« PreviousContinue »
Old Ægeus only could revive his son,
With sober pace they march'd, and often staid, Who various changes of the world had known: And through the inafter - ftreet the corpse And strange viciflıudes of human fate,
convey'd. Still alt'ring, never in a steady state;
The houses to their tops with black were sprcad, Good after ill, and after pain delight;
And ev’n the paveinents were with mourning hid. Alternate, like the scenes of day and night: The right side of the pall old Ægeus kept; Since ev'ry man who lives is born to die, And on the left the royal Theteus wept; And none can boast sincere felicity,
Each bore a golden bowl of work divine, With equal mind what happens let us bear, With honey fillid, and milk, and mix'd with Nor joy nor grieve too much for things beyond
Then Palamon, the kinsinan of the sain,
And mountain ath, the mother of the Spear;
And laurels, which the Gods for conqu’ring
Nor how the dryads, or the woodland train,
In midst of which, einbalm’d, the body lay.
This office done, the funk upon the ground;
While the devouring fire was burning fast,
[knight. Were pour'd upon the pile of burning wood, And cover'd with th’atchievements of the And hilfing Aaines receive, and, hungry, lick The riders rode abreatt, and one his shield;
the food. His lance of cornel-wood another held;
Then thrice the mounted squadrons ride around Tirthird his bow, and, glorious to behold, The fire, and Arcite's name they tbrice resound; The coftly quiver, all of burnish'd gold. Hail! and Farewell! they shouted thrice amain; The no left of the Grecians next appear, Thrice facing to the left, and thrice they turn'd andy weeping, or their thoulders bore the bier; again.
Suilt as they turn'd, they beat their clatt'ring This lawth'Omniscient Pow'r was pleas’d to give, thields;
[the fields. That ev'ry kind 1hould by succeflion live: Tlie women mix their cries; and clamour fills That individuals die his will ordains; The warlike wakes continu'd all the night, The propagated species still remains. And fun'al yaines were play'd at new return The monarch oak, the patriarch of the trees, ing light.
Shoots rising up, and Ipreads by flow degrees; Who naked wrestled best, besmear'd with oil, Three centuries he grows, and three he stays, Or who with gauntlets gave or took the foil, Supreme in Itate, and in three more decays; I will not tell you, nor would you attend; So wears the paving pebble in the street, But briefly hastc to my long story's end. And towns and tow'rs their fatal periods meet.
I pais the rest; the year was fully mourn'd, So rivers, rapid once, now naked lie, Ani Palamon long since to Thebes return'd: Forsaken of their springs, and leave their chan-When, by the Grecians general consent, At Athens Thcfcus held bis parliament: So man, at first a drop, dilates with hear, Among the laws that pats’d, it was decreed, Then, form’d, the little heart begins to beat; That conquer'd Thebes from bondage Should Secret he feeds, unknowing in the cell; be freed,
At length, for hatching ripe, he breaks the shell, Reserving homage to th’Athenian throne; And struggles into breath, and cries for aid ; To which the fov'reign fummond Palamon. Then, helpless, in his mother's lap is laid. Unknowing of the cause, he took his
Не creeps, he walks, and, issuing into man, Mournful in mind, and still in black array. Grudges their life from whence his own began; The monarch mounts the throne, and, plac'd | Reckless of laws, affects to rule alone, on high,
Anxious to reign, and restless on the throne ; Commands into the court the beauteous Emily. First vegctive, then feels, and reasons last; So call’d, she came; the senate rose, and paid Rich of three souls, and lives all three to waste. Becoming rev'rence to the royal maid.
Some thus; but thousands more in fow'r of
age ; And first lost whispers thro’ th’assembly went ; For few arrive to run the latter stage. With filcnt wonder then they watch'd th'cvent. Sunk in the first, in battle some are slain, All hush'd, the king arose with awful grace; And others whelm'd beneath the stormy main, Deep thought was in his brcast, and counsel in What makes all this, but Jupiter the king, his face.
