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Which o'er them yet does brooding set, They life and motion get, And, ripe at last, with vigorous might Break through the shell, and take their everlasting flight !
And sure we may
The same too of the present say,
If past and future times do thee obey.
Thou stopp'st this current, and dost make
This funning river settle like a lake;
Thy certain hand holds fast this slippery snake!
The fruit which does so quickly waste,
Men scarce can see it, much less taste,
Thou comfitest in sweets to make it last.
This shining piece of ice,
Which melts so soon away
With the sun's ray,
Thy verse does solidate and crystallize,
Till it a lasting mirror bel
Nay, thy immortal rhyme
Makes this one short point of time
To fill up half the orb of round eternity.
VAST bodies of philosophy I oft have seen and read; But all are bodies dead, Or bodies by art fashioned; I never yet the living soul could see, But in thy books and thee! 'Tis only God can know Whether the fair idea thou dost show Agree entirely with his own or no. This I dare boldly tell, *T is so like truth, 't will serve our turn as well. Just, as in Nature, thy proportions be, As full of concord their variety, As firm the parts upon their centre rest, And all so solid are, that they, at least As much as Nature, emptiness detest.
Long did the mighty Stagyrite retain
The universal intellectual reign,
Saw his own country's short-liv'd leopard slain;
The stronger Roman eagle did out-fly,
Oftener renew’d his age, and saw that die.
Mecca itself, in spite of Mahomet, possest,
And, chas'd by a wild deluge from the East,
His monarchy new planted in the West.
But, as in time each great imperial race
Degenerates, and gives some new one placa:
WOL. II. O
So did this noble empire waste, Sunk by degrees from glories past, And in the school-men's hands it perish’d quite at last: Then nought but words it grew, And those all barbarous too: It perish'd, and it vanish'd there, The life and soul, breath'd out, became but empty airl
The fields, which answer'd well the ancients' plough,
Spent and out-worn, return no harvest now ;
In barren age wild and unglorious lie,
And boast of past fertility,
The poor relief of present poverty.
Food and fruit we now must want,
Unless new lands we plant.
We break-up tombs with sacrilegious hands;
Old rubbish we remove;
To walk in ruins, like vain ghosts, we love,
And with fond divining wands
We search among the dead
For treasures buried ;
Whilst still the liberal earth does hold
So many virgin-mines of undiscover'd gold.
The Baltick, Euxine, and the Caspian,
And slender-limb'd Mediterranean,
Seem narrow creeks to thee, and only fit
For the poor wretched fisher-boats of wit:
Thy nobler vessel the vast ocean tries,
And nothing sees but seas and skies,
Till unknown regions it descries,
Thou great Columbus of the golden lands of new phi-
Thy task was harder much than his ;
For thy learn'd America is
Not only found-out first by thee,
And rudely left to future industry ;
But thy eloquence, and thy wit,
Has planted, peopled, built, and civilized, it.
I little thought before (Nor, being my own self so poor, Could comprehend so vast a store) That all the wardrobe of rich Eloquence Could have afforded half enough, Of bright, of new, and lasting stuff, To clothe the mighty limbs of thy gigantick sense. Thy solid reason, like the shield from heaven To the Trojan hero given, Too strong to take a mark from any mortal dart, Yet shines with gold and gems in every part, And wonders on it grav'd by the learn'd hand of Art! A shield that gives delight Ev’n to the enemies' sight, Then, when they’re sure to lose the combat by 't.
Nor can the snow, which cold Age does shed
Upon thy reverend head,
Quench or allay the noble fires within;
But all which thou hast been,
And all that Youth can be, thou’rt yet!
So fully still dost thou
Enjoy the manhood and the bloom of Wit,
And all the natural heat, but not the fever too !
So contraries on AEtna's top conspire;
Here hoary frosts, and by them breaks-out fire!
A secure peace the faithful neighbours keep;
Th’ embolden’d snow next to the flame does sleep
And, if we weigh, like thee,
Nature and Causes, we shall see
That thus it needs must be—
To things immortal, Time can do no wrong,
And that which never is to die, for ever must be
“Hoc quoque Fatale est sic ipsum expendere Fatum.”
STRANGE and unnatural let's stay and see
This pageant of a prodigy.
Lo, of themselves th’ enliven’d Chess-men move 1
Lo, the unbred, ill-organ'd pieces prove