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Sublime my court with Ophir's treasures bleft,
My name extended to the farthest east,
My body cloath'd with
Strength in my limbs, and beauty in my face,
My shining thought with fruitful notions crown'd,
Quick my invention, and my judgment found.
Arise (I commun'd with myself) arise ;
Think, to be happy; to be great, be wise :
Content of spirit must from science flow;
For 'tis a godlike attribute to know.
I said; and sent my edict through the land, Around
throne the letter'd Rabbins ftand,
Historic leaves revolve, long volumes spread,
The old discoursing, as the younger read :
Attent I heard, propos’d my doubts, and said:
The Vegetable world, each plant and tree,
Its Seed, its name, its nature, its degree
I am allow'd, as Fame reports, to know,
From the fair Cedar, on the craggy brow
Of Lebanon nodding supremely tall,
To creeping Moss, and Hyffop on the wall:
Yet, just and conscious to myself, I find
A thousand doubts oppose the searching mind.
I know not why the Beach delights the glade
With boughs extended, and a rounder shade;
Whilft towering Firs in Conic forms arise,
And with a pointed spear divide the skies:
Nor why again the changing Oak should shed
The yearly honour of his stately head;
Whilst the distinguish'd Yew is ever seen,
Unchang’d his branch, and permanent his green.
Wanting the sun why does the Caltha fade?
Why does the Cyprus flourish in the shade ?
The Fig and Date, why love they to remain
In middle station, and an even plain ;
While in the lower marsh the Gourd is found ;
And while the hill with Olive-shade is crown'd!
Why does one climate, and one soil endue
The blushing Poppy with a crimson hue;
Yet leave the Lilly pale, and tinge the Violet blue?
Why does the fond Carnation love to shoot
A various colour from one parent root ?
While the fantastic Tulip strives to break
In two-fold beauty, and a parted streak?
The twining Jasmine, and the blushing Rose,
With lavish grace their morning scents disclose :
The smelling Tub'rose and Junquil declare,
The stronger impulse of an evening air,
Whence has the tree (resolve me) or the flower
A various instinct, or a diff'rent power ?
Why should one earth, one clime, one stream, one
Raise this to strength, and ficken that to death?
Whence does it happen, that the plant which well We name the Sensitive Tould move and feel? Whence know her leaves to answer her command, And with quick horror fly the neighbouring hand?
Along the funny bank, or watery mead,
Ten thousand stalks their various blossoms spread:
Peaceful and lowly in their native foil,
They neither know to fpin, nor care to toil ;
Yet with confess'd magnificence deride
Our vile attire, and impotence of pride.
The Cowslip smiles, in brighter yellow dress’d,
Than that which veils the nubile virgin's breast :
A fairer red stands blushing in the Rose,
Than that which on the bridegroom's vestment flows.
Take but the humbleft Lilly of the field;
And if our pride will to our reason yield,
It must by sure comparison be shown
That on the regal seat great David's son,
Array'd in all his robes, and types of power,
Shines with less glory, than that simple flower.
Of fishes next, my friends, I would enquire,
How the mute race engender, or respire ;
From the small fry that glide on Jordan's stream
Unmark'd, a multitude without a name,
To that Leviathan, who o'er the seas
Immense rolls onward his impetuous ways,
And mocks the wind, and in the tempest plays.
How they in warlike bands march greatly forth
From freezing waters, and the colder North,
To southern climes directing their career,
Their station changing with th’inverted year.
How all with careful knowledge are endued,
To chuse their proper bed, and wave, and food :
To guard their spawn, and educate their brood.
Of Birds, how each according to her kind
Proper materials for her neft can find,
And build a frame, which deepest thought in man
Would or amend, or imitate in vain.
How in small flights they know to try their young,
And teach the callow child her parent's song.
Why these frequent the plain, and those the wood,
Why every land has her specific brood :
Where the tall Crane, or winding Swallow goes,
Fearful of gathering winds, and falling snows:
If into rocks, or hollow trees they creep,
In temporary death confin'd to sleep;
Or conscious of the coming evil, ily
To milder regions, and a southern sky.
Of beasts and creeping insects shall we trace
The wond'rous nature, and the various race;
Or wild or tame, or friend to man or foe,
Of us what they, or what of them we know?
Tell me, ye ftudious, who pretend to see
Far into nature's bosom, whence the Bee
Was first inform’d her vent'rous flight to steer
Through tractless paths, and an abyfs of air.
Whence the avoids the slimy marsh, and knows
The fertile hills, where sweeter herbage grows,
And honey making flowers their opening buds
How from the thicken'd mist, and setting fun,
Finds she the labour of her day is done?
Who taught her against winds and rain to strive,
To bring her burden to the certain hive,
And through the liquid fields again to pass
Duteous, and hearkening to the founding brass ?
And, O thou sluggard, tell me why the Ant,
'Midst summer's plenty thinks of winter's want:
By constant journies careful to prepare
Her stores; and bringing home the corny ear,
By what instruction does the bite the grain,
Leit hid in earth, and taking root again,
It might elude the foresight of her care?
Distinct in either insect's deed appear
The marks of thought, contrivance, hope, and fear.
Fix thy corporeal, and internal eye On the young Gnat, or new engender'd Fly; On the vile Worm that yesterday began To crawl; thy fellow-creatures, abject man! Like thee they breathe, they move, they taste, they see, They show their paslions by their acts, like thee: Darting their stings, they previously declare Design'd revenge, and fierce intent of war: Laying their eggs, they evidently prove The genial power, and full effects of love. Each then has organs to digest his food, One to beget, and one receive the brood : Has limbs and finews, blood, and heart, and brain, Life and her proper functions to sustain, Tho' the whole fabric smaller than a grain. What more can our pernicious reason grant To the large Whale, or castled Elephant, To those enormous terrors of the Nile, The crested Snake, and long-tail'd Crocodile ;