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But much of either would afford
To many, that had not one word.
For Hebrew roots, although they’re found
To flourish most in barren ground,
He had such plenty, as suffic'd
To make some think him circumcis'd : dhe i And truly so he was, perhaps,
Not as a proselyte, but for claps.
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 ;
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 shew why, 85 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. - 90 But, when he pleas’d to shew't, his speech In loftiness of sound was rich; A Babylonish dialect, Which learned pedants much affect : It was a party-colour'd dress
95 Of patch'd and pye-ball’d languages : 'Twas English cut on Greek and Latin, Like fustian heretofore on satin. It had an odd promiscuous tone, As if he had talk'd three parts in one ; 100 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 debas'd 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 harangu'd, but known his phrase,
He would have us'd no other ways.
In mathematics he was greater
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 ev'ry text and gloss over ;
Whate'er the crabbed'st author hath,
He understood b'implicit faith :
Whatever sceptic could inquire for,
For ev'ry 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 serv’d, 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
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 height, Irrefragable ; > Inca
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 scull
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 shew with how small pain
The sores of faith are cur'd again;
Although by woeful 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 dispos’d, could prove it
Below the moon, or else above it: