« AnteriorContinuar »
TO MR. HOBBES. War bodies of philosophy Ioft have seen and read; But all are bodies dead, Or bodies by art fashioned; I never yet the living soul could see, But in thy books and thee! 'Tis only God can know Whether the fair idea thou dost show Agree entirely with his own or no. This 1 dare boldly tell, 'Tissolike truth, "twill serve our turn as well. Just, as in Nature, thy proportions be, As full of concord their variety, As firm the parts upon their centre rest, Andall so solid are, that they, at least As much as Nature, emptiness detest.
That all the wardrobe of rich Eloquence Could have afforded half enough, Of bright, of new, and lasting stuff, To cloathe themighty limbs of thy gigantic Sense, Thy solid reason, like the shield from Heaven To the Trojan hero given, Too strong to take a mark from any mortal dart, Yet shines with gold and gems in every part, And wonders on it grav'd by the learn'd hand of A shield that gives delight [Art! Ev’n to the enemies' sight, Then, when they're sure to lose the combat by't.
Nor can the snow, which now cold Age does shed
Upon thy reverend head,
Quench or allay the noble fires within;
But all which thou hast been,
And all that youth can be thou’rtyet!
So fully still dost thou -
Enjoy the manhood and the bloom of Wit,
And all the natural heat, but not the fever too!
So contraries on Etna's top conspire;
Here hoary frosts, and by them breaks out fire!
A secure peace the faithful neighbours keep;
Th’ embolden'd snownext to the flame doessleep!
And if we weigh, like thee,
Nature and causes, we shall see
That thus it needs must be—
To things immortal, Time can do no wrong,
And that which never is to die, for ever must be
Hoc quoque fatale est sic ipsum expendere
Srnasas and unnatural let's stay and see
This pageant of a prodigy.
Lo, of themselves th’ enliven'd Chess-men move!
Lo, the unbred, ill-organ'd pieces prove
As full of art and industry,
Of courage and of policy, [we]
As we ourselves, who think there's nothing wisebut
Here a proud Pawn I admire,
That, still advancing higher,
At top of all became
Another thing and name;
Here I'm amaz'd at th' actions of a Knignt,
That does bold wonders in the fight;
Here I the losing party blame,
For those false moves that break the game,
That to their grave, the bag, the conquer'd
And, above all, th’ ill-conduct of the Mated
And sense or reason tell,” said I, “These things have life, election, liberty; 'Tis their own wisdom moulds their state, Their faults and virtues make their fate. They do, they do,” said I; but straight, Lo! from my enlighten’d eyes the mists and shadows fell, Thathinder spirits from being visible; And, lo! I saw two angels play'd the Mate, With man, alas! no otherwise it proves; An unseen hand makes all their moves; And some are great, and some are small, Some climb to good, some from good-fortunefall;
Some wise-men, and some fools, we call; Figures, alas! of speech, for Destiny plays us all.
Me from the womb the midwife Muse did take:
She cut my navel, wash'd me, and mine head
With her own hands she fashioned;
She did a covenant with me make, [spake:
And circumcis'd my tender soul, and thus she
“Thou of my church shalt be;
Hate and renounce,” said she, [me.
“Wealth, honour, pleasures, all the world, for
Thou neither great at court, nor in the war,
Nor at th' exchange, shalt be, nor at the wrang-
Content thyself with the small barren praise,
That neglected verse does raise.”
She spake, and all my years to come
Took their unlucky doom.
Their several ways of life let others chuse,
Their several pleasures let them use,
But I was born for love, and for a Muse.
With Fate what boots it to contend? Such I began, such am, and so must end. - The star that did my being frame, Was but a lambent flame, And some small light it did dispense, But neither heat nor influence. No matter, Cowley' let proud Fortune see, That thou canst her despise no less than she does Let all her gifts the portion be [thee. Of Folly, Lust, and Flattery, Fraud, Extortion, Calumny, Murder, Infidelity, Rebellion and Hypocrisy; Do thou not grieve, nor blush to be, As all th’ inspired tuneful men, And all thy great forefathers, were, from Homer down to Ben.
