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Do not, if one but lightly thee offend,
The punishment beyond the crime extend;
Ör after warning the offence forget;
So God himself our failings doth remit.
Expect not more from fervants than is juft,'
Reward them well, if they obferve their trust;
Nor them with cruelty or pride invade,
Since God and nature them our brothers made
If his offence be great, let that fuffice;
If light, forgive, for no man's always wife.
THE PROGRESS OF LEARNING.
PRE F A CE.
My early Mistress, now my antient Mufe,
That strong Circæan liquor cease t' infuse,
Wherewith thou didst intoxicate my youth,
Now ftoop with dif-inchanted wings to truth;
As the dove's flight did guide Æneas, now
May thine conduct me to the golden bough;
Tell (like a tall old oak) how learning shoots
To heaven her branches, and to hell her roots.
WHEN God from earth form'd Adam in the eaft,
He his own image on the clay imprest;
As fubjects then the whole creation came,
And from their natures Adam them did name;
Not from experience (for the world was new),
He only from their cause their natures knew.
Had memory been loft with innocence,
We had not known the sentence, nor th' offence;
'Twas his chief punishment to keep in ftore
The fad remembrance what he was before;
And though th' offending part felt mortal pain,
Th' immortal part its knowledge did retain.
After the flood, arts to Chaldæa fell,
The father of the faithful there did dwell,
Who both their parent and inftructor was;
From thence did learning into Egypt pass:
Mofes in all th' Ægyptian arts was skill'd,
When heavenly power that chofen veffel fill'd;
And we to his high inspiration owe,
That what was done before the flood, we know.
From Ægypt, arts their progrefs made to Greece,
Wrapt in the fable of the golden fleece.
Mufæus first, then Orpheus, civilize
Mankind, and gave the world their deities;
To many gods they taught devotion,
Which were the diftinct faculties of one;
Th' eternal caufe, in their immortal lines,
Was taught, and poets were the first divines:
God Mofes first, then David did infpire,
To compofe anthems for his heavenly quire;
To th' one the ftyle of friend he did impart,
On th' other stamp the likeness of his heart :
And Mofes, in the old original,
Even God the poet of the world doth call.
Next those old Greeks, Pythagoras did rife,
Then Socrates, whom th' oracle call'd wife;
The divine Plato moral virtue fhews,
Then his difciple Aristotle rofe,
Who nature's fecrets to the world did teach,
Yet that great foul our novelists impeach;
Too much manuring fill'd that field with weeds,
While fects, like locufts, did destroy the feeds;
The tree of knowledge, blafted by disputes,
Produces faplefs leaves inftead of fruits;
Proud Greece all nations elfe barbarians held,
Boafting her learning all the world excell'd,
Flying from thence, to Italy it came,
And to the realm of Naples gave the name,
Till both their nation and their arts did come
A welcome trophy to triumphant Rome;
Then wherefoever her conquering eagles fled,
Arts, learning, and civility were spread;
And as in this our microcofm, the heart
Heat, fpirit, motion, gives to every part;
So Rome's victorious influence did disperse
All her own virtues through the universe.
Here fome digreffion I muft make, t' accufe
Thee, my forgetful and ingrateful Muse:
Couldst thou from Greece to Latium take thy flight,
And not to thy great ancestor do right?
I can no more believe old Homer blind,
Than thofe, who say the fun hath never fhin'd;
The age wherein he liv'd was dark, but he
Could not want fight, who taught the world to fee:
They who Minerva from Jove's head derive,
Might make old Homer's fkull the Mufes' hive;
And from his brain, that Helicon diftil,
Whose racy liquor did his offspring fill.
Nor old Anacreon, Hefiod, Theocrite,
Muft we forget, nor Pindar's lofty flight.
Old Homer's foul, at last from Greece retir'd,
In Italy the Mantuan fwain infpir'd.
When great Auguftus made wars tempefts cease,
His halcyon days brought forth the arts of peace;
He still in his triumphant chariot fhines,
By Horace drawn, and Virgil's mighty lines.
'Twas certainly mysterious that the * name
Of prophets and of poets is the fame;
What the Tragedian + wrote, the late fuccefs
Declares was infpiration, and not guess:
As dark a truth that author did unfold,
As oracles or prophets e'er foretold :
"At laft the ocean fhall unlock the bound
"Of things, and a new world by Tiphys found,
"Then ages far remote fhall understand
"The ifle of Thule is not the fartheft land."
Sure God, by these discoveries, did defign
That his clear light through all the world should shine, But the obftruction from that difcord fprings
The prince of darkness made 'twixt Christian kings;
That peaceful age with happiness to crown,
From heaven the prince of peace himself came down ;
Then the true fun of knowledge first appear'd,
And the old dark myfterious clouds were clear'd,
The heavy cause of th' old accurfed flood
Sunk in the facred deluge of his blood.
His paffion, man from his first fall redeem'd;
Once more to paradise restor'd we seem'd ;
Satan himself was bound, till th' iron chain
Our pride did break, and let him loose again.
Still the old fting remain'd, and man began
To tempt the ferpent, as he tempted man ;
Then hell fends forth her furies, Avarice, Pride,
Fraud, Discord, Force, Hypocrify, their guide,
* Vates. + Seneca. The Prophecy.