state,
To check ambition in its wild career,
To wipe from misery's eye the starting tear;
By well-plann'd laws oppression to controul;
By kindest deeds to captivate the soul;
Steru justice' sword to guide with mercy's

And guard the freedom of a glorious land; These were his acts-these Heav'n approv'd, and shed

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third year of his reign, and divers other years
on May-day in the morning, with Queen Ka-
tharine his wife, accompanied with many lords
and ladies, rode a Maying from Greenwich to
the high ground of Shooter's-hill, where as
they passed by the way they espied a company
of tall yeomen clothed all in green,
with green
hoods, and with bows and arrows, to the num.
ber of two hundred. One being their chieftain
was called Robin Hood, who required the King
and all his company to see his men shoot;
which being granted, Robin Hood whistled,
and all the two hundred archers shot off all
at ouce, and when he whistled again they like-
wise shot again, and their arrows whistled by
so that the noise was strange and loud, which
greatly delighted the King, Queen, and their


Unnumber'd blessings on his hoary head.
Fore'd into arms, he stretch'd his generous

Wide as the sun extends his genial ray;
Yet saw (blest privilege) his Britons share
The smiles of peace amidst the rage of war;
Saw to his shores increasing commerce roll,
And floods of wealth flow in from either pole;
Warm'd by his influence, by his bounty fed,
Saw science raise her venerable head;
While at his fect expiring faction lay,
No contest left, but who should best obey:
Saw in his offspring all himself renewed,
The same fair path of glory still pursued:


"Moreover, this Robin Hood desired the King and Queen, with their retinue, to enter the green wood, where, in arbours made with boughs and decked with flowers, they were sat down and served plentifully with venison and wine by Robin Hood and his men, and had other pageants and pastimes to their great entertainment."

Saw to young George, Augusta's cares împart
Whate'er could raise or harmonize the heart;
Blend all his graudsire's virtues with his own,
And form their mingled radiance for the throne.
No further blessing could on earth be giv'n,
The next degree of happiness was-Heav'u.



How grateful is the tender kiss,
No feast on earth so rich as this!
Slander be dumb, pale envy fly,
And self-corroding jealousy
For once be tranquil, and agree
The prize well won by constancy.
To Mary dear my vows I gave→
Vows which no other fair shall have;
For her I cross'd the ocean wide--
For her these many years I've sigh'd:
At length I've gain'd-Heav'n knows how gład
The sweetest kiss I ever had.

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Thus anxious thoughts in endless circles roll, || If sheep and oxen could atone for men,
Without a centre where to fix the soul:
In this wild maze their vain endeavours end:
How can the less the greater comprehend?
Or finite reason reach Infinity?

Ah! at how cheap a rate the rich might sia!
And great oppressors might Heaven's wrath

For what could fathom God were more than

The Deist thinks he stands on firmer ground;
Cries supna the mighty secret's found:
God is that spring of good; supreme, and best,
We made to serve, and in that service blest.
If so, some rules of worship must be given,
Distributed alike to all by Heaven:
Else God was partial, and to some denied
The means his justice should for all provide.
This gen'ral worship is to praise and pray;
One part to borrow blessings, one to pay :
And when frail nature slides into offence,
The sacrifice for crimes is penitence.
Yet, since the effects of Providence, we find,
Are variously dispens'd to human kind;
That vice triumphs, and virtue suffers here,
A brand that sov 'reigu justice cannot bear;
Our reason prompts us to a future state,
The last appeal from fortune and from fate;
Where God's all-righteous ways will be de-

The bad meet punishment, the good reward.
Thus man by his own strength to Heaven
would soar;

And would not be obliged to God for more.
Vain wretched creature! how art thou misled,
To think thy wit these godlike notions bred!
These truths are not the product of thy mind,
But dropt from heaven, and of a nobler. kind.
Reveal'd religion first inform'd thy sight,
And reason saw not till faith sprung the light.
Hence all thy nat'ral worship takes the source;
'Tis revelation, what thou think'st discourse.
Else how com'st thou to see these truths so

Which so obscure to heathens did appear?
Not Plato these, nor Aristotle found;
Nor he whose wisdom oracles renown'd.
Hast thou a wit so deep, or so sublime,
Or canst thou lower dive, or higher climb ;
Canst thou by reason more of godhead know
Than Plutarch, Seneca, or Cicero ?
Those giant wits in happier ages born,
When arms and arts did Greece and Rome

By offering his own creatures for a spoil!

