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'Tis many a pious Christian's case.
He was in logic a great critic,
Profoundly skill'd in analytic:
He could distinguish, and divide
A hair 'twixt south and south-west side;
On either which he would dispute,
Confute, change hands, and still confute.
He'd undertake to prove, by force
Of argument, a man's no horse;
He'd prove a buzzard is no fowl,
And that a lord may be an owl,
A calf an alderman, a goose a justice,
And rooks committee-men and trustees.
He'd run in debt by disputation,
And pay with ratiocination.
All this by syllogism, true
In mood and figure, he would do.
For rhetoric, he could not ope
His mouth, but out there flew a trope;
And when he happen'd to break off
l'th' middle of his speech, or cough,
H' had hard words ready to show why,
And tell what rules he did it by;
Else, when with greatest art he spoke,
You'd think he talk'd like other folk:
For all a rhetorician's rules
Teach nothing but to name his tools.
But, when he pleased to show't, his speech
In loftiness of sound was rich;
A Babylonish dialect,
Which learned pedants much affect;
It was a party-colour'd dress
Of patch'd and piebald languages:
'Twas English cut on Greek and Latin,
Like fustian heretofore on satin;
It had an odd promiscuous tone,
As if h' had talk'd three parts in one;
Which made some think, when he did gabble,
Th' had heard three labourers of Babel,
Or Cerberus himself pronounce
A leash of languages at once.
This he as volubly would vent
As if his stock would ne'er be spent;
And truly, to support that charge,
He had supplies as vast and large;
For he could coin or counterfeit
New words, with little or no wit;
Words so debased and hard, no stone
Was hard enough to touch them on;
And, when with hasty noise he spoke 'em,
The ignorant for current took 'em;
That had the orator, who once
Did fill his mouth with pebble stones
When he harangued, but known his phrase,
He would have used no other ways.
In mathematics he was greater
SAMUEL BUTLER (1612-1680)
We grant, altho' he had much wit,
H' was very shy of using it,
As being loath to wear it out;
And therefore bore it not about,
Unless on holidays or so,
As men their best apparel do.
Beside, 'tis known he could speak Greek
As naturally as pigs squeak;
That Latin was no more difficile,
Than to a blackbird 'tis to whistle:
Being rich in both, he never scanted
His bounty unto such as wanted;
But much of either would afford
To many that had not one word.
For Hebrew roots, altho' they're found
To flourish most in barren ground,
He had such plenty as sufficed
To make some think him circumcised:
And truly so perhaps he was,
Below the moon, or else above it;
What Adam dreamt of, when his bride
Came from her closet in his side;
Whether the devil tempted her
By a High Dutch interpreter;
If either of them had a navel;
Who first made music malleable;
Whether the Serpent, at the Fall,
Had cloven feet, or none at all:
All this, without a gloss or comment,
He could unriddle in a moment,
In proper terms, such as men smatter
When they throw out, and miss the matter.
For his religion, it was fit
To match his learning and his wit:
'Twas Presbyterian true blue;
For he was of that stubborn crew
Of errant Saints, whom all men grant
To be the true Church Militant;
Such as do build their faith upon
The holy text of pike and gun;
Decide all controversies by
And prove their doctrine orthodox
By apostolic blows and knocks;
Call fire, and sword, and desolation,
A godly, thorough Reformation,
Which always must be carried on,
And still be doing, never done;
As if Religion were intended
For nothing else but to be mended.
Than Tycho Brahe, or Erra Pater;
For he, by geometric scale,
Could take the size of pots of ale;
Resolve by sines and tangents, straight,
If bread or butter wanted weight;
And wisely tell what hour o'th' day
The clock does strike, by algebra.
Beside, he was a shrewd philosopher,
And had read every text and gloss over;
Whate'er the crabbed'st author hath,
He understood b' implicit faith;
Whatever sceptic could inquire for,
For every why he had a wherefore;
Knew more than forty of them do,
As far as words and terms could go;
All which he understood by rote,
And, as occasion served, would quote;
No matter whether right or wrong,
They might be either said or sung,
His notions fitted things so well,
That which was which he could not tell,
But oftentimes mistook the one
For th other, as great clerks have done.
He could reduce all things to acts,
And knew their natures by abstracts;
Where Entity and Quiddity,
The ghosts of defunct bodies, fly;
Where truth in person does appear,
Like words congeal'd in northern air.
