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But the vast ocean of unbounded day
In th' empyraean heaven does stay.
Thy rivers, lakes, and springs, below,
From thence took first their rise, thither at last must
PHILOSOPHY, the great and only heir
Of all that human knowledge which has been
Unforfeited by man's rebellious sin,
Though full of years he do appear
(Philosophy, I say, and call it He;
For, whatsoe'er the painter's fancy be,
It a male-virtue seems to me),
Has still been kept in nonage till of late,
Nor managd or enjoy'd his vast estate.
Three or four thousand years, one would have thought,
To ripeness and perfection might have brought
A science so well bred and nurst,
And of such hopeful parts too at the first:
But, oh! the guardians and the tutors then
(Some negligent and some ambitious men)
Would ne'er consent to set him free,
Or his own natural powers to let him see, }
Lest that should put an end to their authority.
That his own business he might quite forget,
They amus'd him with the sports of wanton wit;
With the desserts of poetry they fed him,
Instead of solid meats t” increase his force;
Instead of vigorous exercise, they led him
Into the pleasant labyrinths of ever-fresh discourse;
Instead of carrying him to see
The riches which do hoarded for him lie
In Nature's endless treasury,
They chose his eye to entertain
(His curious but not covetous eye)
With painted scenes and pageants of the brain.
Some few exalted spirits this latter age has shown,
That labour'd to assert the liberty
(From guardians who were now usurpers grown)
Of this old minor still, captiv'd Philosophy;
But ’t was rebellion call’d, to fight
For such a long-oppressed right.
Bacon at last, a mighty man, arose
(Whom a wise king, and Nature, chose,
Lord chancellor of both their laws),
And boldly undertook the injur'd pupil's cause.
Authority—which did a body boast,
Though 't was but air condens'd, and stalk'd about,
Like some old giant's more gigantick ghost,
To terrify the learned rout
With the plain magick of true Reason's light-
He chac'd out of our sight;
Nor suffer'd living men to be misled
By the vain shadows of the dead;
Tograves, from whence it rose, the conquer'd phan
He broke that monstrous God which stood In midst of th' orchard, and the whole did claim; Which with a useless scythe of wood, And something else not worth a name (Both vast for show, yet neither fit Or to defend, or to beget; Ridiculous and senseless terrors') made Children and superstitious men afraid. The orchard’s open now, and free, Bacon has broke the scare-crow deity: Come, enter, all that will, Behold the ripen'd fruit, come gather now your fill! Yet still, methinks, we fain would be Catching at the forbidden tree— } We would be like the Deity— When truth and falsehood, good and evil, we, Without the senses' aid, within ourselves would see; For ’tis God only who can find All Nature in his mind.
From words, which are but pictures of the thought
(Though weourthoughts from themperversely drew),
To things, the mind's right object, he it brought:
Like foolish birds, to painted grapes we flew ;
He sought and gather'd for our use the true;
And, when on heaps the chosen bunches lay,
He press'd them wisely the mechanick way,
Till all their juice did in one vessel join,
Ferment into a nourishment divine, }
The thirsty soul's refreshing wine.
Who to the life an exact piece would make,
Must not from others' work a copy take;
No, not from Rubens or Vandyke;
Much less content himself to make it like
Th’ ideas and the images which lie
In his own fancy or his memory.
No, he before his sight must place
The natural and living face;
The real object must command
Each judgment of his eye and motion of his hand.
From these and all long errors of the way,
In which our wandering predecessors went,
And, like th' old Hebrews, many years did stray,
In deserts but of small extent,
Bacon, like Moses, led us forth at last:
The barren wilderness he past;
Did on the very border stand
Of the blest promis'd land;
And from the mountain's top of his exalted wit,
Saw it himself, and shew'd us it.
But life did never to one man allow
Time to discover worlds and conquer too;
Nor can so short a line sufficient be
To fathom the vast depths of Nature's sea.
The work he did we ought to admire;
And were unjust if we should more require
From his few years, divided 'twixt th' excess
Of low affliction and high happiness:
For who on things remote can fix his sight,
That’s always in a triumph or a fight
From you, great champions! we expect to get
These spacious countries, but discover'd yet;
Countries, where yet, instead of Nature, we
Her images and idols worshipp'd see:
These large and wealthy regions to subdue,
Though Learning has whole armies at command,
Quarter'd about in every land,
A better troop she ne'er together drew :
Methinks, like Gideon's little band,
God with design has pick'd out you,
To do those noble wonders by a few :
When the whole host he saw, “They are" (said he)
“Too many to o'ercome for me;”
And now he chooses out his men,
Much in the way that he did then;
Not those many whom he found
Idly' extended on the ground,
To drink with their dejected head
The stream, just so as by their mouths it fled:
No ; but those few who took the waters up,
And made of their laborious hands the cup.
Thus you prepar'd, and in the glorious fight
Their wondrous pattern too you take;
Their old and empty pitchers first they brake,
And with their hands then lifted up the light.
Io sound too the trumpets here !
Already your victorious lights appear;
New scenes of heaven already we espy,
And crowds of golden worlds on high,