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He could raise scruples dark and nice,
And after solve 'em in a trice;
As if Divinity had catched
The itch on purpose to be scratched;
Or, like a mountebank, did wound
And stab herself with doubts profound,
Only to show with how small pain
The sores of faith are cured again.
That stubborn crew Of errant saints whom all men grant To be the true Church Militant. Such as do build their faith upon The holy text of pike and gun; Decide all controversies by Infallible artillery ; And prove their doctrine orthodox With apostolic blows and knocks ; Call fire and sword and desolation A godly, thorough Reformation, Which always must be going on, And still be doing, never done, As if Religion were intended For nothing else but to be mended : A sect whose chief devotion lies In odd, perverse antipathies, In falling out with that or this And finding somewhat still amiss; More peevish, cross, and splenetic Than dog distract or monkey sick : That with more care keep holyday The wrong, than others the right way;
Compound for sins they are inclined to
By damning those they have no mind to.
Still so perverse and opposite
As if they worshipped God for spite,
The self-same thing they will abhor
One way and long another for ;
Freewill they one way disavow,
Another, nothing else allow ;
All piety consists therein
In them, in other men all sin.
Rather than fail they will defy
That which they love most tenderly ;
Quarrel with mince-pies, and disparage
Their best and dearest friend plum-porridge ;
Fat pig and goose itself oppose,
And blaspheme custard through the nose.
'Tis a dark lantern of the spirit,
Which none see by but those that bear it;
A light that falls down from on high,
For spiritual trades to cozen by ;
An ignis fatuus that bewitches
And leads men into pools and ditches,
To make them dip themselves, and sound
For Christendom in dirty pond ;
To dive like wildfowl for salvation,
And fish to catch regeneration.
Thou that with ale or viler liquors
Didst inspire Wither, Prynne, and Vickars,
And force them, though it was in spite
Of nature and their stars, to write ;
Who (as we find in sullen writs
And cross-grained works of modern wits)
With vanity, opinion, want,
The wonder of the ignorant,
The praises of the author, penned
By himself or wit-ensuring friend,
The itch of picture in the front
With bays and wicked rhymes upon't
(All that is left o' the Forked Hill
To make men scribble without skill),
Canst make a poet, spite of Fate,
And teach all people to translate
Though out of languages in which
They understand no part of speech.
Instead of trumpet and of drum
That makes the warrior's stomach come,
Whose noise whets valour sharp, like beer
By thunder turned to vinegar ;
For if a trumpet sound or drum beat
Who has not a month's mind to combat ?
HONOUR. He that is valiant and dares fight, Though drubbed, can lose no honour by 't. Honour 's a lease for lives to come, And cannot be extended from The legal tenant : 'Tis a chattel Not to be forfeited in battle. If he that in the field is slain Be in the bed of honour lain, He that is beaten may be said To lie in honour's truckle-bed. For as we see the eclipsed sun By mortals is more gazed upon Than when, adorned with all his light, He shines in serene sky most bright, So valour in a low estate Is most admired and wondered at.
The sun grew low and left the skies,
Put down, some write, by ladies' eyes.
The moon pulled off her veil of light
That hides her face by day from sight
(Mysterious veil, of brightness made
That's both her lustre and her shade !),
And in the lantern of the night
With shining hours hung out her light ;
For darkness is the proper sphere
Where all false glories use to appear.
The twinkling stars began to muster
And glitter with their borrowed lustre,
While sleep the wearied world relieved,
By counterfeiting death revived.
The sun had long since in the lap
Of Thetis taken out his nap,
And, like a lobster boiled, the morra
From black to red began to turn.
Some say the soul's secure Against distress and forfeiture; Is free from action, and exempt From execution and contempt ; And to be summoned to appear In the other world's illegal here; And therefore few make any account Into what encumbrances they run 't. For most men carry things so even Between this world and hell and heaven,
Without the least offence to either
They freely deal in all together,
And equally abhor to quit
This world for both, or both for it;
And when they pawn and damn their souls
They are but prisoners on paroles.
There are no bargains driven,
Nor marriages, clapped up in heaven;
And that's the reason, as some guess,
There is no heaven in marriages ;
Two things that naturally press
Too narrowly to be at ease.
Their business there is only love,
Which marriage is not like to improve :
Love that's too generous to abide
To be against its nature tied ;
For where 'tis of itself inclined
It breaks loose when it is confined,
And like the soul, its harbourer,
Debarred the freedom of the air,
Disdains against its will to stay,
And struggles out and flies away,
And therefore never can comply
To endure the matrimonial tie
That binds the female and the male,
Where the one is but the other's bail,
Like Roman jailers, when they slept
Chained to the prisoners they kept.
Although some fits of small contest
Sometimes fall out among the best,