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A just deportment, manners grac'd with ease,
The carriage bowls along, and all are pleas'd Ii Tom be sober, and the wheels well greas'd ; But, if the rogue have gone a cup too far, Left out his linch-pin, or forgot his tar, It suffers interruption and delay, And meets with hinderance in the smoothest way. When some hypothesis, absurd and vain, Has fill'd with all its fumes a critic's brain, The text that sorts not with his darling whim, Though plain to others, is obscure to him. The will made subject to a lawless force, All is irregular, and out of course ;
And judgment drunk, and brib'd to lose his way, Winks hard, and talks of darkness at noon day,
A critic on the sacred book should be
How shall I speak thee, or thy power address,
No wild enthusiast ever yet could rest Till half mankind were like himself possess'd. Philosophers, who darken and put out Eternal truth by everlasting doubt ; Church quacks, with passions under no command, Who fill the world with doctrines contraband, Discoveries of they know not what, confin'd Within no bounds--the blind that lead the blind;
To streams of popular opinion drawn,
Fresh confidence the speculatist takes
Whoever errs, the priest can ne'er be wrong,
Ye ladies ! (for, indifferent in your cause,
None but an author knows an author's caresy Or fancy's fondness for the child she bears. Committed once into the public arms, The baby seems to smile with added charms; Like something precious ventur'd far from shore, 'Tis valued for the danger's sake the more. He views it with complacency supreme, Solicits kind attention to his dream; And daily, more enamour'd of the cheat, Kneels, and asks Heaven to bless the dear deceit. So one, whose story serves at least to show Men lov'd their own productions long ago, Woo'd an unfeeling statue for his wife, Nor rested till the gods had given it life. If some mere driveller suck the sugar'd fib, One that still needs his leading-string and bib, And praise his genius, he is soon repaid In praise applied to the same part-his head. For 'tis a rule, that holds forever true, Grant me discernment, and I grant it you.
Patient of contradiction, as a child Affable, humble, diffident, and mild ; Such was Sir Isaac, and such Boyle and Locke ; Your blunderer is as sturdy as a rock. The creature is so sure to kick and bite, A muleteer's the man to set him right. First appetite enlists him truth's sworn foe, Then obstinate self-will confirms him so. . Tell him he wanders ; that his error leads To fatal ills ; that though the path he treado Be flowery, and he see no cause of fear, Death and the pains of hell attend him there ; In vain ; the slave of arrogance and pride, He has no hearing on the prudent side. His still refuted quirks he still repeats ; New rais'd objections with new quibbles meets ; Till, sinking in the quicksand he defends, He dies disputing, and the contest endsBut not the mischiefs : they, still left behindi, Like thistle seeds are sown by every wind.
Thus men go wrong with an ingenious skill ; Bend the straight rule to their own crooked will ; And, with a clear and shining lamp supplied, First put it out, then take it for a guide. Halting on crutches of unequal size ; One leg by truth supported, one by lies ; They sidle to the goal with awkward pace, Secure of nothing—but to lose the race.