« PreviousContinue »
• XI. He pass'd the Moon and Planets, and did fright All the Worlds there, which at this Meteor gaz'd,
And their Aftrologers amaz'd
With th' unexampled Sight.
But where he stopt will ne'er be known,
Till Phænix Nature, aged grown,
To'a better Being dò afpire,
And mount her felf, like him, t' Eternity in Fire.
On Exodus 111. 14. I AM THAT I AM.
An O DE
By Mr. PRIOR.
M AN! Foolish Man!
1 Scarce know'st thou how thy self began; Scarce haft thou Thought enough to prove thou art; Yet, fteel'd with study': Boldness, thou dar'lt try To send thy doubting Reason's dazzled Eye Through the mysterious Gulph of vaft Immenfity. Much thou canit there discern, much thence impart. Vain Wretch ! suppress thy knowing Pride;
Mortify thy learned Luft:
Vain are thy Thoughts, while thou thy self art Duft.
Let Wit her Sails, her Oars let Wisdom lend;
The Helm let politick Experience guide :
Yet cease to hope thy short-liv'd Bark shall ride
Down spreading Fate's unnavigable Tide.
What, tho' Atill it farther tend ?
Still 'tis farther from its End;
And in the Bosom of that boundless Sea,
Still finds its Error lengthen with its Way.
IH, With daring Pride, and infolent Delight, Your Doubts resolv'd you boast, your Labours crown'd; And, "ETPHEKA your God, forsooth, is found Incomprehensible and Infinite. But is he therefore found ? Vain Searcher ! no : Let your imperfect Definition show, That nothing you, the weak Definer, know.
IV. . . .
Say, why should the collected Main
It self within it self contain ?
Why to its Caverns shou'd it sometimes creep,
· And with delighted Silence sleep
On the lov'd Bofom of its Parent Deep?.
Why shou'd its num'rous Waters stay !
In comely Discipline, and fair Array,
'Till Winds and Tides exert their high Command ?
Then, prompt and ready to obey,
Why do the rifing Surges spread
Their op'ning Ranks o'er Earth's fubmiffive Head,
Marching thro' diff'rent Paths to diff'rent Lands
; ; : . V.
Why does the conftant Sun
With measur'd Steps his radiant Journeys run ?
Why does he order the diurnal Hours,
To leave Earth's other Part, and rise in ours ?
Why does he wake the correfpondent Moon,
And fill her willing Lamp with liquid Light,
Commanding her with delegated Pow'rs
To beautify the World, and bless the Night ?
Why does each animated Star
Love the juft Limits of its proper Sphere ?
Why does each consenting Sign
With prudent Harmony combine
In turns to move, and subsequent appear,
To gird the Globe, and regulate the Year?
Man does with dang'rous Curiosity
These unfathom'à Wonders try :
With fanfy'd Rules and arbitrary Laws
Matter and Motion he restrains ;
And ftudy'd Lines and fi&tious Circles draws :
Then, with imagin'd Sovereignty,
Lord of his new HYPOTHESIS he reigns.
He reigns : How long ? till some Usurper rise ;
And he too, mighty thoughtful, mighty wise,
Studies new Lines, and other Circles feigns.
From this laft Toil again what Knowledge flows?
Just as much, perhaps, as shows
That all his Predeceffor's Rules
Were empty Cant, all Ja BGON of the Schools ;
That he on t'other's Ruin rears his Throne ;
And shows his Friend's Mistake, and thenceconfirms his own.
On Earth, in Air, amidst the Seas and Skies,
Mountainous Heaps of Wonders rise;
Whose tow’ring Strength will ne'er submit
To Reason's Batteries, or the Mines of Wit : B
Yet ftill enquiring, still miftaking Man,"
Each Hour repuls d, each Hour dares onward press;
And levelling at GOD, his wandring Guess,
(That feeble Engine of his reasoning War,
Which guides his Doubts, and combats his Despair).
Laws to his Maker the learn'd Wretch can give :
Can bound that Nature, and prescribe that Will,
Whose pregnant WORD did either Ocean fill; Can tell us whence all Beings are, and how they move, and Thro’ejther Ocean, foolish Man!
