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And catechise it well. Apply your glass,
210 In arts like yours. I cannot call the swift And perilous lightnings from the angry clouds, And bid them hide themselves in the earth beneath; I cannot analyse the air, nor catch The parallax of yonder luminous point
215 That seems half quench'd in the immense abyss : Such
powers I boast not ;-neither can I rest A silent witness of the headlong rage Or heedless folly by which thousands die, Bone of my bone, and kindred souls to mine. 220
God never meant that man should scale the heavens By strides of human wisdom. In his works Though wonderous, He commands us in his word To seek him rather, where his mercy shines. The mind indeed enlighten'd from above
225 Views him in all; ascribes to the grand cause The grand effect; acknowledges with joy His manner, and with rapture tastes his style. But never yet did philosophic tube That brings the planets home into the eye 230 Of observation, and discovers, else Not visible, his family of worlds, Discover Him that rules them; such a veil Hangs over mortal eyes, blind from the birth
And dark in things divine. Full often too
235 Our wayward intellect, the more we learn Of nature, overlooks her Author more, From instrumental causes proud to draw Conclusions retrograde and mad mistake. But if his word once teach us, shoot a ray
240 Through all the heart's dark chambers, and reveal Truths undiscern'd but by that holy light, Then all is plain. Philosophy baptized In the pure fountain of eternal love Has eyes indeed; and viewing all she sees 245 As meant to indicate a God to man, Gives Him his praise, and forfeits not her own. Learning has borne such fruit in other days On all her branches. Piety has found Friends in the friends of science, and true prayer 250 Has flow'd from lips wet with Castalian dews. Such was thy wisdom, Newton, child-like sage! Sagacious reader of the works of God, And in his word sagacious. Such too thine, Milton, whose genius had angelic wings,
255 And fed on manna.
And such thine in whom
260 All flesh is grass ", and all its glory fades Like the fair flower dishevel'd in the wind; Riches have wings 13, and grandeur is a dream ; The man we celebrate must find a tomb, And we that worship him, ignoble graves. 265 12 Isaiah, xl. 6.
13 Prov. xxiii. 5.
Nothing is proof against the general curse
280 The joy of many and the dread of more, His name a theme for praise and for reproach ? That while it gives us worth in God's account, Depreciates and undoes us in our own ? What pearl is it that rich men cannot buy, 285 That learning is too proud to gather up, But which the poor and the despised of all Seek and obtain, and often find unsought ? Tell me, and I will tell thee, what is truth.
Oh friendly to the best pursuits of man, 290 Friendly to thought, to virtue, and to peace, Domestic life in rural leisure pass'
s'do! Few know thy value, and few taste thy sweets,
14 Bacon otherwise—“What is truth ? said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer.”—Essay i. 15 O knew he but his happiness, of men
The happiest he! who far from public rage
Though many boast thy favours, and affect
Deep in the vale with a choice few retired,
Thomson. Autumn, 1389.
Young. Satire v.
Nor baited hook 16 deceive the fish's
eye; Could pageantry and dance and feast and song Be quell’d in all our summer-month retreats ; 315 How
many self-deluded nymphs and swains Who dream they have a taste for fields and groves, Would find them hideous nurseries of the spleen, And crowd the roads, impatient for the town! They love the country, and none else, who seek 320 For their own sake its silence and its shade; Delights which who would leave, that has a heart Susceptible of pity, or a mind Cultured and capable of sober thought, For all the savage din of the swift pack
325 And clamours of the field ? detested sport, That owes its pleasures to another's pain, That feeds upon the sobs and dying shrieks Of harmless nature, dumb, but yet endued With eloquence that agonies inspire Of silent tears and heart-distending sighs ! Vain tears alas ! and sighs that never find A corresponding tone in jovial souls. Well,—one at least is safe. One shelter'd hare Has never heard the sanguinary yell
335 Of cruel man, exulting in her woes. Innocent partner of my peaceful home, Whom ten long years experience of my care Has made at last familiar, she has lost Much of her vigilant instinctive dread, Not needful here, beneath a roof like mine. Yes,—thou may’st eat thy bread, and lick the hand
16 They triumph over the unsuspecting fish, whom they hare decoyed by an insidious pretence of feeding.
Soame Jenyns. Second Disquisition.