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kindly throw in a little figure,
And set the price upon the bigger ?
Those who could never read the grammar,
When my dear volumes touch the hammer,
May think books best, as richest bound;
My copper medals by the pound
May be with learned justice weigh'd ;
To turn the balance, Otho's head
May be thrown in; and, for the metal,
The coin may mend a tinker's kettle-
“ Tir'd with these thoughts” -“ Less tir'd

than I,"
Quoth Dick, “ with your philosophy
That people live and die, I knew
An hour ago, as well as you.
And, if Fate spins us longer years,
Or is in haste to take the shears.
I know we must both fortunes try,
And bear our evils, wet or dry.
Yet, let the goddess smile or frown,
Bread we shall eat, or white or brown;
And in a cottage, or a court,
Drink fine champaigne, or muddled porto
What need of books these truths to tell,
Which folks perceive who cannot spell ?
And must we spectacles apply,
To view what hurts our naked eye!

“ Sir, if it be your wisdom's aim
To make me merrier than I am,
I'll be all night at your devotion -
Come on, friend, broach the pleasing notion;

But, if you would depress my thought,
Your system is not worth a groat

For Plato's fancies what care I ?
I hope you would not have me die,
Like simple Cato in the play,
For any thing that he can say:
E'en let him of ideas speak
To heathens in his native Greek.
If to be sad is to be wise,
I do most heartily despise
Whatever Socrates has said,
Or Tully writ, or Wanley read.

“ Dear Drift *, to set our matters right,
Remove these papers from my sight;
Burn Mat's Des-cart, and Aristotle :
Here! Jonathan, your master's bottle."

• Mr. Prior's secretary and executor.






Ο Βίος γαρ όνομ' έχει, πόνος δ' έργω σίλει.

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 has been elegantly

and copiously set forth by many in the writings as well of philosophers as divines; and is both a pleasant and a profitable contemplation.



Texts chiefly alluded to in Book 1. « The words of the Preacher the son of David,

king of Jerusalem."— Eccles. chap. i. ver. 1. “ Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of

vanities, all is vanity.”- Ver. 2. “ I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo,

I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge."Ver. 16.

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" He spake of trees, from the cedar-tree that is in

Lebanon, even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall : he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes."

1 Kings, chap. iv. ver. 33. " I know, that whatsoever God doeth, it shall be

for ever : nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it; and God doeth it, that men should

fear before him.” — Eccles. chap. iii. ver. 14. “ He hath made every thing beautiful in his time :

also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh

from the beginning to the end.” Ver. 11. “ For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that

increaseth knowledge, increaseth sorrow.”

Ch. 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.”- Ch. xii. Ver. 12.

The Argument. Solomon, seeking happiness from knowledge, con

venes the learned men of his kingdom; requires them to explain to him the various operations and effects of Nature; discourses of vegetables, 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 concludes, that, as to human science, All is vanity.

Ye sons of men, with just regard attend,
Observe the preacher, and believe the friend,
Whose serious Muse inspires him to explain,
That all we act, and all we think, is vain ;
That, in this pilgrimage of seventy years,
O'er rocks of perils, and through vales of tears,
Destin'd to march, our doubtful steps we tend,
Tir'd with the toil, yet fearful of its end :
That from the womb we take our fatal shares
Of follies, passions, labours, tumults, cares ;
And, at approach of Death, shall only know
The truth, which from these pensive numbers flow,
That we pursue false joy, and suffer real woe.

Happiness, object of that waking dream,
Which we call life, mistaking : fugitive theme
Of my pursuing verse, ideal shade,
Notional good, by fancy only made,
And by tradition nurs’d, fallacious fire,
Whose dancing beams mislead our fond desire,
Cause of our care, and errour of our mind;
Oh! hadst thou ever been by Heaven design'd
To Adam, and his mortal race; the boon
Entire had been reserv'd for Solomon :
On me the partial lot had been bestow'd,
And in my cup the golden draught had flow'd.

But O! ere yet original man was made,
Ere the foundations of this Earth were laid,

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