Excellest Brutus! of all human race
The best, till Nature was improv’d by Grace;
Till men above themselves Faith raised more
Than Reason above beasts before.
Virtue was thy life's centre, and from thence
Did silently and constantly dispense
The gentle, vigorous influence
To all the wide and fair circumference;
And all the parts upon it lean'd so easily,
Obey'd the mighty force so willingly,
'i'hat none could discord or disorder see
In all their contrariety:
Each had his motion natural and free,
And the whole no more mov’d, than the whole
world, could be.
From thy strict rule some think that thou didst
(Mistaken, honest men!) in Caesar's blood;
What mercy could the tyrant's life deserve
From him, who kill'd himself rather than serve :
Th’ heroic exaltations of good
Are so far from understood,
We count them vice : alas! our sight's soill,
That things which swiftest move seem to stand
We look not upon Virtue in her height, [still:
On her supreme idea, brave and bright,
In the original light;
But as her beams reflected pass Through our own Nature or Ill-custom's glass: As 'tis no wonder, so, If with dejected eye In standing pools we seek the sky, That stars, so high above,should seem to usbelow.
Can we stand by and see Our mother robb'd, and bound, and ravish'd be, Yet not to her assistance stir, Pleas'd with the strength and beauty of the raOr shall we fear to kill him, if before [visher? The cancell'd name of friend he bore ? Ingrateful Brutus do they call 2 Ingrateful Caesar, who could Rome enthrall! An act more barbarous and unnatural (In th' exact balance of true virtue try’d) Than his successor Nero's parricide' There 's none but Brutus could deserve That all men else should wish to serve, And Caesar's usurp’d place to him should proffer; None can deserve 't but he who would refuse the offer.
Ill Fate assum'd a body thee t'affright,
And wrap'd itself i' th' terrours of the night:
“I’ll meet thee at Philippi,” said the sprite;
“I’ll meet thee there,” saidst thou,
With such a voice, and such a brow,
As put the trembling ghost to sudden flight;
It vanish'd, as a taper's light
Goes out when spirits appear in sight.
One would have thought 't had heard the morn-
Or seen her well-appointed star
Come marching up the eastern hill afar.
Nor durst it in Philippi's field appear,
But, unseen, attack'd thee there:
Had it presum’d in any shape thee to oppose,
Thou would'st mave forc'd it back upon thy foes:
Or slain 't, like Caesar, though it be
A conqueror and a monarch mightier far than he.
What joy can human things to us afford,
When we see perish thus, by odd events,
Ill men, and wretched accidents, [sword?
The best cause and best man that ever drew a
When we see
The false Octavius and wild Antony,
God-like Brutus! conquer thee *
what can we say, but thine own tragic word-
That Virtue, which had worship'd been by thee
As the most solid good, and greatest deity,
By this fatal proof became
An idol only, and a name.
Hold, noble Brutus! and restrain
The bold voice of thy generous disdain:
These mighty gulphs are yet
Too deep for all thy judgment and thy wit.
The time's set forth already which shall quell
Stiff Reason, when it offers to rebel;
Which these great secrets shall unseal,
And new philosophies reveal:
A few years more, so soon hadst thou not dy'd,
Would have confounded human Virtue's pride,
And show'd thee a God crucify’d.
How long, alas! has our mad nation been Of epidemic war the tragic scene,
. When Slaughter all the while Seem’d, like its sea, embracing round the isle, With tempests, and red waves, noise, and affright ! Albion no more, nor to be nam'd from white' What province or what city did it spare 2 It, like a plague, infected all the air. Sure the unpeopled land w Would now untilid, desert, and maked stand, Had God's all-mighty hand At the same time let loose Diseases' rage Their civil wars in man to wage. But thou by Heaven wert sent This desolation to prevent, Amed'cine, and a counter-poison, to the age. Scarcecould the sword dispatch more to the grave Than thou didst save ; By wondrous art, and by successful care, Theruins of a civil war thou dost alone repair'
Theinundations of all liquid pain, And deluge Dropsy, thou dost drain. Fevers so hot, that one would say, Thou might'st as soon hell-fires allay (The damn'd scarce more incurable than they) Thou dost so temper, that we find, Like gold, the body but refin'd, No unhealthful dross behind. The subtle Ague, that for sureness' sake Takes its own times th'assault to make, And at each battery the whole fort does shake, When thy strong guards, and works, it spies, Trembles for itself, and flies. The cruel Stone, that restless pain, That's sometimes roll'd away in vain, But still, like Sysiphus's stone, returns again, Thou break'st and meltest by learn'd juices' force, (Agreater work, though short the way appear, Than Hannibal's by vinegar !) Oppressed Nature's necessary course It stops in vain; like Moses, thou Sirik'st but the rock, and straight the waters freely flow.