At whose command we perith and we spring? At length he fighd; and, having first prepar'd Then 'tis our best, since thus ordain'd to die, Th’attentive audience, thus his will declar'd: To make a virtue of neceflity.
The cause and spriog of motion, from above, Take what he gives, since to rebel is vain; Hung down on carth the golden chain of love; The bad grows better, which we well sustain ; Great was th'effect, and high was his intent, And could we chuse the time, and chuse arighi, When peace among the jarring feeds he fent. 'Tis best to dic, our honour at the height. Fire, food, and carth, andair, by this were bound, When we have done our ancestors no Thame, And love, the common link, the now crcation But fervid our friends, and well secur'd our fame, crown'd.
Then should we wilh our happy life to close, The chain still holds, for, tho' the forms decay, ) 'And lcare no more for fortune to dispose. Eternal matter never wears away:
So should we make our death a glad relief The fame first Mover certain bounds has plac'd, From future shame, from fickness, and from grief, How long those perishable forms shall last: Enjoying while we live the prefent hour, Nor can they laft beyond the time allign'd And dying in our excellence and flow'r. By that all-fucing and all-making Mind: Then round our death-bed ev'ry friend should Shorten their hours they may; for will is free; And joyous of our conqucft early won; [run, But never pass th’appointed destiny:
While the malicious world, with envious tears So men opprefs’d, when weary of their breath, Should grudge our happy end, and with it theirs. Throw oil the burden, and suborn their death. Since then our Arcite is with honour dead, Then, fince thofe forms begin, and have theirend, Why should we mourn, that he fo foon is freed, On some unalter'd cause they sure depend : Or call untimely what the Gods decreede Parts of the whole are we; but God the whole, With grief as just a friend may be deplor'd, Who gives us life and animating foul ;
From a foul prison to free air. restor'd. For nature cannot from a part derive
Ought he to thank his kintinen or his wife, That being which the whole can only give: Could tears recal him into wretched life? He perfect, stable; but imperfect we,
Their forrow hurts thein selves; on hiin ’ris lost; Subject to change, and diff'rent in degree; And, worse than both, ofends his happy ghost. Plants, beasts, and man; and, as our organs are, What then remains, but, after paft annoy, We more or lefs of his perfection share. To take the good vicitlitude of joy? But by a long descent, th’etherial fire
To thank the gracious Gods for what they giver Corrupts ; and forms, the mortal part, expire. Posless our fouls, and, while we live, to live? As he withdraws his virtue, so they pass ; Ordain we then, two forrows to combine, And the same matter makes another mals. And in one point th’extreines of grief to join;
That thence resulting joy may be renew'd, Or various atoms, interfering dance,
Leap'd into form, the noble work of chance; Then I propose that Palamon shall be
Or this Great All was from eternity;
As blindly grop'd they for a future state;
But vanilh'd from them like enchanted ground. And take him for your husband and your lord, One thought content the good to be enjoy'd : 'Tis no difhonour to confer your grace
This very little accident deltroy'd : On one descended from a royal race ;
The wiser madmen did for virtue toil: And were he lcss, yet years of service past A thorny, or at best a barren foil : From grateful fouls exact reward at last. In pleasure fome their glutton fouls would steep; Pity is Heav'n's and yours ; nor can the find
But found their line too short, the well to deep; A throne to foft as in a woman's mind. And leaky vessels which no bliss could keep. He said ; she blush'd; and, as o'eraw'd by miglit, Thus anxious thoughts in endless circles roll, Seem'd to give Theseus what she gave the knight. Without a centre where to fix the soul : Then turning to the Theban, thus he said; - In this wild maze their vain endeavours end : Small arguments are needful to persuade
How can the less the greater comprchend ? Your temper to comply with my command; Or finite reason reach Infinity? And speaking thus, he gave Emilia's hand.
For what could fathom God were more than He. Smil'd Venus, to bchold her own true knight
The Deist thinks he atands on firmer ground; Obtain the conquest, cho' he lost the fight; Crics sügexa, the mighty fecret's found: And blets'd with nuptial bliss the tweet labo God is that spring of good; supreme, and best ; rious night.
