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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 :
Yet lest thy ignorance betray thy name
Of man and pious, read and mourn : the shame
Of an exemption froni just sense doth show
Irrational, beyond excess of woe.
Since reason, then, can privilege a tear,
Manhood, uncensur’d, pay that tribute here
Upon this noble urn. Here, here remains
Dust far more precious than in India's veins :
Within these cold embraces, ravis h’d, lies
That which completes the ages tyrannies ;
Who weak to such another ill appear,
For what destroys our hope secures our fear.
What sin, unexpiated in this land
Of groans, hath guided so severe a hand ?
The late great victim * that your altars knew,
Ye angry gods ! might have excus'd this new
Oblation, and have spar'd one lofty light
Of virtue, to inform our steps aright;
By whose example good, condemned, we 25
Might have run on to kinder destiny,
But as the leader of the herd fell first
A sacrifice, to quench the raging thirst
Of infiam'd vengeance for past crimes ; so none
But this white fatted youngling could atone, 30
By his untimely fate, that impious smoke
That sullied carth, and did Heav'n's pity choke.
Let it suffice for us that we have lost
In him more than the widow'd world can boast
King Charles the first.
In any lump of her remaining clay.
Fair as the grey-ey'd Morn he was; the day,
Youthful, and climbing upwards still, imparts
No haste like that of his increasing parts.
Like the meridian beam, his virtue's light
Was seen as full of comfort, and as bright.
Had his noon been as fix'd as clear-but he,
That only wanted immortality
To make him perfect, now submits to night
In the black bosom of whose sable spite
He leaves a cloud of flesh behind, and flies,
Refin'd, all ray and glory to the skies.
Great Saint! shine there in an eternal sphere, And tell those powers to whom thou now draw'st
That by our trembling sense, in Hastings dead,
Their anger and our ugly faults are read,
The short lines of whose life did to our eyes
Their love and majesty epitomise:
Tell them, whose stern decrees impose our laws,
The feasted grave may close her hollow jaws.
Tho' sin search Nature, to provide her here
A second entertainment half so dear,
She'll never meet a plenty like this hearse,
Till Time present her with the universe.