(live. That pregnant Word sent forth again, Might to a World extend each A Tom there ; For every Drop call forth a Sea, a Heav'n for every Star.
Let cunning Earth her fruitful Wonders hide ;
And only lift thy staggering Reason up
To trembling CALVAR Y's astonish'd Top;
Then mock thy Knowledge, and confound thy Pride,
Explaining how Perfection suffer'd Pain,
Almighty languish'd, and Eternal dy'd :
How by her Patient Victor Death was slain;
And Earth prophan'd, yet bless’d with Deicide.
Then down with all thy boasted Volumes, down;
Only reserve the Sacred One;
Low, reverently low,
Make thy stubborn Knowledge bow ;
Weep out thy Reason's and thy Body's Eyes;
Deject' thy felf, that Thou may ft rife
To look to Heav'n, be blind to all below.
Then Faith, for Reason's glimmering Light, shall give
Her immortal Perspective;
And Grace's Presence Nature's Loss retrieve :
Then thy enliven'd Soul shall see,
That all the Volumes of Philosophy,
With all their Comments, never cou'd invent
So politick an Instrument,
To reach the Heav'n of Heav'ns, the high Abode,
Where Mos e s places his mysterious God,
As was that Ladder which old JACOB rear'd,
When Light Divine had human Darkness clear'd;
And his enlarg'd Ideas found the Road,
Which Faith had dietated, and Angels trod.
A Paraphrase on the xirth Chapter of the
Firft Epiftle to the CORINTHIANS.
ID sweeter Sounds adorn my flowing Tongue
Than ever Man pronounc'd, or Angel fung;
Had I all Knowledge, human and divine,
That Thought can reach, or Science can define ;
And had I Pow'r to give that Knowledge Birth,
In all the Speeches of the babbling Earth :
Did Shadrach's Zeal my glowing Breast inspire,
To weary Tortures, and rejoice in Fire ;
Or had I Faith like that which Israel saw,
When Mofes gave them Miracles and Law :
Yet, gracious CHARITY, indulgent Guest,
Were not thy Pow'r exerted in my Breast;
Those Speeches would send up unheeded Pray's,
That Scurn of Life would be but wild Despair :
A Timbal's Sound were better than my Voice;
My Faith were Form, my Eloquence were Noise.
CHARITY, decent, modeft, easy, kind,
Softens the high, and rears the abject Mind;
Knows with just Reins and gentle hand to guide,
Betwixt vile Shame and arbitrary Pride.
Not soon provok’d, she easily forgives ;
And much she suffers, as the much believes.
Soft Peace she brings wherever she arrives :
She builds our Quier, as the forms our Lives;
Lays the rough Paths of peevish Nature even
And opens in each Heart a little Heaven.
Each other Gift, which GOD on Man bestows,
Its proper Bounds and due Reflection knows ;
To one fixt Purpose dedicates its Pow'r ;
And finishing its A&, exifts no more.
Thus, in Obedience to what Heav'n decrees,
Knowledge shall fail, and Prophecy shall cease :
But lasting CHARIT Y's more ample Sway,
Nor bound by Time, nor subject to Decay,
In happy Triumph shall for ever live,
And endless Good diffuse, and endless Praise receive.
As thro' the Artift's intervening Glass,
Our Eye observes the diftant Planets pass;
A little we discover, but allow, i
That more remains unseen than Art can show :
So whilft our Mind its Knowledge wou'd improve,
(Its feeble Eye, intent on Things above)
High as we may, we lift our Reason up,
By Faith directed, and confirm'd by HOPE :
Yet are we able only to survey
Dawnings of Beams, and Promises of Day.
Heav'n's fuller Effluence mocks our dazzlá Sight,
Too great its Swiftness, and too strong its Light.
• But soon the mediate Clouds shall be difpellid:
The Sun shall soon be Face to Face beheld,
In all his Robes, with all his Glory on,
Seated sublime on his meridian Throne.