The Indian son of Lust (that foul disease Which did on this his new-found world but la'ely Yet since a tyranny has planted here, [seize, As wide and cruel as the Spaniard there) ls so quite rooted out by thee, That thy patients seem to be Restor'd, not to health only, but virginity. The Plague itself, that proud imperial ill, Which destroys towns, and does whole armies kill, Ifthoubut succour the besieged heart, Calls all its poisons forth and does depart, As if it fear'd no less thy art, Than Aaron's incense, or than Phineas' dart. What need there here repeated be by me The vast and barbarous lexicon Of man's infirmity? At thy strong charms it must be gone ugh a disease, as well as devil, were called
From creeping moss to soaring cedar thou
Post all the powers and several portions know,
Which father-Sun, and mother-Earth below,
On their green infants here bestow:
onstall those magic virtues from them draw,
That keep Disease and Death in awe;
Who, whilst thy wondrous skill in plants they see,
Fear lest the tree of life should be found out by
And thy well-travell'd knowledge, too, does give
No less account of th' empire sensitive;
Chiefly of man, whose body is
That active soul's metropolis.
As the great artist in his sphere of glass
Saw the whole scene of heavenly motions pass;
So thou know'st all so well that's done within,
As if some living crystal man thou 'dst seen.
Nor does this science make thy crown alone,
But whole Apollo is thine own;
His gentler arts, belov’d in vain by me,
Are wedded and enjoy'd by thee.
Thou'rt by this noble mixture free
From the physician's frequent malady,
There are who all their patients' chagrin have,
As if they took each morn worse potions than they
And this great race of learning thou hast run,
Fre that of life be half yet done;
Thou see'st thyself still fresh and strong,
And like to enjoy thy conquests long.
The first fam'd aphorism thy great master spoke,
Did he live now he would revoke,
And better things of man report;
For thou dost make life long, and art but short.
Ah, learned friend' it grieves me, when I think
That thou with all thy art must die,
As certainly as I ;
And all thy noble reparations sink [tality.
Into the sure-wrought mine of treacherous mor-
Like Archimedes, honourably in vain,
Thou hold'st out towns that must at last be ta'en,
And thou thyself, their great defender, slain.
Let's e'en compound, and for the present live,
'Tis all the ready-money Fate can give;
Unbend sometimes thy restless care,
And let thy friends so happy be
To enjoy at once their health and thee:
Some hours, at least, to thine own pleasures spare:
Since the whole stock may soon exhausted be,
Bestow 't not all in charity.
Let Nature and let Art do what they please,
When all 's dome, life is an incurable disease.
Oh, Life! thou Nothing's younger brother! So like, that one might take one for the other | What's somebody, or nobody ? In all the col.webs of the schoolmen's trade, We no such nice distinction woven see, As 'tis “to be,” or “not to be.” Dream of a shadow ! a reflection made From the false glories of the gay reflected bow, Is a more solid thing than thou. Vain weak-built isthmus, which dost proudly rise Up betwixt two etermities ' Yet canst nor wave nor wind sustain, But, broken and o'erwhelm'd, the endless oceans meet again.
And wih what rare inventions do we strive
Ourselves then to survive 2
Wise, subtle arts, and such as well befit
That Nothing, man's no wit!-
Some with vast costly tombs would purchase it,
And by the proofs of death pretend to live.
“Here lies the great”—false Marble ! where?
