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Satan himself was bound, till th' iron chain
Our pride did break, and let him loose again. 100
Still the old sting remain'd, and man began
To tempt the serpent as he tempted man.
Then hell sends forth her furies, Av'rice, Pride,
Fraud, Discord, Force, Hypocrisy their guide :
Tho' the foundation on a rock were laid, 105
The church was undermin'd, and then betray'd.
Tho'the Apostles these events foretold,
Yet ev’n the shepherd did devour the fold :
The fisher to convert the world began
The pride convincing of vain-glorious man ;
But soon his followers grew a sov'reign lord,
And Peter's keys exchang’d for Peter's sword,
Which still maintains for his adopted son
Vast patrimonies, tho' himself had none;
Wresting the text to the old giant's sense, 115
That heav'n once more must suffer violence.
Then subtle doctors scriptures made their prize;'
Casuists, like cocks, struck out each others' eyes :
Then dark distinctions reason's light disguis'd,
And into atoms truth anatomiz'd :
Then Mah’met's Crescent, by our feuds increast,
Blasted the learn'd remainders of the East.
That project when from Greece to Rome it came,
Made Mother Ignorance Devotion's dame;
Then he whom Lucifer's own pride did swell, 125
His faithful emissary rose from hell
To possess Peter's chair, that Hildebrand
Whose foot on mitres, then on crowns, did stand;
And before that exalted idol all
(Whom we call gods on earth) did prostrate fall.
Then darkness Europe's face did overspread, 131
From lazy cells, where superstition bred,
Which, link'd with blind obedience, so increasid,
That the whole world some ages they oppress'd ;
Till thro' those clouds the Sun of knowledge brake,
And Europe from her lethargy did wake; 136
Then first our monarchs were acknowledg‘d here,
That they their churches' nursing fathers were.
When Lucifer no longer could advance
His works on the false ground of ignorance, 140
New arts he tries, and new designs he lays,
Then his well-study'd masterpiece he plays ;
Layola, Luther, Calvin, he inspires,
And kindles with infernal flames their fires ;
Sends their forerunner (conscious of th' event) 145
Printing, his most pernicious instrument !
Wild controversy then, which long had slept,
Into the press from ruin'd cloisters leapt.
No longer by implicit faith we err,
Whilst ev'ry man's his own interpreter; 150
No more conducted now by Aaron's rod,
Lay-eiders from their ends create their god.
But sev’n wise men the ancient world did know,
Wescarce know sev’n who think themselves not so.
When man learn’d undefil'd religion,
We were commanded to be all as one;
Fiery disputes that union have calcin’d;
Almost as many minds as men we find;
And when that flame finds combustible earth,
Thence fatuus fires and meteors take their birth ; 160
Legions of sects and insects come in throngs ;
To name them all would tire a hundred tongues.
Such were the Centaurs, of Ixion's race,
Who a bright cloud for Juno did embrace ;
And such the monsters of Chimæra's kind, 165
Lions before, and dragons were behind.
Then from the clashes between popes and kings
Debate, like sparks from Aints' collision, springs.
As Jove's loud thunderbolts were forg'd by heat,
The like our Cyclops on their anvils beat : 170
All the rich mines of Learning ransack'd are
To furnish ammunition for this war ;
Uncharitable zeal our reason whets,
And double edges on our passions sets.
'Tis the most certain sign the world's accurst, 175
That the best things corrupted are the worst.
'Twas the corrupted light of knowledge hurld
Sin, death, and ignorance, o’er all the world.
That sun like this (from which our sight we have)
Gaz'd on too long, resumes the light he gave ; 180
And when thick mists of doubts obscure his beams,
Our guide is error and our visions dreams,
'Twas no false heraldry when Madness drew
Her pedigree from those who too much knew.
Who in deep mines for hidden knowledge toils, 189
Like guns o'ercharg'd, breaks, misses, or recoils.
When sub:le wits have spun their thread too fine,
'Tis weak and fragile, like Arachne's line.
True piety without cessation tost
By theories, the practic part is lost;
And like a ball bandy'd 'twixt pride and wit,
Rather than yield, both sides the prize will quit ;
Then whilst his foe each gladiator foils,
The Atheist looking on enjoys the spoils.
Thro' seas of knowledge we our course advance,
Dicovering still new worlds of ignorance ; 196
And these discov'ries make us all confess
'That sublunary science is but guess.
Matters of fact to man are only known,
And what seems more is mere opinion :
The standers-by see clearly this event;
All parties say they're sure, yet all dissent.
With their new light our bold inspectors press,
Like Cham, to shew their fathers' nakedness,
By whose example after ages may
305 Discover we more naked are than they. All human wisdom to divine is folly : This truth the wisest man made melancholy. Hope, or belief, or guess, gives some relief, But to be sure we are deceiv'd brings grief.
Who thinks his wife is virtuous, tho' not so,
Is pleasʼd and patient till the truth he know.
Our God, when heav'n and earth he did create,
Form'd man, who should of both participate.
If our lives' motions theirs must imitate, 215
Our knowledge, like our blood, must circulate.
When like a bridegroom from the east the sun
Sets forth, he thither whence he came doth run.
Into earth's spungy veins the ocean sinks,
Those rivers to replenish which he drinks :
So Learning, which from reason's fountain springs,
Back to the source some secret channel brings.
'Tis happy when our streams of knowledge flow
To fill their banks, but not to overthrow. -224
« Ut metit Autumnus fruges quas parturit æstas, “ Sic ortum Natura, dedit Deus his quoque finem.”
HENRY LORD HASTINGS, 1650.
Reader, preserve thy peace : those busy eyes
Will weep at their own sad discoveries,
When ev'ry line they add improves thy loss,
Till having view'd the whole they sum a cross,
Such as derides thy passions' best relief,
And scorns the succours of thy easy grief :