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There, at one passage, oft you might survey
A lie and truth contending for the way:
And long 'twas doubtful, though so closely pent,
Which first should issue through the narrow vent.
At last agreed, together out they fly,
Inseparable now the truth and lie:
The strict companions are for ever join'd,!
And this or that unmix'd no mortal e'er shall find.
Temple of Fame.
Who first taught souls enslaved, and realms undone, The enormous faith of
made for one ;
That proud exception to all nature's laws,
To invert the world, and counterwork its cause?
Force first made conquest, and that conquest law,
Till superstition taught the tyrant awe,
Then shared the tyranny, then lent it aid,
And gods of conquerors, slaves of subjects made.
She, midst the lightning's blaze and thunder's sound,
When rock'd the mountains, and when groan'd the
She taught the weak to bend, the proud to pray,
To power unseen, and mightier far than they :
She, from the rending earth and bursting skies,
Saw gods descend, and fiends infernal rise !
Here fix'd the dreadful, there the blest abodes.
Fear made her devils, and weak Hope her gods,-
Gods partial, changeful, passionate, unjust,
Whose attributes were rage, revenge, and lust,
Such as the souls of cowards might conceive,
And, form'd like tyrants, tyrants would believe.
Zeal then, not charity, became the guide;
And hell was built on spite, and heaven on pride.
Then sacred seem'd the ethereal vault no more :
Altars grew marble then, and reek'd with gore.
Then first the flamen tasted living food,
Next his grim idol smear'd with human blood :
With Heaven's own thunders shook the world below,
And play'd the god an engine on his foe.
Essay on Man.
For forms of government let fools contest:
Whate'er is best administer'd is best.
For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight,
His can't be wrong whose life is in the right.
In faith and hope the world will disagree,
But all mankind's concern is charity:
All must be false, that thwarts this one great end;
And all of God, that bless mankind or mend.
'Tis hard to say, if greater want of skill
Appear in writing, or in judging ill :
But, of the two, less dangerous is the offence
To tire our patience than mislead our sense.
Some few in that, but numbers err in this :
Ten censure wrong for one who writes amiss.
A fool might once himself alone expose,
Now one in verse makes many more in prose.
'Tis with our judgments as our watches : none
Go just alike, yet each believes his own.
In poets as true genius is but rare,
True taste as seldom is the critic's share :
Both must alike from Heaven derive their light,
These born to judge, as well as those to write.
Let such teach others who themselves excel,
And censure freely who have written well.
Authors are partial to their wit, 'tis true ;
But are not critics to their judgment too?
Yet if we look more closely, we shall find
Most have the seeds of judgment in their mind.
Nature affords at least a glimmering light;
The lines, though touch'd but faintly, are drawn right.
But, as the slightest sketch, if justly traced,
Is, by ill colouring, but the more disgraced,
So, by false learning, is good sense defaced :
Some are bewilder'd in the maze of schools,
And some made coxcombs nature meant but fools.
Essay on Criticism.
Of all the causes which conspire to blind
Man's erring judgment, and misguide the mind,
What the weak head with strongest bias rules
Is pride, the never-failing vice of fools.
Whatever nature has in worth denied,
She gives in large recruits of needful pride!
For as in bodies, thus in souls, we find,
What wants in blood and spirits, swell’d with wind.
Pride, where wit fails, steps in to our defence,
And fills up all the mighty void of sense.
If once right reason drives that cloud away,
Truth breaks upon us with resistless day.
Trust not yourself; but, your defects to know,
Make use of every friend and every foe.
A little learning is a dangerous thing !
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
Fired at first sight with what the Muse imparts,
In fearless youth we tempt the heights of arts;
While, from the bounded level of our mind,
Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind.
But more advanced, behold with strange s'ırprise,
New distant scenes of endless science rise !
So, pleased, at first the towering Alps we try,
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky!
The eternal snows appear already pass’d,
And the first clouds and mountains seem the last :
But, those attain'd, we tremble to survey
The growing labours of the lengthen'd way.
The increasing prospect tires our wand'ring eyes-
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise !
DESCEND, ye Nine : descend and sing ;
The breathing instruments inspire ;
Wake into voice each silent string,
And sweep the sounding lyre !
In sadly-pleasing strain,
Let the warbling lute complain:
Let the loud trumpet sound,
Till the roofs all around
The shrill echoes rebound :
While in more lengthen'd notes and slow,
The deep, majestic, solemn organs blow.
Hark! the numbers soft and clear
Gently steal upon the ear;
Now louder and yet louder rise,
And fill with spreading sound the skies :
Exulting in triumph now swell the bold notes,
In broken air trembling, the wild music floats ;
Till, by degrees, remote and small,
The strains decay,
And melt away,
In a dying, dying fall.
By music, minds an equal temper know,
Nor swell too high, nor sink too low.
If in the breast tumultuous joys arise,
Music her soft assuasive voice applies :
Or, when the soul is press'd with cares,
Exalts her in enlivening airs.
Music the fiercest grief can charm,
And Fate's severest rage disarm :
Music can soften pain to ease,
And make despair and madness please :
Our joys below it can improve,
And antedate the bliss above!
This the divine Cecilia found,
And to her Maker's praise confined the sound.
When the full organ joins the tuneful quire,
The immortal powers incline their ear:
Borne on the swelling notes, our souls aspire,
While solemn airs improve the sacred fire;
And angels lean from heaven to hear.
Of Orpheus now no more let poets tell ;
To bright Cecilia greater power is given :
His numbers raised a shade from hell,
Hers lifts the soul to heaven.
Ode on St. Cecilia's Day.