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TEXTS ALLUDED TO IN THIS BOOK.
from the beginning to the end, Eccles. chap. i. ver. 11.
For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge, increaseth sorrow, chap. i. ver. 18.
And further, by these, my son, be admonished; of making many books there is no end : and much study is a weariness of the flesh, chap. xii. ver. 12.
'O Boos golp ovou sxel Troyos N' spy on Texel. Eurip.
Siquis Deus mihi largiatur, ut ex hac ætate repuerascam, et in cunis vagiam, valde recusem.
Cic. de Senect. The bewailing of man's miseries hath been elegantly and copiously set forth by many, in the writings as well of philosophers as divines; and it is both a pleasant and a profitable contemplation.
Lord Bacon's Advancement of Learning.
THE ARGUMENT. Solomon, seeking happiness from knowledge, convenes the learn
ed men of his kingdom; requires them to explain to him the various operations and effects of Nature; discourses of vegeta. bles, animals, and man; proposes some questions concerning the origin and situation of the habitable earth; proceeds to examine the system of the visible heaven; doubts if there may not be a plurality of worlds; inquires into the nature of spirits and angels; and wishes to be more fully informed as to the attributes of the Supreme Being. He is imperfectly answered by the Rabbins and Doctors; blames his own curiosity; and conclu des that, as to human science, ALL IS VANITY,
Ye sons of men with just regard attend,
Destin'd to march, our doubtful steps we tend,
Happiness! object of that waking dream
But, 0! ere yet original man was made,
Born as I was, great David's favourite son,
• Arise (I commun'd with myself) arise,
I said, and sent my edict through the land ;
“The vegetable world, each plant and tree,
I know not why the beach delights the glade,
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 cypress 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 lily pale, and tinge the violet blue? S
Why does the fond carnation love to shoot
Whence does it happen that the plant which well We name the sensitive, should move and feel? Whence know her leaves to answer her command, And with quick horror fly the neighbouring hand?
Along the sunny bank or watery mead, Ten thousand stalks their various blossoms spread ; Peaceful and lowly, in their native soil, They neither know to spin 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 humblest lily 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 inquire : How the mute race engender or respire,