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What shook the stedfast Earth, and whence begun
The Dance of Planets round the radiant Sun:
If Thunder was the Voice of angry Jove;
Or Clouds, with Nitre pregnant, burst above. Dryd. Ovid.
Some few, whose Lamps shone brighter, have been led
From Cause to Cause to Nature's secret Head:
And found that one first Principle must be,
But What, or Who that universal He;
Whether fome Soul, incompassing this Ball,
Unmade, unmov’d, yet making, moving all;
Or various Atoms interfering Dance
Leap'd into Form, the noble Work of Chance;
Or this great All was from Eternity :
Not ev'n the Stagyrite himself could see,
And Epicurus guess'd as well as he.
As blindly grop'd they for a future State,
As rashly judg'd of Providence and Fate.
But least of all could their Endeavours find
What most concern'd the Good of human Kind;
For Happiness was never to be found,
But vanilh'd from them like enchanted Ground.
One thought Content the Good to be enjoy'd;
This ev'ry little Accident destroy'd:
The wiser Madmen did for Virtue toil;
A thorny, or at best a barren Soil:
In Pleasure some their glutton Souls would steep,
But found their Lire too short, the Well coo deep,
And leaky Vessels, which no Bliss could keep.
Thus anxious Thoughts in endless Circles roul,
Without a Centre where to fix the Soul.
In this wild Maze their vain Endeavours end,
How can the Less the Greater comprehend ?
Or finite Reason reach Infinity ?
(Rel. Laici For what could fathom God, were more than he. Dryd.
'Tis pleasant safely to behold from Shore
The rowling Ship, and hear the Tempest roar:
Not that another's Pain is our Delight,
But Pains unfelt produce the pleasing Sight.
'Tis pleasant also to behold from far,
The moving Legions mingled in the War:
But much more Tweet thy lab'ring Steps to guide
To Virtue's Heights, with Wisdom well supply'd,
And all the Magazines of Learning fortify'd;
From thence to look below on buman Kind,
Bewilder'd in the Maze of Life, and blind.
O wretched Man! in what a Mist of Life,
Inclos'd with Dangers, and with noify Strife,
He spends his little Span ; and overfeeds
His cramm'd Desires with more than Nature needs!
For Nacure wisely stints our Appecice,
And craves no more than undifturb'd Delight;
Which Minds unmix'd with Cares and Fears obtain,
A Soul serene, a Body void of Pain.
But just as Children are surpriz'd with Dread,
And tremble in the Dark; To riper Years,
Ev'n in broad Day-light, are poffefs'd with Fears;
And shake at Shadows, fanciful and vain
As those which in the Breasts of Children reign.
These Bugbears of the Mind, this inward Hell,
No Rays of outward Sun-fhine can dispell;
But Nature and right Reason must display
(Lutr. Their Beams abroad, and bring the darklom Soul to Day. Dryd.
Oh! if the foolish Race of Man, who find
A Weight of Cares ftill pressing on their Mind,
Could find as well che Cause of this Unrest,
And all this Burden lodg'd within the Breast;
Sure they would change their Course, not live as now,
Uncertain what to wish or what to vow.
Uneafy both in Country and in Town,
They search a Place to lay their Burthen down.
One restless in his Palace walks abroad,
And vainly thinks to leave behind the Load :
But straight returns; for he's as restless there,
And finds there's no Relief in open Air;
Another to his Villa would retire,
And spurs as hard as if it were on fire ;
No sooner enter'd at his Country Door,
But he begins to stretch, and yawn, and froře,
Or seeks the City which he left before.
Thus every Man o'er-works his weary Will,
To shun himself, and to shake off his Ill;
The shaking Fit returns, and hangs upon him ftill.
No Prospect of Repose, nor Hope of Ease;
The Wretch is ignorant of his Disease;
Which known, would all his fruitless Trouble spare,
For he would know the World not worth his Care:
Then would he search more deeply for the Caufe,
And study Nature well, and Nature's Laws. Dryd. Lucr.
Natural Philosophy. See Country Life.
In all her Mazes Nature's Face they view'd,
And as the disappear'd they still pursu'd:
Wrape in the Shades of Night the Goddess lies,
Yet to che Learn'd unveils her dark Disguise,
But suns che gross Access of vulgar Eyes.
They find her dubious now, and then as plain;
Here she's too sparing, there profusely vain.
How the unfolds the faint and dawning Strife
Of infant Atoms kindling into Life ;
How ductile Matter new Meanders takes,
And slender Trains of twisting Fibres makes;
And how the Viscous seeks a closer Tone,
By juft Degrees to harden into Bone ;
Whilst the more loose flow from the vical Urn,
And in full Tides of purple Streams return.
How lambent Flames from Life's bright Lamp arise;
And dart in Emanations thro' the Eyes;
How from each Sluice a gentle Torrent pours,
To flake a feav'rish Heat with ambient Show'rs;
Whence their mechanick Pow'rs the Spirits claim;
How great their Force, how delicate their Frame;
How the same Nerves are fashion'd to sustain
The greatest Pleasure and the greatest Pain;
Why bileous Juice a golden Light puts on,
And Floods of Chyle in silver Currents run.
