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Torquato Taffo; which fhews that the age they lived in was not fo unlearned as that which preceded, or that which followed.

The author wrote upon the four Cardinal Virtues; but

I have tranflated only the two firft, not to turn the kindness I intended to him into an injury; for the two laft are little more than repetitions and recitals of the first; and (to make a just excuse for him) they could not well be otherwise, since the two laft virtues are but defcendants from the first; Prudence being the true mother of Temperance, and true Fortitude the child of Justice.


IS DOM's firft progrefs is, to take a view
What's decent or indecent, falfe or true.
He's truly prudent, who can feparate
Honeft from vile, and ftill adhere to that;
Their difference to measure, and to reach,
Reafon well rectify'd must nature teach.
And these high fcrutinies are fubjects fit
For man's all-fearching and enquiring wit;
That search of knowledge did from Adam flow;
Who wants it, yet abhors his wants to show.
Wisdom of what herfelf approves, makes choice,
Nor is led captive by the common voice.
Clear-fighted Reafon Wisdom's judgment leads,
And Senfe, her vaffal, in her footsteps treads.
That thou to Truth the perfect way may'st know,
To thee all her specific forms I'll show;


He that the way to honefty will learn,
Firft what's to be avoided muft difcern.
Thyself from flattering self-conceit defend,
Nor what thou doft not know, to know pretend.
Some fecrets deep in abftrufe darkness lie;
To fearch them thou wilt need a piercing eye.
Nor rafhly therefore to such things affent,
Which undeceiv'd, thou after may'st repent;
Study and time in these muft thee inftruct,
And others old experience may conduct.
Wisdom herself her ear doth often lend
To counfel offer'd by a faithful friend.
In equal scales two doubtful matters lay,

Thou may'st chuse safely that which most doth weigh; 'Tis not fecure, this place or that to guard,

If any other entrance ftand unbarr'd;

He that escapes the ferpent's teeth may fail,
If he himself fecures not from his tail.
Who faith, who could fuch ill events expect?
With fhame on his own counfels doth reflect.
Most in the world doth felf-conceit deceive,
Who juft and good, whate'er they act, believe;
To their wills wedded, to their errors flaves,
No man (like them) they think himself behaves.
This ftiff-neck'd pride nor art nor force can bend,
Nor high-flown hopes to Reafon's lure defcend.
Fathers fometimes their children's faults regard
With pleasure, and their crimes with gifts reward.
Ill painters, when they draw, and poets write,
Virgil and Titian (felf admiring) flight;


Then all they do, like gold and pearl appears,
And other actions are but dirt to theirs.
They that fo highly think themselves above
All other men, themselves can only love;
Reason and virtue, all that man can boast
O'er other creatures, in those brutes are loft.
Obferve (if thee this fatal error touch,
Thou to thyfelf contributing too much)
Those who are generous, humble, just, and wise,
Who not their gold, nor themselves idolize;
To form thyfelf by their example learn
(For many eyes can more than one difcern);
But yet beware of counfels when too full,

Number makes long difputes and graveness dull;
Though their advice be good, their counsel wife,
Yet length ftill lofes opportunities :

Debate destroys difpatch; as fruits we fee
Rot, when they hang too long upon the tree;
In vain that husbandman his feed doth fow,
If he his crop not in due feafon mow.
A general fets his army in array

In vain, unless he fight, and win the day.
'Tis virtuous action that must praise bring forth,
Without which flow advice is little worth.
Yet they who give good counsel, praise deserve,
Though in the active part they cannot serve :
In action, learned counsellors their age,
Profeffion, or disease, forbids t' engage.
Nor to philofophers is praise deny'd,
Whose wife inftructions after-ages guide;


Yet vainly moft their age in study spend;
No end of writing books, and to no end :

Beating their brains for strange and hidden things,
Whose knowledge, nor delight, nor profit brings;
Themselves with doubt both day and night perplex,
Nor gentle reader please, or teach, but vex.
Books fhould to one of these four ends conduce,
For wisdom, piety, delight, or use.

What need we gaze upon the spangled sky?
Or into matter's hidden caufes pry?
To defcribe every city, ftream, or hill

I' th' world, our fancy with vain arts to fill?
What is 't to hear a sophister, that pleads,
Who by the ears the deceiv'd audience leads?
If we were wife, these things we should not mind,
But more delight in eafy matters find.

Learn to live well, that thou may'ft die fo too;
To live and die is all we have to do:

The way (if no digreffion 's made) is even,
And free accefs, if we but afk, is given.

Then feek to know thofe things which make us bleft,
And having found them, lock them in thy breast ;
Enquiring then the way, go on, nor flack,
But mend thy pace, nor think of going back.
Some their whole age in thefe enquiries wafte,
And die like fools before one step they 've past;
'Tis ftrange to know the way, and not t' advance,
That knowledge is far worse than ignorance.
The learned teach, but what they teach, not do;
And fstanding still themselves, make others go.

In vain on study time away we throw,

When we forbear to act the things we know.
The foldier that philofopher well blam'd,
Who long and loudly in the schools declaim'd;
Tell (faid the foldier) venerable fir,

Why all these words, this clamour, and this ftir ?
Why do difputes in wrangling spend the day?
Whilft one fays only yea, and t'other nay.
Oh, faid the doctor, we for wisdom toil'd,

For which none toils too much: the foldier fmil'd;
You 're grey and old, and to fome pious use
This mass of treasure you should now reduce :
But you your store have hoarded in fome bank,
For which th' infernal spirits shall you thank.
Let what thou learneft be by practice shown,
'Tis faid that wifdom's children make her known.
What's good doth open to th' enquirer ftand,
And itself offers to th' accepting hand;
All things by order and true measures done,
Wisdom will end, as well as fhe begun.
Let early care thy main concerns fecure,
Things of lefs moment may delays endure:
Men do not for their fervants first prepare,
And of their wives and children quit the care;
Yet when we 're fick, the doctor's fetcht in hafte,
Leaving our great concernment to the last.

When we are well, our hearts are only fet
(Which way we care not) to be rich, or great;
What fhall become of all that we have got;
We only know that us it follows not;


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