Nothing but small and sordid dust lies there.—
Some build enormous mountain-palaces,
The fools and architects to please;
A lasting life in well-hewn stone they rear:
So he, who on th' Egyptain shore
Was slain so many hundred years before,
Lives still, (oh life most happy and most dear!
Oh! life that epicures envy to hear!)
Lives in the dropping ruins of his amphitheatre.
His father-in-law an higher place does claim
In the seraphic entity of Fame;
He, since that toy his death, [breath.
Does fill all mouths, and breathes in all men's
"Tis true, the two immortal syllables remain;
But, oh, ye learned men! explain
Whatessence, what existence, this,
What substance,whatsubsistence,what hypostasis,
In six poor letters is!
In those alone does the great Caesar live,
'Tis all the conquer'd world could give.
We poets, madder yet than all,
With a refin'd fantastic vanity,
Think we not only have, but give, eternity.
Fain would I see that prodigal,
Who his to morrow would bestow,
For all *. life, e'er since he dy'd till
I leave mortality, and things below;
I have no time in compliments to waste;
Farewell to ye all in haste,
For I am call'd to go.
A whirlwind bears up my dull feet,
Th' officious clouds beneath them meet;
And lo! I mount, and lo! How small the * parts of Earth's proud title show
Where shall I find the noble British land 2
Lo! I at last a northern speck espy,
Which in the sea does lie,
And seems a grain o' th' sand 1
For this will any sin, or bleed 2
Of civil wars is this the meed 2
And is it this, alas! which we
(Oh irony of words !) do call Great Britanie?
I pass by th'arched magazines which hold
Th"eternal stores of frost, and rain, and snow;
Dry and secure I go,
Nor shake with fear or cold :
Without affright or wonder
I meet clouds charg'd with thunder,
And lightnings, in my way,
Like * launbent fires, about my temples
Now into a gentle sea of rolling flame
I'm plung'd, and still mounthigher there,
As flames mount up through air:
So perfect, yet so tame,
So great, so pure, so bright a fire,
Was that unfortunate desire,
My faithful breast did cover,
hen, when I was of late a wretched mortallower,
Through several orbs which one fair planet bear,
Where I behold distinctly, as I pass,
The hints of Galileo's glass,
I touch at last the spangled sphere:
Here all th' extended sky
Is but one galaxy,
'Tis all so bright and gay,
And the joint eyes of night make up a perfect
Where am I now? Angels, and God is here;
An unexhausted ocean of delight
Swallows my senses quite,
And drowns all what, or how, or where!
Not Paul, who first did thither pass,
And this great world's Columbus was,
The tyrannous pleasure could express.
Oh, 'tis too much for man! but let it ne'er be
The mighty Elijah mounted so on high,
That second man who leap'd the ditch where all
The rest of mankind fall,
And went not downwards to the sky!
With much of pomp and show
(As conquering kings in triumph go)
Did he to Heaven approach,
And wondrous was his way, and wondrous was hit
'Twas gaudy all; and rich in every part
Of essences, of gems; and spirit of gold
Was its substantial mould,
Drawn forth by chymic angels' art.
Here with moon-beams 'twas silver'd bright,
There double-gilt with the Sun's light;
And mystic shapes cut round in it,
Figures that did transcend a vulgar angel's wit.
The horses were of temper'd lightning made,
Of all that in Heaven's beauteous pastures feed
The noblest, sprightful'st breed;
And flaming manes their necks array'd:
They all were shod with diamond,
Not such as here are found,
But such light solid ones as shine
On the transparent rocks o' th' Heaven crystal-
Thus mounted the great prophet to the skies;
Astonish'd men, who oft had seen stars fall,
Or that which so they call,
Wonder'd from hence to see one rise.