How the dim Speck of Entity began
To work its brittle Being up to Man;
To how minute an Origin we owe
Young Ammon, Cæfar, and the great Nassau ;
Why paler Looks impetuous Rage proclaim,
And why chill Virgins redden into Flame;
Why Envy oft transforms with wan Disguise,
And why gay Mirth fits smiling in the Eyes.
All Ice why Lucrece; or Sempronia Fire;
Why sa me rages to survive Desire;
Whence Milo's Vigour at th'Olympicks shown;
Whence Tropes to Finch or Impudence to Sant;
Why Atticus polite, Brutus severe;
Why Me--muddy, 17-gue why clear.
Hence 'tis we wait the wond'rous Cause to find,
How Body acts upon impallive Mind;
I low Fumes of Wine che chinking Part can fire,
Past Hopes revive, and present Joys inspire;
Why our Complexions oft our Souls declare,
And how the Passions in the Features are ;
How Touch and Harmony arise between
Corporeal Subftances and things unseen.
With mighty Truths mysterious to descry,
Which in the Wimb of distant Caufes lie.
The various Labours of the wand'ring Moon,
And whence proceed th'Eclipses of the Sun;
Th’Original of Man and Beasts; and whence
The Rains arise, and Fires their Warmth difpence,
And fixt and erring Stars dispose their Influence:
What shakes the solid Earth; what Cause delays
The summer Nights, and shortens winter Days. Dryd. Virgo
His noble Verse through Nacure's Secrets leads.
He sung how Earth blots the Moon's gilded Wane,
While foolish Men beat sounding Brafs in vain :
Why the great
Waters her slight Horns obey ;
Her changing Horns not constanter than they.
He sung how griefly Comets hang in Air ;
Why Sword and Plagues attend their fatal Hair :
Why Contraries feed Thunder in the Cloud,
What Motions vex it till it roar so loud;
How lambent Fire's become so wond'rous tame,
And bear such shining Winter in their Flame:
What radiant Pencil draws the wat'ry Bow;
What ties up Hail, and picks the fleecy Snow;
What Pally of the Earth here shakes fix'd Hills
From off her Brows, and here whole Rivers spilis. Com
With Wonder he surveys the upper Air,
And the gay gilded Meteors sporting there ;
And lambent Jellies, kindling in the Night,
Shoot thro' the Æther in a Trail of Light:
How rising Sreams in th'azure Fluid blend,
Or feet in Clouds, or in soft Show'rs descend;
Or if the stubborn Rage of Cold prevail,
In Flakes they fly, or fall in moulded Hail.
How Honey-Dews imbalm the fragrant Mori,
And the fair Oak with luscious Sweats adorn.
How Heat and Moisture mingle in a Mass,
Or belch in Thunder, or in Light'ning blaze:
Why nimble Coruscations strike che Eye,
Or bold Tornado's bluster in the Sky
Why a prolifick Aura upward tends,
Ferments, and in a living Show'r defcends.
How Vapours, hanging on the tow'ring Hills,
In Breezes figh, or weep in warbling Rills.
Whence infant Winds their tender Pinions try,
And River Gods their thirsty Urns supply.
How in the Moon such Change of Shapes is found,
The Moon, the changing World's eternal Bound:
What shakes the folid Earth, what strong Disease
Dares trouble the fair Centre's antient Ease:
What makes the Sea retreat, and what advance:
Varieties too regular for Chance!
What drives the Chariot on of Winter's Light,
And stops che lazy Waggon of the Night.
Then lung che Bard, how the light Vapours rise
From the warm Earch, and cloud the smiling Skies.
He sung, how some, chill'd in their airy Flight,
Fall scatter'd down in pearly Dew by Night;
How some, rais'd higher, sit in secret Steamas
On the reflected Points of bounding Beams,
Till, chill'd with Cold, they shade th'etherial Plain,
Then on the chirsty Earth descend in Rain.
How fome, whore Parts a flight Contexture show,
Sink, hov'ring thro' the Air in fleecy Snow.
How Part is strung in filken Threads, and clings
Entangled in the Grass in glewy Strings :
How ochers, stamp'd to Stones, with rushing Sound
Fall from their chryftal Quarries to the Ground.
How some are laid in Trains, that kindled fly
In harmless Fires by Night about the Sky.
How some on Winds blow with impetuous Force,
And carry Ruin where they bend their Course ;
While some conspire to form a gentle Breeze,
To fan the Air, and play among the Trees.
How some enrag'd, grow turbulent and loud,
Pent in the Bowels of a frowning Cloud,
That cracks as if the Axis of the World
(Blar. Was broke, and Heav'n's bright Tow'rs were downwards hurld,
He was a shrewd Philosopher,
And had read ev'ry Text and Glofs over.
Whatever Sceptick could enquire for,
For ev'ry Why he had a Wherefore.
He could reduce all Things to A&s,
And knew their Nature by Abstracts :
Where Entity and Quiddity,
The Ghosts of defun&t Bodies ily.
Where Truth in Person does appear,
Like Words congeal'd in northern Air.
He knew what's what, and that's as high
As metaphyfick Wit can fly.
Thus all receive their Birth from other things,
But from bimself the Phænix only springs :
Self-born, begotten by the Parent Flame,
In which he burn'd, another and the fame:
Who nor by 'orn or Herbs his Life sustains,
But the sweet Essence of Ammomum drains ;
And watches the rich Gums Arabia bears,
While yet in tender Dew they drop their Tears.