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With the vain ftir. I fum up half mankind,
And add two-thirds of the remaining half,
And find the total of their hopes and fears
Dreams, empty dreams. The million flit as gay
As if created only like the fly,
That spreads his motley wings in th' eye of noon,
To fport their season, and be seen no more.
The rest are fober dreamers, grave and wise,
And pregnant with discov'ries new and rare.
Some write a narrative of wars, and feats
Of heroes little known, and call the rant
An history: describe the man, of whom
His own coevals took but little note,
And paint his person, character, and views,
As they had known him from his mother's womb.
They difentangle from the puzzled skein,
In which obfcurity has wrapp'd them up,
The threads of politic and fhrew'd defign,
That ran through all his purposes, and charge
His mind with meanings that he never had,
Or having, kept conceal'd. Some drill and bore
The folid earth, and from the ftrata there
Extract a register, by which we learn
That he who made it, and reveal'd its date
To Mofes, was mistaken in its age.
Some more acute, and more induftrious ftill,
Contrive creation; travel nature up
To the sharp peak of her fublimeft height,
And tell us whence the ftars; why fome are fix'd,
And planetary fome; what gave them first
Rotation, from what fountain flow'd their light.
Great conteft follows, and much learned duft
Involves the combatants, each claiming truth,
And truth disclaiming both: and thus they spend
The little wick of life's poor fhallow lamp,
In playing tricks with nature, giving laws
To diftant worlds, and trifling in their own,
Is 't not a pity now, that tickling rheums
Should ever teaze the lungs and blear the fight
Of oracles like these? Great pity too,
That having wielded th' elements, and built
A thousand fyftems, each in his own way,
They should go out in fume and be forgot?
Ah! what is life thus fpent? and what are they
But frantic who thus fpend it? all for smoke-
Eternity for bubbles, proves at last
A fenfelefs bargain. When I fee fuch games
Play'd by the creatures of a pow'r who swears
That he will judge the earth, and call the fool
To a sharp reck'ning that has liv'd in vain;
And when I weigh this feeming wisdom well,
prove it in th' infallible refult
So hollow and fo falfe-I feel my heart
Diffolve in pity, and account the learn'd,
If this be learning, most of all deceiv'd.
Great crimes alarm the confcience, but it fleeps
While thoughtful man is plaufibly amus'd.
Defend me therefore, common fenfe, fay I,
From reveries fo airy, from the toil
Of dropping buckets into empty wells,
And growing old in drawing nothing up !
"Twere well, fays one fage erudite, profound, Terribly arch'd and aquiline his nose, And overbuilt with most impending brows; 'Twere well, could you permit the world to live As the world pleases. What's the world to you? Much. I was born of woman, and drew milk, As fweet as charity, from human breasts.
I think, articulate, I laugh and weep,
And exercise all functions of a man.
How then should I and any man that lives
Be ftrangers to each other? Pierce my vein,
Take of the crimson stream meand'ring there,
And catechife it well; apply your glass,
Search it, and prove now if it be not blood
Congenial with thine own: and if it be,
What edge of fubtlety canft thou suppose
Keen enough, wife and skilful as thou art,
To cut the link of brotherhood, by which
One common Maker bound me to the kind.
True; I am no proficient, I confess,
In arts like yours. I cannot call the swift
And perilous lightnings from the angry clouds,
And bid them hide themselves in earth beneath;
I cannot analyse the air, nor catch
The parallax of yonder luminous point
That feems half quench'd in the immenfe abyss;
Such pow'rs I boaft not-neither can I reft
A filent witnefs of the headlong rage.
Or heedlefs folly by which thousands die,
Bone of my bone, and kindred fouls to mine.
God never meant that man fhould fcale the heav'ns
By ftrides of human wisdom. In his works,
Though wond'rous, he commands us in his word
To feek him rather, where his mercy fhines.
The mind indeed, enlighten'd from above,
Views him in all: afcribes to the grand caufe