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into the principles both of natural and supernatural motives: hereby the soul is made intelligible, which comprehends all things besides; the boundless tracks of sea and land, and the vaster spaces of Heaven; that vital principle of action, which has always been busied in inquiries abroad, is now made known to itself; insomuch that we may find out what we ourselves are, from whence we came, and whither we must go; we may per

sacred style, the style of oracles and laws. The vows and thanks of the people were recommended to their gods in songs and hymns. Why may they not retain this privilege? for if prose should contend with verse, it would be upon unequal terms, and, as it were, on foot against the wings of Pegasus. With what delight are we touched in hearing the stories of Hercules, Achilles, Cyrus, and Æneas? Because in their characters we have wisdom, honour, fortitude, and justice, set before our eyes.ceive what noble guests those are, which we lodge It was Plato's opinion, that if a man could see vir- in our bosoms, which are nearer to us than all tue, he would be strangely enamoured on her per- other things, and yet nothing further from our acWhich is the reason why Horace and Virgil quaintance. have continued so long in reputation, because they have drawn her in all the charms of poetry. No man is so senseless of rational impressions, as not to be wonderfully affected with the pastorals of the ancients, when under the stories of wolves and sheep, they describe the misery of people under hard masters, and their happiness under good. So the bitter but wholesome iambic was wont to make villany blush; the satire incited men to laugh at folly; the comedian chastised the common errours of life; and the tragedian made kings afraid to be tyrants, and tyrants to be their own tormentors.


Wherefore, as sir Philip Sidney said of Chaucer, that he knew not which he should most wonder at, either that he in his dark time should see so distinctly, or that we in this clear age should go so stumblingly after him; so may we marvel at and bewail the low condition of poetry now, when in our plays scarce any one rule of decorum is observed, but in the space of two hours and an half we pass through all the fits of Bedlam; in one scene we are all in mirth, in the next we are sunk into sadness; whilst even the most laboured parts are commonly starved for want of thought; a confused heap of words, and empty sound of rhyme.

But here all the labyrinths and windings of the human frame are laid open: it is seen by what pullies and wheels the work is carried on, as plainly as if a window were opened into our breast: for it is the work of God alone to create a mind.-The next to this is to show how its operations are performed.






To that clear majesty which in the north

Doth, like another Sun, in glory rise, Which standeth fix'd, yet spreads her heav'nly worth;

Loadstone to hearts, and loadstar to all eyes.

Like Heav'n in all, like Earth to this alone,
That through great states by her support do
Yet she herself supported is of none,
But by the finger of th' Almighty's hand.

This very consideration should advance the esteem of the following poem, wherein are represented the various movements of the mind; at which we are as much transported as with the most excellent scenes of passion in Shakspeare, or Fletcher: for in this, as in a mirrour (that will not flatter) we see how the soul arbitrates in the under-To the divinest and the richest mind, standing upon the various reports of sense, and all the changes of imagination: how compliant the will is to her dictates, and obeys her as a queen does her king. At the same time acknowledging a subjection, and yet retaining a majesty. How the passions move at her command, like a well disciplined army; from which regular composure of To that great spring, which doth great kingdoms the faculties, all operating in their proper time and place, there arises a complacency upon the whole soul, that infinitely transcends all other pleasures.

What deep philosophy is this! to discover the process of God's art in fashioning the soul of man after his own image; by remarking how one part moves another, and how those motions are varied by several positions of each part, from the first springs and plummets, to the very hand that points out the visible and last effects. What eloquence and force of wit to convey these profound speculations in the easiest language, expressed in words so vulgarly received, that they are understood by the meanest capacities!

For the poet takes care in every line to satisfy the understandings of mankind: he follows step by step the workings of the mind from the first strokes of sense, then of fancy, afterwards of judgment,

Both by Art's purchase, and by Nature's dow'r,
That ever was from Heaven to Earth confin'd,
To show the utmost of a creature's pow'r :


The sacred spring, whence right and honour
Distilling virtue, shedding peace and love,
In every place, as Cynthia sheds her beams:

I offer up some sparkles of that fire,

Whereby we reason, live, and move and be,
These sparks by nature evermore aspire,
Which makes them now to such a highness flee.

Fair soul, since to the fairest body join'd,

You give such lively life, such quick’ning pow'r ; And influence of such celestial kind,

As keeps it still in youth's immortal flower;

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WAY did my parents send me to the schools,
That I with knowledge might enrich my mind?
Since the desire to know first made men fools,
And did corrupt the root of all mankind;

For when God's hand had written in the hearts
Of the first parents, all the rules of good,
So that their skill infus'd, did pass all arts
That ever were, before, or since the flood;

And when their reason's eye was sharp and clear,
And (as an eagle can behold the Sun)
Could have approach'd th' eternal light as near
As th' intellectual angels could have done.

Een then to them the spirit of lies suggests,
That they were blind, because they saw not ill,
And breath'd into their incorrupted breasts

A curious wish, which did corrupt their will.

