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Moses in all th’ Egyptian arts was skill'd,
When heav'nly pow'r that chosen vessel fillid;
And we to his high inspiration owe
That what was done before the flood we know. 20
From Egypt arts their progress made to Greece,
Wrapp'd in the fable of the Golden Fleece,
Musæus first, then Orpheus, civilize
Mankind, and gave the world their deities
To many gods they taught devotion,

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Which were the distinct faculties of one :
Th' Eternal Cause in their immortal lines
Was taught, and poets were the first divines.
God Moses first, then David, did inspire,
To compose anthems for his heav'nly quire :

39 To th’ one the style of Friend he did impart, On th other stamp the likeness of his heart : And Moses, in the old original, Ev'n God the poet of the world doth call. Next those old Greeks Pythagoras did rise, 35 Then Socrates, whom th' oracle call'd Wise. The divine Plato moral virtue shows, Then his disciple Aristotle rose, Who Nature's secrets to the world did teach, Yet that great soul our novelists impeach : 40 Too much manuring fillid that field with weeds, While sects, like locusts, did destroy the seeds, The tree of knowledge, blasted by disputes, Produces sapless leaves instead of fruits.

Proud Greece all nations else barbarians held, Boasting her learning all the world excell'd. Flying from thence *, to Italy it came, And to the realm of Naples gave the name, Till both their nation and their arts did come A welcome trophy to triumphant Rome. Then wheresoe'er her conq'ring Eagles fled, Arts, learning, and civility were spread; And as in this our microcosm the heart Heat, spirit, motion, gives to ev'ry part, So Rome's victorious influence did disperse All her own virtues thro' the universe. Here some digression I must make, t' accuse Thee, my forgetful and ungrateful Muse! Couldst thou from Greece to Latium take thy flight, And not to thy great ancestors do right? I can no more believe old Homer blind, Than those who say the sun hath never shin'd: The age wherein he liv'd was dark, but he Could not want sight who taught the world to see. They who Minerva from Jove's head derive, Might make old Homer's scull the Muses' hive, And from his brain that Helicon distill Whose racy liquor did his offspring fill. Nor old Anacreon, Hesiod, Theocrite, Must we forget, nor Pindar's lofty flight. Old Homer's soul, at last from Greece retir'd, In Italy the Mantuan swain inspir'd..

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*Græcia Major.

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When great Augustus made war's tempests cease,
His halcyon days brought forth the arts of peace,
He still in his triumphant chariot shines,
By Horace drawn and Virgil's mighty lines.
'Twas certainly mysterious that the name
Of prophets and of poets is the same *.
What the Tragedian † wrote, the late success
Declares was inspiration and not guess :
As dark a truth that author did unfold
As oracles or prophets e'er foretold:

At last the ocean shall unlock the bound "Of things, and a new world by Typhis found ; "Then ages far remote shall understand 85 "The Isle of Thule is not the farthest land." Sure God, by these discov'ries, did design That his clear light thro' all the world should shine; But the obstruction from that discord springs The prince of darkness made 'twixt Christian kings: That peaceful age with happiness to crown, 91 From heav'n the Prince of Peace himself came down; Then the true Sun of knowledge first appear'd, And the old dark mysterious clouds were clear'd; The heavy cause of th' old accursed flood 95 Sunk in the sacred deluge of his blood. His passion man from his first fall redeem'd ; Once more to Faradise restor'd we seem'd;

* Vates. + Seneca.

The prophesy.

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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.

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Then hell sends forth her furies, Av`rice, Pride,
Fraud, Discord, Force, Hypocrisy their guide:
Tho' the foundation on a rock were laid,
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,
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.

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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.

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