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If therefore, as we must suppose, They came from singers, and from toes; Or toes, or fingers, in this case, Of Num-scull's self should take the place: Disputing fair, you grant thus much, That all sensation is but touch. Dip but your toes into cold water, Their correspondent teeth will chatter: And, strike the bottom of your feet, You set your head into a heat. The bully beat, and happy lover, Confess, that feeling lies all over.
Note here, Lucretius dares to teach
(As all our youth may learn from Creech)
That eyes were made, but could not view ;
Nor hands embrace, nor feet pursue:
But heedless Nature did produce
The members first, and then the use.
What each must act was yet unknown,
Till all is moved by chance alone.
A man first builds a country-seat,
Then finds the walls not good to eat.
Another plants, and wondering sees
Nor books nor medals on the trees.
Yet poet and philosopher
Was he, who durst such whims aver.
Blest, for his sake, be human reason,
That came at all, though late in season.
But no man sure e'er left his house,
And saddled Ball with thoughts so wild, WOL. II. 3
To bring a midwife to his spouse,
Before he knew she was with child.
And no man ever reap'd his corn,
Or from the oven drew his bread,
Ere hinds and bakers yet were born,
That taught them both to sow and knead.
Before they're ask'd, can maids refuse 2
Can—Pray, says Dick, hold in your Muse.
While you Pindaric truths rehearse,
She hobbles in alternate verse.
Verse! Mat replied; is that my care?
Go on, quoth Richard, soft and fair.
This looks, friend Dick, as Nature had
But exercis’d the salesman's trade :
As if she haply had set down,
And cut out clothes for all the town ;
Then sent them out to Monmouth-street,
To try what persons they would fit;
But every free and licens’d tailor
Would in this thesis find a failure.
Should whims like these his head plerplex,
How could he work for either sex;
His clothes, as atoms might prevail,
Might fit a pismire, or a whale.
No, no; he views with studious pleasure
Your shape, before he takes your measure.
For real Kate he made the bodice,
And not for an ideal goddess.
No error near his shopboard lurk'd :
He knew the folks for whom he work'd :
Still to their size he aim’d his skill:
Else, prithee, who would pay his bill?
Next, Dick, if chance herself should vary,
Observe, how matters would miscarry:
Across your eyes, friend, place your shoes;
Your spectacles upon your toes:
Then you and Memmius shall agree,
How nicely men would walk, or see.
But wisdom, peevish and cross-grain'd,
Must be oppos'd, to be sustain'd.
And still your knowledge will increase,
As you make other people's less.
In arms and science 'tis the same;
Our rival's hurts create our fame.
At Faubert's, if disputes arise
Among the champions for the prize,
To prove who gave the fairer butt,
John shows the chalk on Robert's coat.
So, for the honour of your book,
It tells where other folks mistook ;
And, as their notions you confound,
Those you invent get farther ground.
The commentators on old Ari-
stotle ('tis urg'd) in judgment vary:
They to their own conceits have brought
The image of his general thought;
Just as the melancholic eye
Sees fleets and armies in the sky;
And to the poor apprentice ear
The bells sound, “Whittington lord mayor.”
The conjuror thus explains his scheme;
Thus spirits walk, and prophets dream ;
North Britons thus have second-sight;
And Germans, free from gun-shot, fight.
Theodoret and Origen,
And fifty other learned men,
Attest, that, if their comments find
The traces of their master’s mind,
Alma can ne'er decay nor die:
This flatly tother sect deny;
Simplicius, Theophrast, Durand,
Great names, but hard in verse to stand.
They wonder men should have mistook
The tenets of their master's book;
And hold, that Alma yields her breath,
O'ercome by age, and seiz'd by death.
Now which were wise 2 and which were fools?
Poor Alma sits between two stools:
The more she reads, the more perplext;
The comment ruining the text:
Now fears, now hopes, her doubtful fate:
But, Richard, let her look to that—
Whilst we our own affairs pursue.
These different systems, old or new,
A man with half an eye may see,
Were only form'd to disagree.
Now, to bring things to fair conclusion,
And save much Christian ink's effusion,
Let me propose a healing scheme,
And sail along the middle stream :
For, Dick, if we could reconcile
Old Aristotle with Gassendus,
How many would admire our toil!
And yet how few would comprehend us!
Here, Richard, let my scheme commence;
Oh! may my words be lost in sense :
While pleas'd Thalia deigns to write
The slips and bounds of Alma's flight.
My simple system shall suppose,
That Alma enters at the toes;
That then she mounts by just degrees
Up to the ankles, legs and knees;
Next, as the sap of life does rise,
She lends her vigour to the thighs;
And, all these under-regions past,
She nestles somewhere near the waist;
Gives pain or pleasure, grief or laughter;
As we shall show at large hereafter.
Mature, if not improv’d by time,
Up to the heart she loves to climb :
From thence, compell’d by craft and age,
She makes the head her latest stage.
From the feet upward to the head—
Pithy and short, says Dick, proceed.
Dick, this is not an idle notion ;
Observe the progress of the motion.
First, I demonstratively prove
That feet were only made to move;
And legs desire to come and go,
For they have nothing else to do.