For that same ill they straight desir'd to know
Which ill, being naught but a defect of good,
In all God's works the Devil could not show,
While man their lord in his perfection stood.

So that themselves were first to do the ill,
Fre they thereof the knowledge could attain,
Like him that knew not poison's power to kill,
Until (by tasting it) himself was slain.


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And yet, alas! when all our lamps are burn'd,
Our bodies wasted, and our spirits spent ;
When we have all the learned volumes turn'd
Which yield men's wits both help and ornament:

What can we know? or what can we discern? When errour chokes the windows of the mind; The divers forms of things how can we learn,

That have been ever from our birth-day blind? When reason's lamp, which (like the Sun in sky)

Throughout man's little world her beams did Is now become a sparkle, which doth lie [spread, Under the ashes, half extinct, and dead:

How can we hope, that through the eye and ear,
This dying sparkle, in this cloudy place,
Can recollect these beams of knowledge clear,
Which were infus'd in the first minds by grace?

So might the heir, whose father hath in play
Wasted a thousand pounds of ancient rent,
By painful earning of one groat a day,

Hope to restore the patrimony spent.

The wits that div'd most deep, and soar'd most high, Seeking man's pow'rs, have found his weakness "Skill comes so slow, and life so fast doth fly, [such: We learn so little and forget so much."

For this the wisest of all moral men

Said, he knew nought, but that he nought did know, And the great mocking-master mock'd not then, When he said, truth was buried deep below.

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Fow how may we to other things attain,

When none of us his own soul understands? For which the Devil mocks our curious brain, When, "know thyself," his oracle commands.

For why should we the busy soul believe,

When boldly she concludes of that and this, When of herself she can no judgment give, Nor how, nor whence, nor where, nor what she is.

All things without, which round about we see, We seek to know, and how therewith to do: But that whereby we reason, live, and be,

Within ourselves, we strangers are thereto.

We seek to know the moving of each sphere,
And the strange cause of th' ebbs and floods of

But of that clock within our breasts we bear,
The subtle motions we forget the while.

We that acquaint ourselves with every zone,
And pass both tropics, and behold each pole,
When we come home, are to ourselves unknown,
And unacquainted still with our own soul.

We study speech but others we persuade,

We leach-craft learn, but others cure with it, We interpret laws, which other men have made, But read not those which in our hearts are writ.

It is because the mind is like the eye,

Through which it gathers knowledge by degrees, Whose rays reflect not, but spread outwardly;

Not seeing itself, when other things it sees ?

No, doubtless; for the mind can backward cast Upon herself, her understanding's light,

But she is so corrupt, and so defac'd,

As her own image doth herself affright.

As is the fable of the lady fair,

Which for her lust was turn'd into a cow, When thirsty to a stream she did repair, And saw herself transform'd she wist not how:

At first she startles, then she stands amaz'd;
At last with terrour she from thence doth fly,
And loaths the wat'ry glass wherein she gaz'd,
And shuns it still, though she for thirst doth die:

E'en so man's soul which did God's image bear,

And was at first fair, good, and spotless pure, Since with her sins her beauties blotted were,

Doth of all sights her own sight least endure:

For e'en at first reflection she espies,

Such strange chimeras, and such monsters there, Such toys, such antics, and such vanities,

As she retires, and shrinks for shame and fear. ́

And as the man loves least at home to be,

That hath a sluttish house haunted with sprites; So she, impatient her own faults to see,

Turns from herself, and in strange things delights.

For this few know themselves: for merchants broke
View their estate with discontent and pain,
And seas are troubled, when they do revoke
Their flowing waves into themselves again.

And while the face of outward things we find,
Pleasing and fair, agreeable and sweet,
These things transport, and carry out the mind,
That with herself, the mind can never meet.

Yet if Affliction once her wars begin,

And threat the feebler sense with sword and fire, The mind contracts herself, and shrinketh in, And to herself she gladly doth retire:

As spiders touch'd, seek their web's inmost part; As bees in storms back to their hives return; As blood in danger gathers to the heart;

As men seek towns, when foes the country burn.

If aught can teach us aught, Affliction's looks,
(Making us pry into ourselves so near)
Teach us to know ourselves beyond all books,
Or all the learned schools that ever were.

This mistress lately pluck'd me by the ear,

And many a golden lesson hath me taught; Hath made my senses quick, and reason clear; Reform'd my will, and rectify'd my thought.

So do the winds and thunders cleanse the air:
So working seas settle and purge the wine:
So lopp'd and pruned trees do flourish fair:
So doth the fire the drossy gold refine.

Neither Minerva, nor the learned Muse,

Nor rules of art, nor precepts of the wise, Could in my brain those beams of skill infuse,

As but the glance of this dame's angry eyes.
She within lists my ranging mind hath brought,
That now beyond myself I will not go;
Myself am centre of my circling thought,
Only myself I study, learn, and know.

