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A calf an alderman, a goose a justice, And rooks committee-men and trustees. He'd run in debt by disputation, And pay with ratiocination: All this by syllogism, true In mood and figure he would do. For rhetoric, he could not ope His mouth, but out there flew a trope; And when he happened to break off l' the middle of his speech, or cough, He had hard words, ready to show why, And tell what rules he did it by : Else, when with greatest art he spoke, You'd think he talked like other folk; For all a rhetorician's rules Teach nothing but to name his tools.
RELIGION OF HUDIBRAS.
He was of that stubborn crew
As if religion were intended
This sword a dagger had his page, That was but little for his age; And therefore waited on him so As dwarfs upon knights-errant do: It was a serviceable dudgeon, Either for fighting, or for drudging : When it nad stabbed or broke a head, It would scrape trenchers, or chip bread; Toast cheese or bacon, though it were To bait a mouse-trap, would not care: 'T would make clean shoes, and in the earth Set leeks and onions, and so forth: It had been 'prentice to a brewer, Where this and more it did endure, But left the trade, as many more Have lately done on the same score.
No English poet of distinction is marked by greater inequalities than John DRYDEN. He was a man of superior genius, whose opinions hung somewhat loosely about him, and coming into notice at a time when a vicious taste in poetry prevailed, he took the lead in all the literary sins of his age. He gained thereby an immediate reputation which was almost unbounded; but in the “sober second thought” of posterity, he is regarded only as the first of our second-rate poets. He was engaged in active authorship for nearly half a century. During this time a decided revolution in the public taste took place. As might be expected from the character of the man, his last poems are his best. He who, on the restoration of the dissolute Charles, had been a writer of plays marked by their licentiousness even in that licentious age, became under William a profound and able inculcator of morals and religion. The difference in the moral tone of his writings is not greater than their difference as to literary merit. The subjects which first engaged his attention, do not seem to be those for which he was by nature fitted; and as he imitated false models of style, his very genius served to make those faults more glaring. It was not till late in life that he found where his forte lay. He had a strong masculine understanding and an unbounded command of language, and, with perhaps the exception
of Pope, has succeeded better than any other English poet, in the difficult art of reasoning in verse. The same qualities which fitted him for serious didactic poetry, contributed to the success which attended all his efforts as a writer of satire.
His writings, both in prose and verse, are exceedingly numerous. A complete edition of them was published a few years since, with a .copious life by Sir Walter Scott, the whole extending to eighteen volumes.
Dryden was born in 1631, and died in 1700.
ARGUMENT FOR REVEALED RELIGION.
(From Religio Laici.)
Dim as the borrowed beams of moon and stars
Or various atoms' interfering dance
little accident destroyed :
The Deist thinks he stands on firmer ground; Cries 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 were partial, and to some denied The means his justice should for all provide.