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That we should all opinions hold
Authentic, that we can make old.
Quoth Sidrophel, it is no part
Of prudence to cry down an art,
And what it may perform, deny,
Because you understand not why;
As Averrhois play'd but a mean trick,
To damn our whole art for eccentrick,
For who knows all that knowlege contains ?
Men dwell not on the tops of mountains,
But on their sides, or risings seat;
So ʼtis with knowledge’s vast height.
Do not the hist’ries of all
Relate miraculous presages
Of strange turns, in the world's affairs,
Foreseen b’astrologers, sooth-sayers,
Chaldeans, learn’d Genethliacks,
And some that have writ almanacks?
The Median emp’ror dream'd his daughter
Had pist all Asia under water,
And that a vine, sprung from her haunches,
O’erspread his empire with its branches ;
And did not soothsayers expound it,
As after by th’event he found it?
When Cæsar in the senate fell,
Did not the sun eclips’d foretel,
And in resentment of his slaughter,
Look'd pale for almost a year after ?
Augustus having, b' oversight,
Put on his left shoe 'fore his right,
Had like to have been slain that day;
By soldiers mutin’ing for
Are there not myriads of this fort,
Which stories of all times report?
Is it not ominous in all countries,
When crows and ravens croak upon trees?
The Roman senate, when within
The city walls an owl was seen,
Did cause their clergy, with lustrations,
Our fynod calls humiliations,
The round-fac'd prodigy t'avert
From doing town or country hurt.
And if an owl have so much pow'r,
Why should not planets have much more,
That in a region far above
Inferior fowls of the air move,
And should see further, and foreknow
More than their augury below?
Tho' that once serv'd the polity
Of mighty states to govern by;
And this is what we take in hand,
By pow'rful art, to understand;
Which, how we have perform’d, all ages
Can speak th' events of our presages.
Have we not lately in the moon,
Found a new world, to th’ old unknown?
Discover'd fea and land Columbus
And Magellan could never compass ?
Made mountains with our tubes appear,
And cattle grazing on them there?
Quoth Hudibras, you lie so ope,
That I, without a telescope,
Can find your tricks out, and descry
Where you tell truth, and where you lie:
For Anaxagoras long agone,
Saw hills, as well as you, i' th’ moon,
And held the sun was but a piece
Of red hot iron as big as Greece ;
Believ'd the heav'ns were made of stone,
Because the sun had voided one;
And, rather than he would recant
Th' opinion, suffer'd banishment.
But what, alas! is it to us,
Whether ith' moon, men thus or thus
Do eat their porridge, cut their corns,
Or whether they have tails or horns ?
What trade from thence can you advance,
But what we nearer have from France ?
What can our travellers bring home,
That is not to be learnt at Rome?
What politics, or strange opinions,
That are not in our own dominions?
What science can be brought from thence, 755
In which we do not here commence?
What revelations, or religions,
That are not in our native regions ?
Are sweating-lanterns, or screen-fans,
Made better there than they ’re in France ? 760
Or do they teach to sing and play
O'th' guitar there a newer way?