We made to ferve, and in that fervice b!eft. Eros and Anteros on either side, [bride ; If so, foine rules of worship inust be giv'n, One fir'd the bridegroom, and one warm’d the Distributed alike to all by Hcav'n : And long attending Hymen, from above, Elic God were partial, and to some deny'd Show'r'd on the bed the whole Idalian grove. The means his justice should for all provide. All of a tenor was their after-life,
This gen’ral worship is to praise and pray. No day discolour'd with domestic strife; One part to borrow blessings, one to pay : No jealousy, hut mutual truth believ'd,
And when frail nature Nides into offence, Secure report, and kindness undeceiv'd. The sacrifice for crimes is penitence. Thus Heav'n, beyond the compass of his thought, Yet, since th'effects of providence, we find, Sent him the bleiling he so dearly bought. Are var'ously dispens'd to human kind :
So may the Queen of Love long duty bless, That vice triuinphs, and virtue suffers here, And all true lovers find the same fuccess. A brand that sov’reign justice cannot bear ,
Our reason prompts us to a future ftate:
Where God's all-righteous ways will be declar'd; $ 28. Religio Laici. DRYDEN.
The bad meet punishment, the good reward.
Thus man by his own strength to heav'n would
And would not be oblig'd to God for more. [foar; To lonely, weary, wand'ring travellers, To think thy wit these god-like notions bred ! Is reason to the foul; and as on high,
Thele truths are not the product of thy mind, Those rolling fires discover but the sky, But dropt from heav'n, and of a nobler kind. Not light us here, so reason's glimm'ring ray Reveal'd religion first inform’d thy light, Was led, not to allure our doubtful way, And rcason law not till faith sprung the light. But guide us upward to a better day.
Hence all thy nat'ral worship takes the fource ; And as thote nightly tapers difappear
'Tis revelation, what thou think it discourse. When day's bright lord afcends our hemisphere, Else how comm'lt thou to see thele truths to clear, So pale grows reafon at religion's sight;
Which obfcure to heathens did appear? So dies, and so dilsolves in fupernat'ral light. Not Plato thcle, nor Aristotle found; Some few, whole lamp thone brighter, have Nor he whole wisdom oracles renown'd. been led,
Haft thou a wit so dccp, or so sublime, From caufe to cause, to nature's secret head, Or canst thou lower dive, or higher cliinb : And found that one first principle must be ; Canst thou by reason inore of godhead know But what, or who, that universal He;
Than Plutarch, Seneca, or Cicero? Whether fome foul cncompatsing this ball,
Those giant wits in happier ages born, Unmade, uomor'd; yet making, moving all; When arms and arts did Greece and Roine adorn,
DIM as the borrow'd beams of moon and stars Vain wretched crcature, how art thou miled.
Knew no such Ivítem; no such piles could raise If on the book itself we cast our view,
The doctrine, miracles : which must convince, Nor did remorie to exp'ate sin prescribe ; For Hcay'n in them appeals to human sense ; But flew their fellow-creatures for a bribe; And tho’ they prove not, they confirm the cause, The guiltless việtiin groan'd for their offence; When what is taught agrees with nature's laws. And cruelty and blood was penitence.
Then for the style majestic and divine,
Dar'st thou, poor worm, offend Infinity? Or fente indulg'd has made mankind their friend ;
Cross to our int’rests, curbing sense
and fin; And, like a king remote and weak, must take Oppress’d without, and undermin’d within, What satisfaction thou art pleas'd to make. It thrives thro' pain ; its own tormentors tires ;
But if there be a pow'r too just and strong, And with a stubborn patience still aspires. To wink at crimes, and bear unpunilh'd wrong, To what can reason fuch effects affign Look humbly upward, see his will disclose Transcending nature, but to laws divine ; The forfeit firtt, and then the fine impose ; Which in that sacred volume are contain'd; A mulet thy poverty could never pay,
Susfcient, clear, and for that use ordain'd? Had pot eternal wisdom found the way,
But Itay; the Deist here will urge anew, And with celestial wealth supply'd thy store; No supernat’ral worship can be true ; His justice makes the fine, his mercy quits the Because a gen’ral law is that alone fcore.