I know my body 's of so frail a kind,
As force without, fevers within can kill:
I know the heavenly nature of my mind,
But 't is corrupted both in wit and will.

I know my soul hath power to know all things,
Yet is she blind and ignorant in all :

I know I'm one of Nature's little kings,
Yet to the least and vilest things am thrall.

I know my life's a pain, and but a span,
I know my sense is mock'd in ev'ry thing,
And to conclude, I know myself a man,
Which is a proud and yet a wretched thing.





THE lights of Heav'n (which are the world's fair eyes)
Look down into the world, the world to see;
And as they turn, or wander in the skies,
Survey all things, that on this centre be.

And yet the lights which in my tow'r do shine,

Mine eyes which view all objects, nigh and far, Look not into this little world of mine,

Nor see my face, wherein they fixed are.

Since Nature fails us in no needful thing,

Why want I means my inward self to see? Which sight the knowledge of myself might bring, Which to true wisdom is the first degree.

That pow'r, which gave me eyes the world to view,
To view myself, infus'd an inward light,
Whereby my soul, as by a mirror true,
Of her own form may take a perfect sight.

But as the sharpest eye discerneth nought,
Except the sun-beams in the air do shine:
So the best soul, with her reflecting thought,
Sees not herself without some light divine.

O Light, which mak'st the light, which mak'st the day!

Which set'st the eye without, and mind within; 'Lighten my spirit with one clear heavenly ray, Which now to view itself doth first begin.

For her true form how can my spark discern,
Which, dim by nature, art did never clear?
When the great wits, of whom all skill we learn,
Are ignorant both what she is, and where.

One thinks the soul is air; another, fire;
Another blood, diffus'd about the heart;
Another saith, the elements conspire,

And to her essence each doth give a part.

Musicians think our souls are harmonies,
Physicians hold that they complexions be;
Epicures make them swarms of atomies,

Which do by chance into our bodies flee.

Some think one genʼral soul fills ev'ry brain,
As the bright Sun sheds light in every star;
And others think the name of soul is vain,
And that we only well-mix'd bodies are.

In judgment of her substance thus they vary,
And thus they vary in judgment of her seat;
For some her chair up to the brain do carry,
Some thrust it down into the stomach's heat.

Some place it in the root of life, the heart;
Some in the fiver, fountain of the veins,
Some say, she 's all in all, and all in every part:
Some say, she's not contain'd, but all contains.

Thus these great clerks their little wisdom show,
While with their doctrines they at hazard play;
Tossing their light opinions to and fro,

To mock the lewd, as learn'd in this as they.

For no craz'd brain could ever yet propound,
Touching the soul, so vain and fond a thought;
But some among these masters have been found,
Which in their schools the self-same thing have

God only wise, to punish pride of wit,
Among men's wits have this confusion wrought,
As the proud tow'r whose points the clouds did hit,
By tongues' confusion was to ruin brought.

But (thou) which lidst man's soul of nothing make,
And when to nothing it was fallen again,
"To make it new, the form of man didst take;
And God with God, becam'st a man with men.

Thou that hast fashion'd twice this soul of ours,
So that she is by double title thine,
Thou only know'st her nature and her pow'rs;
Her subtle form thou only canst define.

To judge herself, she must herself transcend,
As greater circles comprehend the less:
But she wants pow'r, her own pow'rs to extend,
As fetter'd men cannot their strength express.

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But thou, bright morning Star, thou rising Sun, Which in these later times hast brought to light Those mysteries, that, since the world begun,

Lay hid in darkness, and eternal night.

Thou (like the Sun) do'st with an equal ray
Into the palace and the cottage shine,
And show'st the soul, both to the clerk and lay,
By the clear lamp of oracle divine.

This lamp, through all the regions of my brain,
Where my soul sits, doth spread such beams of
As now, methinks, I do distinguish plain, [grace,
Each subtle line of her immortal face.

The soul a substance and a spirit is,

Which God himself doth in the body make, Which makes the man, for every man from this The nature of a man and name doth take. And though this spirit be to th' body knit,

As an apt means her pow'rs to exercise, Which are life, motion, sense, and will, and wit, Yet she survives, although the body dics.



SHE is a substance, and a real thing,

Which hath itself an actual working might, Which neither from the senses' power doth spring, Nor from the body's humours temper'd right.

She is a vine, which doth no propping need
To make her spread herself, or spring upright;
She is a star, whose beams do not proceed

From any sun, but from a native light.

For when she sorts things present with things past, And thereby things to come doth oft foresee; When she doth doubt at first, and choose at last, These acts her own, without her body be.

When of the dew, which th' eye and ear do take

From flow'rs abroad, and bring into the brain, She doth within both wax and honey make:

This work is her's, this is her proper pain.

When she from sundry acts one skill doth draw; Gathering from divers fights one art of war; From many cases, like one rule of law;

These her collections, not the senses are.

'That the soul hath a proper operation without the body.

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