Page images
PDF
EPUB

conscience came abroad: which if I had so foon expećted, I might have spared myself the labour of writing many things which are contained in the third part of it. But I was always in some hope, that the church of England might have been periuaded to have taken off the penal laws and the test, which was one design of the poem, when I proposed to myself the writing of it.

It is evident that some part of it was only occasional, and not first intended : I mean that defence of myself, to which every honest man is bound, when he is injuriously attacked in print: and I refer myself to the judgment of those, who have read the Answer to the defence of the late king's papers, and that of the dutchess (in which last I was concerned) how charitably I have been represented there. I am now informed both of the author and supervisors of this pamphlet, and will reply, when I think he can affront me : for I am of Socrates's opinion, that all creatures cannot. In the inean time let him consider whether he deserved not a more fevere reprehenfion, than I gave him formerly, for using so little respect to the memory of those, whom he pretended to answer ; and at his leisure, look out for some original treatise of humility, written by any Pro-, testant in English ; I believe I may say in any other tongue : for the magnified piece of Duncomb on that fubje&t, which either he must mean, or none, and with which another of his fellows has' upbraided me, was tranflaied from the Spanish of Rólriguez; though with 'the omillion of the seventeenth, the twenty-fourth, the

5

twenty

[ocr errors]

twenty-fifth, and the last chapter, which will be found in comparing of the books.

He would have infinuated to the world, that her late highness died not a Roman Catholic. He declares himself to be now satisfied to the contrary, in which he has given up the cause : for matter of fact was the principal debate betwixt us. In the mean time, he would dispute the motives of her change; how prapofterously, let all men judge, when he seemed to deny the subject of the controversy, the change itfelf. And because I would not take up this ridiculous challenge, he tells the world I cannot argue : but he may as well infer, that a Catholic cinnot fast, because he will not take up the cudgels against Mrs. James, to confute the Protestant religion.

I have but one word more to say concerning the poem as such, and abstracted from the matters, either religious or civil, which are handled in it. The first part, consisting most in general characters and narration, I have endeavoured to raise, and give it the majestic turn of heroic poesy. The second, being matter of dispute, and chicfly concerning church authority, I was obliged to make as plain and perfpicuous as possibly I could; yet not wholly neglecting the numbers, though I had not frequent occafions for the magnificence of verse. The third, which has more of the nature of domeftic conversation, is, or ought to be, more free and familiar than the two former.

There are in it two episodes, or fables, which are interwoven with the main design; fo that they are pro

B4

perly

perly parts of it, though they are also distinct stories of themselves. In both of these I have made use of the common-places of satire, whether true or false, which are urged by the members of the one church against the other : at which I hope no reader of either party will be scandalized, because they are not of my invention, but as old, to my knowledge, as the times of Boccace and Chaucer on the one side, and as those of the Reformation on the other.

THE HIND AND THE PANTHER.

A Milk-white Hind, immortal and

unchanga,

Fed on the lawns, and in the forest rang'd;
Without unspotted, innocent within,
She fear'd no danger, for she knew no sin.
Yet had she oft been chas'd with horns and hounds,
And Scythian shafts ; and many winged wounds
Aim'd at her heart; was often forc'd to fly,
And doom'd to death though fated nat to die.

Not fo her young; for their unequaNine
Was hero's make, half human, half divine.
Their earthly mold obnoxious was to fate,
Th’immortal part assum'd immortal state.
Of these a Naughter'd army lay in blood,
Extended o'er the Caledonian wood,
Their native walk; whose vocal blood arose,
And cry'd for pardon on their perjur'd foes.
Their fate was fruitful, and the sanguine seed,
Endued with souls, increas'd the sacred breed,

So captive Israel multiply'd in chains,
A numerous exile, and enjoy'd her pains.
With grief and gladness mix'd, the mother view'd
Her martyr'd offspring, and their race renew'd;
Their corps to perish, but their kind to last,
So much the deathless plant the dying fruit surpass’d.

Panting and pensive now she rang’d alone,
And wander'd in the kingdoms, once her own.
The common hunt, though from their rage

restrain'd By sovereign power

her
company

disdaind;
Grinn'd as they pass’d, and with a glaring eye
Gave gloomy signs of secret enmity.
'Tis true, the bounded by, and trip'd so light,
They had not time to take a steady light.
For truth has such a face and such a mien,
As to be lov'd needs only to be seen.

The bloody bear, an independent beast,
Unlick'd to form, in groans her hate exprest.
Among the timorous kind the quaking hare
Profess’d neutrality, but would not swear.
Next her the buffoon ape, as atheists use,
Mimick'd all feets, and had his own to chufe:
Still when the lion look’d, his knees he bent,
And paid at church a courtier's compliment.
The bristled baptist boar, impure as he,
But whiten'd with the foam of fanctity,
With fat pollutions fill'd the facred place,
And mourtains level'd in his furious race :
So first rebellion founded was in grace.

But

}

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

But since the mighty ravage, which he made
In German forests, had his guilt betray'd,
With broken tusks, and with a borrow'd name,
He shun’d the vengeance, and conceal’d the shame;
So lurk'd in sects unseen. With greater guile
False Reynard fed on consecrated spoil:
The graceless beast by Athanasius first
Was chas'd from Nice, then by Socinus nurs'd :
His impious race their blasphemy renew'd,
And nature's king through nature's optics viewod.
Revers’d they view'd him lessen'd to their eye,
Nor in an infant could a God descry.
New swarming fects to this obliquely tend,
Hence they began, and here they all will end,

What weight of antient witness can prevail,
If private reason hold the public scale ?
But, gracious God, how well dost thou provide
For erring judgments an unerring guide!
Thy throne is darkness in th' abyss of light,
A blaze of glory that forbids the fight.
O teach me to believe thee thus conceal'd,
And search no farther than thyself reveal’d;
But her alone for my director take,
Whom thou hast promis'd never to forsake !
My thoughtless youth was wing’d with vain desires,
My manhood, long milled by wandering fires,
Follow'd false lights; and, when their glimpse was gone;
My pride struck out new sparkles of her own.
Such was I, such by nature still I am;
Be thine the glory, and be mine the same.

Good

« PreviousContinue »