Imatges de pÓgina
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O DE

TO THE

ATHENIAN SOCIETY.

Moor-Park, Feb, 14, 1691.

I. AS

S when the deluge first began to fall,

That mighty ebb, never to flow again,
When this huge body's moisture was so great,

It quite o'ercame the vital heat;
That mountain, which was highest first of all,
Appear'd above the universal main,
To bless the primitive sailor's weary fight!
And 'twas perhaps Parnassus, if in height

It be as great as 'tis in fame,

And nigh to Heaven as is its name :
So, after th' inundation of a war,
When Learning's little houshold did embark,
With her world's fruitful system, in her sacred ark,

At the first ebb of noise and fears,
Philosophy's exalted head appears ;
And the Dove-Muse will now no longer stay,
But plumes her silver wings, and flies away;

And now a laurel wreath the brings from far,
To crown the happy conqueror,

To shew the flood begins to cease,
And brings the dear reward of victory and peace.

II. The

II. The cager

Muse took wing upon the waves' decline; When war her cloudy aspect just withdrew,

When the bright sun of peace began to shine, And for a while in heavenly contemplation fat,

On the high top of peaceful Ararat ; And pluck'd a laurel branch (for laurel was the first

that grew,

The first of plants after the thunder storm and rain)

And thence, with joyful nimble wing,

Flew dutifully back again,
And made an humble chaplet for the King *.

And the Dove-Muse is filed once more,
(Glad of the victory, yet frighten'd at the war)

And now discovers from afar
A peaceful and a flourishing shore:

No sooner did the land

On the delightful strand,
Than straight she sees the country all around,

Where fatal Neptune rul'd erewhile,
Scatter'd with flowery vales, with fruitful gardens

crown'd,
And

many a pleasant wood! As if the universal Nile

Had rather water'd it than drown'd : It seems some floating piece of paradise,

Preserv'd by wonder from the flood, Long wandering through the deep, as we are told

Fam'd Delos did of old ;

* The Ode I writ to the King in Ireland. cannot now be recovered.

SWIFT. This

And

And the transported Muse imagin’d it
To be a fitter birth-place for the God of wit,

Or the much-talk'd oracular grove ;
When, with amazing joy, she hears
An unknown musick all around,

Charming her greedy ears,

With many a heavenly song Of nature and of art, of deep philosophy and love; While angels tune the voice, and God inspires the

tongue. In vain the catches at the empty sound, In vain pursues the musick with her longing eyes

And courts the wanton echoes as they fly.

Pardon, ye great unknown, and far-exalted men,
The wild excursions of a youthful pen ;

Forgive a young, and (almost) Virgin-Muse,
Whom blind and eager curiosity

(Yet curiosity, they say,
Is in her fex a crime needs no excuse)
Has forc'd to grope

her uncouth

way, After a mighty light that leads her wandering eye. No wonder then she quits the narrow path of sense

For a dear ramble through impertinence;

Impertinençel the scurvy of mankind. And all we fools, who are the greater part of it, Though we be of two different factions still,

Both the good-natur’d and the ill, Yet wherefoe'er you look, you'll always find We join, like flies and wasps, in buzzing aboạt wit,

4

In

In me, who am of the first sect of these,
All merit, that transcends the humble rules

Of my own dazzled scanty sense,
Begets a kinder folly and impertinence

Of admiration and of praise.
And our good brethren of the furly fect,

Must e'en all herd us with their kindred fools :
For though, poffess’d of present vogue, they've

made
Railing, a rule of wit, and obloquy, a trade;
Yet the same want of brains produces each effect.
And

you, whom Pluto's helm does wisely shroud
From us, the blind and thoughtless crowd,
Like the fam'd hero in his mother's cloud,
Who both our follies and impertinences see,
Do laugh perhaps at theirs, and pity mine and me.

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IV,
But censure's to be understood

Th’authentic mark of the elect,
The public stamp Heaven sets on all that's great

and good,
Our shallow search and judgment to direct,

The war, methinks, has made
Our wit and learning narrow as our trade ;
Instead of boldly failing far, to buy
A stock of wisdom and philosophy,

We fondly stay at home, in fear

Of every censuring privateer ;
Forcing a wretched trade by beating down the sale,

And selling bafely by retail.

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The wits, I mean the atheists of the

age,
Who fain would rule the pulpit, as they do the stage ;
Wondrous refiners of philosophy,

Of morals and divinity,
By the new modish fystem of reducing all to sense,
Against all logick, and concluding laws,
Do own th' effects of Providence,

And yet deny the cause,

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V.
This hopeful sect, now it begins to see
How little, very little, do prevail

Their first and chiefest force

To censure, to cry down, and rail,
Not knowing what, or where, or who you be,

Will quickly take another course:

And, by their never-failing ways

Of solving all appearances they please,
We foon shall see them to their ancient methods fall,
And straight deny you to be men, or any thing at all.

I laugh at the grave answer they will make, Which they have always ready, general, and cheap: 'Tis but to say, that what we daily meet,

And by a fond mistake
Perhaps imagine to be wondrous wit,
And think, alas! to be by mortals writ,
Is but a crowd of atoms justling in a heap ;

Which from eternal feeds begun,
Justling some thousand

till ripen'd by the fun;
They're now, just now, as naturally born,
As from the womb of earth a field of corn.

years

VI. But

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