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To whom a thoufand years are but a day;
Who bad the light her genial beams difplay ;
And fet the moon, and taught the fun his way :
Who, waking time, his creature, from the fource
Primæval, order'd his predeftined courfe:
Himfelf, as in the hollow of his hand,
Holding, obedient to his high command,
The deep abyfs, the long continu'd ftore,
Where months, and days, and hours, and minutes
Their floating parts, and thenceforth are no more.
This Alpha and Omega, frft and laft
Who, like a potter in a mold has caft
The world's great fame, commanding it to be
Such as the eyes of fenfe and reafon fee :
Yet if he wills, may change or fpoil the whole ; •
May take yon* beauteous, myftic, ftarry roll, 3
And burn it, like an ufelefs parchment fcroll:
May from its Bafis in one moment pour
This melted earth
Like liquid metal, and like burning ore :
Who fole in power, at the beginning faid;
Let Sea and Air, and Earth and Heaven be made :
And it was fo and when he fhall ordain
In other fort, has but to fpeak again,
And they fhall be no more: of this great theme,
This glorious hallow'd, everlafting name,
"This God I would difcourfe. -
The learned Elders fat appallod, amaz'd ;
And each with mutual look on other gaz'd,
Nor fpeech they meditate, nor anfwer frame:
(Too plain, alas ! their filence fpake their fhame:)
*Till one, in whom an outward mien appear'd,
And turn fuperior to the vulgar herd,
Began; that human learning's furtheft reach
Was but to note the do&trines I could teach ;
That mine to fpeak, and theirs was to obey :
For I in knowledge more, than power did fway:
And the aftonifh'd world in me beheld
Mofes ecclips'd, and JefTe's fon excell'd. -
Humble a fecond bow'd, and took the word ;
Forefaw my name by future age ador'd;
O live, faid he, thou wifeft of the wife !
As none has equallod, none fhall ever rife
Parent of wicked, bane of honeft deeds,
Pernicious fiattery! thy malignant feeds
In an ill hour, and by a fatal hand
Sadly diffus'd o'er Virtue's gleby land,
With rifing pride amidft the corn appear,
And choak the hopes and harveft of the year.
And now the whole perplex'd ignoble crowd
Mute to my queftions, in my praifes loud,
Echo'd the word : whence things arofe, or how
They thus exift, the apteft nothing know :
What yet is not, but is ordain'd to be,
All veil of doubt apart, the dulleft fee.
My prophets, and my fophifts finifh'd here
Their civil efforts ofthe verbal war:
Not fo my rabbins, and logicians yield;
Retiring fiill they combat: from the field
Ofopen arms unwilling thcy depart,
And fculk behind the fubterfuge of art.
To fpeak one thing, mix'd diale&ts they join;
Divide the fimple, and the plain define ;
Fix fancy'd laws, and form imagin'd rules,
Terms of their art, and jargon of their fchools,
Ill-grounded maxims by falfe glofs enlarg'd,
And captious fcience againft reafon charg*d.
Soon their crude notions with each other fought:
The adverfe fe&t deny'd, what this had taught ;
And he at length the ampleft triumph gain'd,
Who contradi&ted what the laft maintain'd.
O wretched impotence of human mind! -
We erring ftill excufe for error find ; }
And darkling grope, not knowing we are blind.
Vain man ! fince firft the blufhing fire effay'd
His folly with conne&ted leaves to fhade ;
How does the crime of thy refembling race
With like attempt that priftine error trace !
Too plain thy nakednefs offoul efpy'd,
Why doft thou ftrive the confcious fhame to hide }
By marks of eloquence, and veils of pride ?
- With outward fmiles their fiattery I receiv* d;
own'd my fick mind by their difcourfe reliev'd;
But bent and inward to myfelf again
Perplex'd, thefe matters I revolv'd in vain.
My fearch ftill tir'd, my labour ftill renew'd,
At length I ignorance, and knowledge view'd,
Impartial; both in equal balance laid ;
Light few the knowing fcale ; the doubtful heavy
Forc'd by refle&ive reafon, I confefs,
That human fcience is uncertain guefs.
Alas! we grafp at clouds, and beat the air,
Vexing that fpirit we intend to clear.
Can thought beyond the bounds of matter climb?
Or who fhall tell me what is fpace or time ?
In vain we lift up our prefumptuous eyes : -
To what our Maker to their ken denies: $
The fearcher follows faft: the obje&t fafter flies.
The little which imperfe&ly we find,
Seduces only the bewilder'd mind
To fruitlefs fearch of fomething yet behind.
Various difcuffions tear our heated brain :
Opinions often turn ; ftill doubts remain ;
And who indulges thought, increafes pain.
How narrow limits were to wifdom given!
Earth fhe furveys ; fhe thence would meafure Heaven:
Through mifts obfcure, now wings her tedious way ;
Now wanders dazled with too bright a day;
And from the fummit of a pathlefs coaft '
Sees Infinite, and in that fight is loft.
Remember, that the curs'd defire to know,
Offspring of AD AM ! was thy fource of woe.
Why wilt thou then renew the vain purfuit,
And rafhly catch at the forbidden fruit?
With empty labour and eluded ftrife
Seeking, by knowledge, to attain to life ;
For ever from that fatal tree debarr'd,
Which fiaming fwords and angry cherubs guard.
I faid in my own heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth ; therefore enjoy pleafure. Ecclefiaftes, chap. II. verf. 1. q. I made me great works, I builded me houfes, I planted me vineyards. Verf. 4. I made me gardens and orchards; and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruit. Verf. 5. I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees. Verf. 6. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: And behold all was vanity, and vexation of fpirit ; and there was no profit under the fun. Verf. I I. I gat me men-fingers and women-fingers, and the delights of the fons of men, as mufical inftruments, and that of all forts. Verf. 8. I fought in mine heart to give myfelf unto wine (yet acquainting mine heart with wifdom) and to lay hold on folly, till I might fee what was that good for the fons of men, which they fhould do under Heavem, ali the day, of their life. Verf. 3. Then faid I in my heart, As it happeneth unto the
fool, fo it happeneth even unto me ; and why was I thefi