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And by a faint description makes them less. Then tell us, what is fame, where shall we fearch
Look where exalted virtue and religion fit
The greatest scorn of learned vanity
(And then how much a nothing is mankind! Whose reason is weigh'd down by popular air, Who by that, vainly talks of baffling death; And hopes to lengthen life by a transfufion of breath,
Which yet whoe'er examines right will find To be an art as vain as bottling up of wind): And when you find out thefe, believe true fame is there,
Far above all reward, yet to which all is due; And this, ye great unknown, is only known in you.
The juggling fea-god, when by chance trepan'd
By some instructed querift fleeping on the fand,
A stealing brook, and ftrove to creep away
Vext at their follies, murmur'd in his stream;
Would vanish in a pyramid of fire.
To furnish his escapes,
Ne'er borrow'd more variety of shapes
Than you to please and fatisfy mankind,
And feem (almoft) transform'd to water, flame, and air,
So well you answer all phænomena's there: Though madmen and the wits, philosophers and fools,
With all that factious or enthufiaftic dotards dream,
And all the incoherent jargon of the schools; Though all the fumes of fear, hope, love, and fhame,
Contrive to fhock your minds with many a fenfelefs doubt;
Doubts where the Delphic God would grope in ignorance and night,
The God of learning and of light Would want a God * himself to help him
* Θεὸς ἀπὸ μηχανῆς.
Philofophy, as it before us lies,
Seems to have borrow'd fome ungrateful tafte
From every age through which it pass'd,
For man to dress and polish his uncourtly mind, In what mock habits have they put her fince the fall!
More oft in fools and madmens hands than fages,
She feems a medley of all ages,
With a huge fardingale to fwell her fustian stuff,
Of comments and disputes, ridiculous and vain,
How foon have you reftor'd her charms
And rather tight than great!
How fond we are to court her to our arms!
How much of heav'n is in her naked looks!
Thus the deluding mufe oft blinds me to her
And ev❜n my very thoughts transfers
And changes all to beauty, and the praise
The rebel mufe, alas! takes
part But with my own rebellious heart, you with fatal and immortal wit conspire To fan th' unhappy fire.
Cruel unknown! what is it you intend?
Ah! could you, could you hope a poet for your friend!
Rather forgive what my firft transport said: May all the blood, which fhall by woman's fcorn
Lie upon you and on your childrens head; For you (ah! did I think I e'er fhould live to
The fatal time when that could be!)
Have e'en increas'd their pride and cruelty. Woman feems now above all vanity grown, Still boafting of her great unknown
Platonic champions, gain'd without one female wile,
Or the vaft charges of a smile
Which 'tis a fhame how much of late
You've taught the cov'tous wretches to o'er
And which they've now the confciences to weigh In the fame balance with our tears,
And with fuch scanty wages pay The bondage and the flavery of years.
Let the vain fex dream on, their empire comes
And had they common generofity
-though you've rais'd her to this
Ourselves are rais'd as well as fhe;
And fpight of all that they or you can do, 'Tis pride and happiness enough to me Still to be of the fame exalted fex with you.
Alas, how fleeting and how vain,
If even the nobler man, our learning and our wit!
I figh whene'er I think of it:
As at the clofing of an unhappy scene Of fome great king and conqu'ror's death,
When the fad melancholy mufe
Stays but to catch his utmost breath.