He knew what's what, and that's as high
As metaphysic wit can fly:
In school divinity as able As he that hight Irrefragable; A second Thomas, or at once To name them all, another Dunce: Profound in all the Nominal And Real ways beyond them all; For he a rope of sand could twist As tough as learned Sorbonist; And weave fine cobwebs, fit for skull That's empty when the moon is full; Such as take lodgings in a head That's to be let unfurnished. He could raise scruples dark and nice, And after solve 'em in a trice; As if Divinity had catch'd The itch, on purpose to be scratch'd; Or, like a mountebank, did wound And stab herself with doubts profound, Only to show with how small pain The sores of Faith are cured again; Altho' by woful proof we find They always leave a scar behind. He knew the seat of Paradise, Could tell in what degree it lies; And, as he was disposed, could prove it
THYR. I saw the obsequious seraphim
Their rosy fleece of fire bestow,
For well they now can spare their wings Since Heaven itself lies here below. 61
Well done, said I; but are you sure
Your down so warm, will pass for pure?
Сно. Well done, said I ...
No, no, your King's not yet to seek
Where to repose His royal head;
See, see how soon His new-bloomed cheek 'Twixt mother's breasts is gone to bed!
Sweet choice, said we! no way but so
Not to lie cold, yet sleep in snow. 70 Сно. Sweet choice, said we Воти. We saw Thee in Thy balmy nest,
Bright Dawn of our Eternal Day!
We saw Thine eyes break from their east And chase the trembling shades away.
We saw Thee, and we blest the sight, We saw Thee by Thine own sweet Light.
Вотн. We saw Thee in Thy balmy nest,
Young Dawn of our Eternal Day!
We saw Thine eyes break from their east And chase the trembling shades away.
We saw Thee, and we blest the sight, We saw Thee by Thine own sweet light.
Welcome, all wonders in one night! Eternity shut in a span,
80 Summer in winter, day in night, Heaven in earth, and God in man. Great Little One! Whose all-embracing
birth Lifts earth to heaven, stoops heaven to
To Thee, dread Lamb! Whose love
must keep The shepherds, more than they the sheep.
ON MR. ABRAHAM COWLEY'S DEATH AND BURIAL AMONGST THE ANCIENT POETS
To Thee, meek Majesty! soft King Of simple graces and sweet loves !
Each of us his lamb will bring, Each his pair of silver doves! Till burnt at last in fire of Thy fair
eyes, Ourselves become our own best sacrifice!
SIR JOHN DENHAM (1615-1669)
Old Chaucer, like the morning star,
To us discovers day from far.
His light those mists and clouds dissolved,
Which our dark nation long involved;
But he descending to the shades,
Darkness again the age invades.
Next (like Aurora) Spenser rose,
Whose purple blush the day foreshews;
The other three, with his own fires
Phæbus, the poets' God, inspires;
By Shakespear, Jonson, Fletcher's lines,
Our stage's lustre Rome's outshines:
These poets near our princes sleep,
And in one grave their mansion keep;
They liv'd to see so many days,
Till time had blasted all their bays;
But cursèd be the fatal hour
That pluck'd the fairest, sweetest flower
That in the muses' garden grew,
And amongst wither'd laurels threw.
Time, which made them their fame
To Cowley scarce did ripeness give.
Old mother wit, and nature, gave
Shakespear and Fletcher all they have;
In Spenser, and in Jonson,
Of slower nature got the start;
But both in him so equal are,
None knows which bears the happiest share;
To him no author was unknown,
Yet what he wrote was all his own;
He melted not the ancient gold,
Nor, with Ben Jonson, did make bold
To plunder all the Roman stores
Of pocts, and of orators:
Horace's wit, and Virgil's state,
He did not steal, but emulate:
And when he would like them appear,
Their garb, but not their clothes, did wear:
My eye, descending from the hill, surveys Where Thames amongst the wanton valleys strays; •
60 Thames, the most loved of all the Ocean's sons, By his old sire to his embraces runs, Hasting to pay his tribute to the sea, Like mortal life to meet eternity; Though with those streams he no resemblance
hold, Whose foam is amber, and their gravel gold, His genuine and less guilty wealth to explore, Search not his bottom, but survey his shore, O'er which he kindly spreads his spacious wing, And hatches plenty for th' ensuing spring; 70 Nor then destroys it with too fond a stay, Like mothers which their infants overlay, Nor, with a sudden and impetuous wave, Like profuse kings, resumes the wealth he gave; No unexpected inundations spoil The mower's hopes, nor mock the ploughman's
But godlike his unwearied bounty flows,
First loves to do, then loves the good he does;
Nor are his blessings to his banks confined,
But free and common as the sca or wind;
When he to boast or to disperse his stores,
Full of the tributes of his grateful shores,
Visits the world, and in his flying towers,
Brings home to us, and makes both Indies ours,
Finds wealth where 'tis, bestows it where it
Cities in deserts, woods in cities plants;
So that to us no thing, no place is strange,
While his fair bosom is the world's exchange.
O could I flow like thee, and make thy stream
My great example, as it is my theme !
90 Though deep, yet clear, though gentle, yet not
dull, Strong without rage, without o'erflowing full.
RICHARD LOVELACE (1618-1658)
TO LUCASTA, GOING TO THE
Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
That from the nunnery Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly.