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AM ODE, WRITTEN IN 1688, AS AN 1.xercCISE AT sT. JoHN's COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE.
AN! foolish man Scarce know'st thou how thyself began; N Scarce hast thou thought enough to prove thou art; . Yet steel'd with studied boldness, thou dar'st try To send thy doubting reason's dazzled eye Through the mysterious gulf of vast immensity. Much thou canst there discern, much thence impart. Wain wretch! suppress thy knowing pride; Mortify thy learned lust! Wain are thy thoughts, while thou thyself art dust.
Let Wot her sails, her oars let Wisdom lend; ii The helm let politic Experience guide:
Yet cease to hope thy short-liv'd bark shall ride
With daring pride and insolent delight
Say, why should the collected main Itself within itself contain 2 Why to its caverns should it sometimes creep, And with delighted silence sleep On the lov’d bosom of its parent deep? 36. Why should its numerous 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 rising surges spread Their op'ning ranks o'er earth's submissive head, Marching through different paths to different lands?
Why does the constant sun With measur'd steps his radiant journeys run? Why does he order the diurnal hours 40 To leave earth's other part, and rise in ours ? Why does he wake the correspondent moon, And fill her willing lamp with liquid light,
Commanding her with delegated powers
Man does with dangerous curiosity
On earth, in air, amidst the seas and skies,
(That feeble engine of his reasoning war, Which guideshis 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 live. 80 Through either ocean, foolish man That pregnant word sent forth again, Might to a world extend each atom there; For every drop call forth a sea, a heaven for every Star.
Let cunning Earth her fruitful wonders hide; And only lift thy staggering reason up To trembling Calvary's astonish'd top; Then mock thy knowledge, and confound thy pride, Explaining how Perfection suffer'd pain, Almighty languish'd, and Eternal died: 90 How by her patient victor Death was slain; And earth profan'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 thyself, that thou may'st rise; To look to Heaven, be blind to all below.
Then Faith, for Reason’sglimmering light,shall give Her immortal perspective; 101 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 could invent So politic an instrument, To reach the Heaven of Heavens, the high abode, Where Moses 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, 110 Which Faith had dictated, and Angels trod.
TO THE COUNTESS OF EXETER,”
PLAYING ON THE LUTE.
foLIAT charms you have, from what high . . race you sprung, Have been the pleasing subjects of my Song: Unskill'd and young, yet something still I writ, Of Candish beauty join'd to Cecil's wit. But when you please to show the lab’ring Muse What greater theme your music can produce, My babbling praises I repeat no more,
* Anne, daughter of William Earl of Devonshire, and sister to the first Duke of Devonshire, widow also to Charles Lord Rich, was married to John Cecil Lord Burleigh, afterwards Earl of Exeter; she attended her lord upon all his travels, and was present when he died, August 29, 1700, at a village called Issy, near Paris, and surviving him till the 18th of June, 1703, the remains of both were deposited at St. Martin's, Stamford, where a magnificent monument, brought among other curious works from Rome, is erected to their memory.