Which must to all, and ev'ry where, be known: Sce God descending in thy human frame; A style fo large as not this book can claim, Th’offended suffering in th’offender's name; Nor aught that bears reveal'd religion's name. All thy misdeeds to him imputed fee,
'Tis faid, the found of a Metliah's birth And all his righteousness devolv'd on thee. Is gone thro' all the habitable earth;
For, granting we have finn’d, and that th’offence But still that text must be confind alone Of man is made against Omnipotence,
To what was then inhabited and known: Some price that bears proportion must be paid ; And what provision could from thence accrue And infinite with infinite be weigh'd.
To Indian souls, and worlds discover'd news See then the Deit loft; remorse for vice, In other parts it helps, that ages past, Not paid; or, paid, inadequate in price : The scriptures there were known, and were emWhat farther incans can realon now direct,
brac'd, Or what relief from human wit expect? Till fin spread once again the shades of night; That thews us sick; and fadly are we sure What's that to these, who never saw the light? Still to be fick, eill Heav'n reveal the cure: Of all objections this indeed is chief If then Heav'n's will inust needs be understood, To startlc reason, stagger frail belief; sensc Which must, if we wantcure, and Heav’n be good, We grant 'tis true, that Heav'n from human Let all records of will reveal'd be shown; Has hid the secret paths of providence ; With fcripture all in equal balance thrown, But boundless wisdom, boundles mercy, may And our one sacrcd book will be that one. Find, ev'n for those bewilder'd souls, a way;
Proof needs not here; for whether wecompare If from his nature focs may pity claim, [name. That impious, idle, fuperftitious ware
Much more may strangers who ne'er heard his Of rites, lustrations, off'rings, which before, And though no name be for salvation known, In various ages, various countries bore,
But that of his eternal Son's alone, With christian faith and virtues we thall and Who knows how far transcending goodnefs can None anfi'ring the great ends of human kind Extend the merits of that Son to man? But unis one rule of life, that shews us best Who knows what reasons may his mercy lead; How God may be appeas'd, and inortals blest. Or ignorance invincible may plead? Whether from length of time its worth we draw, Not only charity bids hope the best, The word is scarce more ancient than the law; But more the great apostle has exprest: Hċav’n’s earlv care prescrib'd for ev'ry age; “ That if the Gentiles, whom no law inspird, First in the foul, and after, in the page.
By nature did what was by law requir'd, Or, whether morc abstractediv we look, They, who the written rule had never known, Or on the writers, or the written book,
Were to themselves both rule and law alone: Whcuce, but from Heav'n, could men unskill'd To nature's plain imdictment they shall plead; In fev'ral ages born, in sev'ral parts, [in arts, And by their conscience be condemn'd or freed.". Weave such agreeing truths ? or how, or why, Most righteous dooin! because a rule reveal'd Should all confpire to cheat us with a lye? Is none to those from whom it was conceal'd. Unask'd their pains, ungrateful their advice, Then those who follow'd reason's dictates right, Starving their gain, and martyrdoin their price. Liv'd up, and lifted high their pat'ral light;
With Socrates may see their Maker's face, Which thus transmitted, if one mouth has fail'd,
And that some such have been, is prov'd too Th’Egyptian bishop of another mind;
plain, For though his creed eternal truth contains, If we consider int'reft, church, and gain. 'Tis hard for man to doom to endless pains O but, says one, tradition set aside, All who believ'd not all his zeal requir'd, Where can we hope for an unerring guide ? Unless he first could prove he was inspir'd ! For since th’original scripture has been loft, Then let us either think he meant to lay All copies disagreeing, maim'd the most, This faith, where publish'd, was the only way; Or christian faith can have no certain ground, Or else conclude that, Arius to confute,
Or truth in church-tradition mutt be found. The good old man, too eager in dispute,