Dar'st thou, poor worm, offend Infinity?
And must the terms of peace be given by thee?
Then thou art justice in the last appeal;
Thy easy God instructs thee to rebel ;

|| And like a king, remote and weak, must take
What satisfaction thou art pleas'd to make.

But if there be a pow'r too just and strong
To wink at crimes, and bear unpunish'd wrong,
Look humbly upward, see his will disclose
The forfeit first, and then the fine impose;
A mulct thy poverty could never pay,
Had not eternal wisdom found the way,
And with celestial wealth supplied thy store;
His justice makes the fine, his mercy quits the


See God descending in thy human frame;
Th' offended suffering in th' offender's name;
All thy misdeeds to him imputed see,
And all his righteousness devolv'd on thee.
For, granting we have sinn'd, and that th


Of man is made against Omnipotence,
Some price that bears proportion must be paid;
And infinite with infinite be weigh'd.
See then the Deist lost; remorse for vice,
Not paid; or, paid, inadequate in price:
What farther means can reason now direct,
Or what relief from human wit expect?
That shews us sick; and sadly are we sure
Still to be sick, till Heaven reveal the cure:
If then Heaven's will must needs be under
Which must, if we want cure, and Heaven be
Let all records of will reveal'd be shewn;
With scripture all in equal balance thrown,
And our one sacred book will be that one.
Proof needs not here: for whether we com-


That impious idle superstitious ware
Of rites, lustrations, off'rings which before,
In various ages, various countries bore,
With Christian faith and virtues; we shall find
None answ'ring the great ends of human kiud,
But this one rule of life, that shews us best
How God may be appeas'd, and mortals blest.
Whether from length of time its worth wedraw,

Knew no such system: no such piles could The word is scarce more ancient than the law;
Heaven's early care prescrib'd for ev'ry age;
First in the soul, and after in the page.
Or whether more abstractedly we look,
Or on the writers, or the written book,
Whence, but from Heaven, could men unskill'd
in arts,

Ofnat'ral worship built on prayer and praise
To one sole God.

Nor did remorse to expiate sin prescribe;
But slew their fellow-creatures for a bribe :
The guiltless victim groan'd for their offence;
And cruelty and blood were penitence.

In several ages born, in sev'ral parts,

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Religio Laici.]

Weave such agreeing truths? or how, or why, Should all conspire to cheat us with a lye;" Unask'd their pains, ungrateful their advice, Starving their gain, and martyrdom their price.

If on the book itself we cast our view,
Concurrent heathens prove the story true;
The doctrine, miracles; which must convince;
For heaven in them appeals to human sense;
And tho' they prove not, they confirm the

When what is taught agrees with nature's laws.
Then for the style, majestic and divine,
It speaks no less than God in ev'ry line ;
Commanding words; whose force is still the


As the first fiat that produc'd our frame.
All faiths beside or did by arms ascend,
Or since indulg'd has made mankind theirfriend,
This only doctrine does our lusts oppose,
Unfed by nature's soil, in which it grows;
Cross to our int'rests, curbing sense and sin :
Oppress'd without, and undermin'd within,
It thrives thro' 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 supernat❜ral worship can be true; Because a gen'ral law is that alone Which must to all, and ev'ry where be known : A style so large as not this book can claim, Nor aught that bears reveal'd religion's name. 'Tis said, the sound of a Messiah's birth Is gone thro' all the habitable earth; But still that text must be confin'd alone To what was then inhabited and known: And what provisions could from thence accrue To Indian souls, and worlds discover'd new? In other parts it helps, that ages past, The Scriptures there were known, and were embrac'd

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[DRYDEN. 191

Who knows what reasons may his mercy lead;
Or ignorance invincible may plead?
Not only charity bids hope the best,

But more the great apostle has express'd :
"That if the Gentiles, whom uo law inspir'd,
By nature did what was by la 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


Has hid 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


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?

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


Liv'd up, and lifted high their natʼral 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; For 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 he 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; Or else conclude that, Arius to confute, The good old man, too eager in dispute, Flew high; and as his Christian fury rose Damn'd all for heretics who durst oppose.

Thus far my charity this path has tried; A much unskilful, but well-meaning guide: Yet what they are, e'en these crude thoughts were bred,

By reading that which better thou had read. Thy matchless author's work; which thou my friend,

By well translating better dost commend; Those youthful hours which of thy equals


In toys have squander'd, or in vice have lost;
Those hours hast thou to nobler use employ'd,
And the severe delights of truth enjoy'd.
Witness this weighty book, in which appears
The crabbed toil of many thoughtful years,
Spent by thy author, in the sifting care
Of rabbins old sophisticated ware
From gold divine; which he who well can sort
May afterwards make algebra a sport.
A treasure, which if country curates buy,
They Junius and Tremellius may defy;
Save pains in various readings and translations;
And without Hebrew make most learn'd quo-

A work so full with various learning fraught, So nicely ponder'd, yet so strongly wrought, As nature's height and art's last hand re


As much as man could compass, uninspir'd:

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Where we may see what errors have been made Both in the copyer's and translator's trade; How Jewish, Popish int'rests have prevail'd, And where infallibility has fail'd.