The soft clouds melted him away;
The snow and frosts which in it lay
Awhile the sacred footsteps bore;
The wheels and horses' hoofs hizz'd as they past
them o'er I
If thy fore-face do see No better things prepar'd for me, Than did thy face behind; If still her breast must shut against me be, (For 'tis not Peace that temple's gate does bind) Oh, let my life, if thou so many deaths a coming With thine old year its voyage take, [find, Bome downthat stream of Time which no return can make
Alas! what need I thus to pray? Th' old avaricious Year, Whether I would or no, will bear At least a part of me away: His well-hors'd troops, the Months, and Days,and Though never any where they stay, [Hours, Make in their passage all their prey; The Months, Days, Hours, that march i' th' rear Nought of value left behind. [can find All the good wine of life our drunken youth devours; Sourness and lees, which to the bottom sink, Remain for latter years to drink; Until, some one offended with the taste, The vessel breaks, and out the wretched relics run at last."
If then, young Year ! thou needst must come,
(For in Time's fruitful womb
The birth beyond its time can never tarry,
Nor ever can miscarry) -
Chuse thy attendants well; for 'tis not thee
We fear, but 'tis thy company:
Let neither Loss of Friends, or Fame, or Liberty,
Nor pining Sickness, nor tormenting Pain,
Nor Sadness, nor uncleanly Poverty,
Be seen among thy train:
Nor let thy livery be
Either black Sin, or gaudy Vanity:
Nay, if thou lov'st me, gentle Year!
Let not so much as Love be there;
Wain fruitless love, I mean; for, gentle Year !
Although I fear,
There's of this caution little need,
Yet, gentle Year! take heed
How thou dost make
Such a mistake :
Such love I mean, alone,
As by thy cruel predecessors has been shown;
For, though I 'ave too much cause to doubtit,
I fain would try for once if life can live with-
out it. e
Into the future times why do we pry,
And seek to antedate our ...}
Like jealous men, why are we longing still
To see the thing which only seeing makes an ill 2
'Tis well the face is veil'd; for 'twere a sight
That would ev'm happiest men affright;
And something still they'd spy that would destroy
The past and present joy.
In whatsoever character
The book of Fate is writ,
'Tis well we understand not it;
Weshould grow mad with little learning there:
Upon the brink of every ill we did forcsee,
Undecently and foolishly
We should standshivering,and but slowly venture
The fatal flood to enter.
since, willing or unwilling, we must do it;
They feel least cold and pain who plunge at once
WE’Reill by these grammarians us'd; We are abus’d by words, grossly abus'd : From the maternal tomb To the grave's fruitful womb, We call here Life; but Life's a name That nothing here can truly claim: This wretched inn, where we scarce stay to bait, We call our dwelling-place; We call one step a race: But angels, in their full enlighten’d state, Angels, who live, and know what 'tis to be; Who all the nonsense of our language see; Who speak things, and our words, their illdrawn pictures, scorn; When we, by a foolish figure, say, “Behold an old man dead '' then they Speak properly, and cry, “Behold a man-child born 1” My eyes are open'd, and I see Through the transparent fallacy: Because we seem wisely to talk Like men of business; and for business walk From place to place, And mighty voyages we take, And mighty journeys seem to make, O'er sea and land, the little point that has no space: Because we fight, and battles gain; Some captives call, and say," the rest are slain:” Because we heap up yellow earth, and so Rich, valiant, wise, and virtuous, seem to grows Because we draw a long nobility From hieroglyphic proofs of heraldry, And impudently talk of a posterity, And, like Egyptian chroniclers, Who write of twenty thousand years, With maravedies make th' account, That single time might to a sum amount : We grow at last by custom to believe, That really we live: Whilst all these shadows, that for things we take, Are but the empty dreams which in Death's sleep we make.
But these fantastic errours of our dream
Lead us to solid wrong;
We pray God our friends' torments to prolong,
And wish uncharitably for them
To be as long a dying as Methusalem.
The ripen'd souliongs from his prison to come;
But we would seal, and sow up, if we could, the
We seek to close and plaister up by art
The cracks and breaches of th’ extended shell,
And in that narrow cell
Would rudely force to dwell
The noble vigorous bird already wing'd to part-
THE xxxivth CHAPTER OF THE PROPHET ISAIAH.
Awake, and with attention hear,
Thou drowsy World! for it concerns thee near ; Awake, I say, and listen well, .
Towhat from God, 1, his loud prophet, tell.