Such an omniscient church we wjih indeed : Flew highs and as his christian fury rose, 'Twere worth both Testaments; cast in the creed: Damn'd all for heretics who durst oppofe. But if this mother be a guide to lure,
Thus far my charity this path has try'd; As can all doubts resolve, all truth secure, A much unskilful, but well-meaning guide : Then her infallibility, as well Yet what they are, ev’n these crude thoughts Where copies are corrupt or lame, can tell ; were bred
Refore lost canon with as little pains, By reading that which better thou hast read. As truly explicate what still remains: Thy 'matchless author's work; which thou, my Whichyet no council dare pretend to do; By well translating better dost commend; [friend, Unless, like Esdras, they could write it new : Those youthful hours which of thy equals most Strange confidence still to interpret true, In toys have squander'd, or in vice have lost, Yet not be sure that all they have explain'd Thole hours haft thou tu nobler use employ'd; Is in the bleít original contain’d. And the severe delights of truth enjoy'd. More safe, and inuch more modest 'tis, to say Witness this weighty book, in which appears
God would not leave mankind without a way, The crabbed toil of many thoughtful years, And that the scriptures tho' not ey'rywhere Spent by thy author, in the fifting care Free from corruption, or intire, or clear, of rabbins old sophisticated ware
Are uncorrupt, fufficient, clear, intire, From gold divine; which he who well can fort In all things which our needful faith require. May afterwards make algebra a sport.
If others in the same glats better sce, A treasure, which, if county-curates buy, 'Tis for themselves thcy look, but not for me i They Junius and Tremilius may defy;
For my falvation must its doom receive, Save pains in various readings, and translations, Not from what others, but what I believe. And, without Hebrew, make most learn'd quo Must all tradition then be set aside? tations.
This to affirm were ignorance or pride. A work so full with various learning fraught, Are there not many points, fome needful fure So nicely ponder'd, yet so strongly wrought, To saving faith, that fcripture leaves obscure As nature's height and art's last hand requir'd; Which ev'ry feet will wrest a fev'ral way; As much as man could compass, uninspir’d. For what one feet interprets, all fects may. Where we may see what errors have been made Wchold,and say we prove from fcripture plain, Both in the copyers and translators trade ; That Christ is God; the bold Socinian How Jewish, Popish, int'rests have prevail'd, From the fame fcripture urges he's but man. And where infallibility has fail'd.
Now what appeal can end th’important fuit? For some who have his secret meaning guess’d, Both parts talk loudly, but the rule is mute. Have found our author not too much a priest : Shall I speak plain, and in a nation free For fashion's fake he seems to have recourse Assume an honest layman's liberty? To pope, and councils, and tradition's force: I think, according to my little skill, But he that old traditions could subdue, To my own mother church submitting still, Could not but find the weakness of the new : That many have been fav’d, and many may, If scripture, cho' deriv'd from heav'nly birth, Who never heard this question brought in play. Has been but carelessly prefervid on earth; Th’unlctter'd Christian, who believes in gross, If God's own people, who of God before Plods on to heav'n; and ne'er is at a loss: Know what we know, and bad been promis'd For the straight gate would be made straighter In fuller terms of Heav'n's assisting care, [more,
yet, And who did neither time nor study spare Were none admitted there but men of wit. To keep this book untainted, unperplext, The few by nature forin'd, with learning fraught, Let in gross errors to corrupt the text,
Born to inftruét, as others to be taught, Omitted paragraphs, embroil'd the sense, Must study well the sacred page, and fee With vain traditions stopt the gaping fence, Which doctrine, this or that, does best agree Which ev'ry common hand pull'd up with ease, With the whole tenor of the work divine, What fafety from such brushwood-helps as thete: And plainliest points to Heav'n's reveald design; If written words from time are not secur'd, Which expolition flows from genuine fene; How can we think bave oral sounds endur'd? And which is forc'd by wit and cloquence.