For some, who have his secret meaning guess'd,

Have found our author not too much a priest :
For fashion's sake he seems to have recourse
To Pope, and councils, and tradition's force:
But he that old traditions could subdue,
Could not but find the weakness of the new :
If Scripture, tho' deriv'd from heav'nly birth,
Has been but carelessly preserv'd on earth;
If God's own people, who of God before
Knew what we know, and had been promis'd


In fuller terms of heav'n' assisting care,
And who did neither time nor study spare,
To keep this book untainted, unperplex'd,
Let in gross errors to corrupt the text,
Omitted paragraphs, embroil'd the sense,
With vaiu traditions stopt the gaping fence,
Which ev'ry common hand pull'd up with ease,
What safety from such brushwood-helps as

If written words from time are not secur'd, How can we think have oral sounds endur'd? Which thus transmitted, if one mouth bas fail'd,

Immortal lyes on ages are entail'd: And that some such have been, is prov'd too plain,

If we consider int'rest, church, and gain.

O but, says one, tradition set aside, Where can we hope for an unerring guide? For since th' original Scripture has been lost, All copies disagreeing, maim'd the most, Or Christian faith can have uo certain ground, Or truth in church tradition must be found.

Such an omniscient church we wish indeed; 'Twere worth both Testaments; cast in the creed:

If others in the same glass better see,
'Tis for themselves they look, but not for me:
For my salvation must its doom receive,
Not from what others, but what I believe.

Must all tradition then be set aside?
This to affirm, were ignorance and pride.
Are there not many points, some needful sure
To saving faith, that Scripture leaves obscure?
Which ev'ry sect will wrest a sev'ral way;
For what one sect interprets all sects may:
We hold, and say we prove from Scripture

That Christ is God; the bold Socinian From the same Scripture urges he's but man. Now what appeal can end th’important suit? Both parts talk loudly, but the rule is mute.

Shall I speak plain, and in a nation free
Assume an honest layman's liberty?
I think, according to my little skill,
To my own mother church submitting still,
That many have been saved, and many may,
Who never heard this question brought in

Th' unletter'd Christian, who believes in gross,
Plods on to heav'n, and ne'er is at a loss:
For the strait gate would be made straiter yet,
Were none admitted there but men of wit.
The few by nature form'd, with learning

But if this mother be a guide so sure
As can all doubts resolve, and truth secure,
Then her infallibility, as well
Where copies are corrupt or fame, can tell;
Restore lost canons with as little paius,
As truly explicate what still remains :
Which yet no council dare pretend to do;
Unless, like Esdras, they could write it new:
Strange confidence still to interpret true,
Yet not be sure that all they have explain'd
Is in the blest original contain'd.
More safe, and much more modest, 'tis to say,
God would not leave mankind without a way:
And that the scriptures, tho' not ev'ry where
Free from corruption, or entire or clear,
Are uncorrupt, sufficient, clear, entire,
In all things which our needful faith require.

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Born to instruct, as others to be taught, Must study well the sacred page; and see Which doctrine, this or that, does best agree With the whole tenor of the work divine, And plainliest points to Heaven's reveal'd design?

Which exposition flows from genuine sense,
And which is forc'd by wit and eloquence,
Not that tradition's parts are useless here;
When gen`ral, old, disiut'rested, and clear;
That ancient fathers thus expound the page.
Gives truth the reverend majesty of age;
Confirms its force by 'biding ev'ry test;
For best authorities next rules are best.
And still the nearer to the spring we go,
More limpid, more unsoil'd, the waters flow.
Thus first traditions were a proof alone;
Could we be certain, such they were, so known
But since some flaws in long descent may be,
They make not truth but probability.
E'en Arius and Pelagius durst provoke
To what the centuries preceding spoke.
Such difference is there in an oft-told tale:
But truth by its own sinews will prevail.
Tradition written therefore more commends
Authority, than what from voice descends:
And this as perfect as its kind can be,
Rells down to us the sacred history:
Which from the universal church receiv'd,
Is tried, and after for itself believ'd.

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