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Their busy search, and o'er the rubbish mourn.
Then, gathering up with fuperftitious care
Each little fcrap, however foul or torn,

In grave harangues they boldly would declare, This Ennius, Varro; This the Stagirite did wear.


Yet, under names of venerable found,

While o'er the world they ftretch'd their awful rod; Through all the provinces of Learning own'd For teachers of whate'er is wife and good. Alfe from each region to their drad abode Came youth unnumber'd, crowding all to tafte The streams of Science; which united flow'd Adown the mount, from nine rich fources caft; And to the vale below in one rude torrent pafs'd.,


O'er every fource, protectrefs of the stream,
One of thofe Virgin Sifters did prefide;
Who, dignifying with her noble name
Her proper flood, aye pour'd into the tide
The heady vapours of fcholaftic pride
Defpotical and abject, bold and blind,
Fierce in debate, and forward to decide;
Vain love of praife, with adulation join'd,

And difingenuous fcorn, and impotence of mind.

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Extending from the hill on every fide,
In circuit vast a verdant valley spread;
Acrofs whofe uniform flat bofom glide
Ten thousand streams, in winding mazes led,
By various fluices from one common head;
A turbid mafs of waters, vaft, profound,
Hight of Philology the lake; and fed

By that rude torrent, which with roaring found

Came tumbling from the hill, and flow'd the level



And every where this fpacious valley o'er,
Faft by each ftream was feen a numerous throng
Of beardlefs ftriplings to the birch-crown'd shore,
By nurfes, guardians, fathers, dragg'd along:
Who, helpless, meek, and innocent of wrong,
Were torn reluctant from the tender fide


Of their fond mothers, and by faitours ftrong,

By power made infolent, and hard by pride,

Were driven with furious rage, and lafh'd into the tide.


On the rude bank with trembling feet they stood,
And, cafting round their oft-reverted eyes,

If haply they mote 'fcape the hated flood,
Fill'd all the plain with lamentable cries;


Faitour, doer, from faire, to do, and fait, deed,

commonly used by Spenfer in a bad fenfe.

But far away th' unheeding father flies,
Conftrain'd his strong compunctions to reprefs;
While close behind, affuming the disguise

Of nurturing care, and finiling tenderness, With fecret scourges arm'd, thofe griefly faitours prefs.


As on the steepy margin of a brook,

When the young fun with flowery Maia rides :
With innocent dismay a bleating flock

Crowd back, affrighted at the rolling tides :
The fhepherd-fwain at first exhorting chides


Their feely fear; at length impatient grown,

With his rude crook he wounds their tender fides'; And, all regardless of their piteous moan, Into the dashing wave compels them furious down.


Thus urg'd by mastering fear and dolorous † teen
Into the current plung'd that infant crowd.
Right piteous was the fpectacle, I ween,

Of tender striplings stain'd with tears and blood,
Perforce conflicting with the bitter flood;

And labouring to attain the distant shore,
Where holding forth the gown of manhood stood
The fyren Liberty, and ever-more

Solicited their hearts with her inchanting lore.

U 4


*Seely, fimple.

† Teen, pain, grief;


Irkfome and long the paffage was, perplex'd With rugged rocks on which the raving tide By fudden bursts of angry tempefts vex'd Oft dash'd the youth, whofe ftrength mote ill abide With head up-lifted o'er the waves to ride. Whence many wearied ere they had o'er-past The middle ftream (for they in vain have tried) Again return'd * astounded and aghast; Ne one regardful look would ever backward caft.


Some, of a rugged, more enduring frame, Their toilfome courfe with patient pain purfued 5 And, though with many a bruise and † muchiel blame, Eft hanging on the rocks, and eft embrued Deep in the muddy ftream, with hearts fubdued And quail'd by labour, gain'd the shore at last, But in life's practic ‡ lear unskill'd and rude, Forth to that forked hill they filent pac'd; Where hid in ftudious fhades their fruitless hours they wafte.


Others of rich and noble lineage bred,

Though with the crowd to pafs the flood conftrain'd,
Yet o'er the crags with fond indulgence led
By hireling guides and in all depths fuftain'd,


*Aftounded, afonif'd, + Muchel, much. Lear, learning.

Skimm'd lightly o'er the tide, undipt, unftain'd,
Save with the sprinkling of the watery spray :
And 'aye their proud prerogative maintain❜d,
Of ignorance and eafe, and wanton play,
Soft harbingers of vice, and premature decay.


A few, alas, how few! by heaven's high will With fubtle fpirits endow'd and finews strong, * Albe fore+mated by the tempefts fhrill, That bellow'd fierce and rife the rocks among, By their own native vigour borne along Cut briskly through the waves; and, forces new Gathering from toil, and ardor from the throng Of rival youths, outftript the labouring crew, And to the true Parnaffe and heaven-throng'd glory flew.


Dire was the tumult, and from every shore
Difcordant echoes ftruck the deafen'd ear,
Heart-thrilling cries, with fobs and || fingults fore
Short-interrupted, the imploring tear,

And furious ftripes, and angry threats fevere,
Confus'dly mingled with the jarring found
Of all the various fpeeches that § while-ere
On Shinar's wide-fpread champain did astound

High Babel's builders vain, and their proud works


Albe, although.

Parnaffe, Parnaffus.


+ Mated, amazed, fcared. Singults, fighs.

While-ere, formerly.

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