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But, lastly, time, perhaps, at last hath pow'r"
To spend her lively pow'rs, and quench her light;
But old god Saturn, which doth all devour,
Doth cherish her, and still augment her might.
Heav'n waxeth old, and all the spheres above
Shall one day faint, and their swift motion stay;
And time itself, in time shall cease to move;
Only the soul survives, and lives for ay.
“Our bodies, ev’ry footstep that they make,
March towards death, until at last they die:
Whether we work or play, or sleep, or wake,
Our life doth pass, and with Time’s wings doth
But to the soul, time doth perfection give,
And adds fresh lustre to her beauty still;
And makes her in eternal youth to live,
Like her which nectar to the gods doth fill.
The more she lives, the more she feeds on truth;
The more she feeds, her strength doth more in-
And what is strength, but an effect of youth,
Which if time nurse, how can it ever cease?
o B.J Ections AGAINST THE IMMoRTALITY of THE soul, with THEIR RESPECTIVE ANSWERS.
But now these Epicures begin to smile,
And say, my doctrine is more safe than true ;
And that I fondly do myself beguile,
While these receiv'd opinions I ensue.
For, what, say they doth not the soul wax old
How comes it then that aged men do dote;
And that their brains grow sottish, dull and cold,
Which were in youth the only spirits of note *
What? are not souls within themselves corrupted to
How can their idiots then by nature be
How is it that some wits are interrupted,
That now they dazzled are, now clearly see *
These questions make a subtil argument
To such as think both sense and reason one;
To whom nor agent, from the instrument,
Nor pow'r of working, from the work is known.
But they that know that wit can show no skill,
But when the things in sense’s glass doth view.
Do know, if accident this glass do spill,
It nothing sees, or sees the false for true.
For, if that region of the tender brain,
Where th’ inward sense of fantasy should sit,
And th’ outward senses, gath’rings should retain;
By nature, or by chance, become unfit:
Either at first uncapable it is,
And so few things, or none at all, receives;
Or marr'd by accident, which haps amiss:
And so amiss it ev'rything perceives.
Then, as a cunning prince that useth spies,
If they return no news, doth nothing know;
But if they make advertisement of lies,
The prince’s counsels all awry do go :
Ev’n so the soul to such a body knit,
Whose inward senses undisposed be;
And to receive the forms of things unfit,
Where nothing is brought in, can nothing see.
This makes the idiot, which hath yet a mind,
Able to know the truth, and choose the good;
If she such figures in the brain did find,
As might be found, if it in temper stood.
But if a frensy do possess the brain,
It so disturbs and blots the forms of things,
As fantasy proves altogether vain,
And to the wit no true relation brings.
Then doth the wit, admitting all for true,
Build fond conclusions on those idle grounds:
Then doth it fly the good, and ill pursue;
Believing all that this false spy propounds.
But purge the humours, and the rage appease,
Which this distemper in the fancy wrought;
Then shall the wit, which never had disease,
Discourse, and judge discreetly, as it ought.
So, though the clouds eclipse the Sun's fair light,
Yet from his face they do not take one beam;
So have our eyes their perfect pow'r of sight,
Ev’n when they look into a troubled stream.
Then these defects in sense’s organs be,
Not in the soul, or in her working might:
She cannot lose her perfect pow'r to see, [light.
Though mists and clouds do choke her window
These imperfections then we must impute,
Not to the agent, but the instrument:
We must not blame Apollo, but his lute,
If false accords from her false strings be sent.
The soul in all hath one intelligence;
Though too much moisture in an infant’s brain,
And too much dryness in an old man’s sense,
Cannot the prints of outward things retain :
Then doth the soul want work, and idle sit,
And this we childishness and dotage call;
Yet hath she then a quick and active wit,
If she had stuff and tools to work withal:
For, give her organs fit, and objects fair:
Give but the aged man the young man’s sense;
Let but Medea AEson's youth repair,
And straight she shows her wonted excellence.
As a good harper stricken far in years,
Into whose cunning hands the gout doth fall,
All his old crotchets in his brain he bears,
But on his harp plays ill, or not at all.
But if Apollo takes his gout away,
That he his nimble fingers may apply;
Apollo's self will envy at his play,
And all the world applaud his minstrelsy.
Then dotage is no weakness of the mind,
But of the sense; for if the mind did waste,
In all old men we should this wasting find,
When they some certain term of years had pass'd,
But most of them, e'en to their dying hour,
Retain a mind more lively, quick, and strong;
And better use their understanding pow'r,
Than when their brains were warm, and limbs
For, though the body wasted be and weak,
And though the leaden form of earth it bears;
Yet when we hear that half dead body speak,
We oft are ravish'd to the heav'nly spheres.
Yet say these men, if all her organs die,
Then hath the soul no pow'r her pow'rs to use
So, in a sort, her pow'rs extinct do lie,
When unto act she cannot them reduce.