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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,
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,
I offer up some sparkles of that fire,
Whereby we reason, live, and move and be,
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;
WAY did my parents send me to the schools,
For when God's hand had written in the hearts
And when their reason's eye was sharp and clear,
Een then to them the spirit of lies suggests,
A curious wish, which did corrupt their will.
For that same ill they straight desir'd to know
So that themselves were first to do the ill,
And yet, alas! when all our lamps are burn'd,
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,
So might the heir, whose father hath in play
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.
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,
But of that clock within our breasts we bear,
We that acquaint ourselves with every zone,
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;
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
And while the face of outward things we find,
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,
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:
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.
I know my body 's of so frail a kind,
I know my soul hath power to know all things,
I know I'm one of Nature's little kings,
I know my life's a pain, and but a span,
THE SOUL OF MAN,
THE IMMORTALITY THEREOF.
THE lights of Heav'n (which are the world's fair eyes)
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,
But as the sharpest eye discerneth nought,
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,
One thinks the soul is air; another, fire;
And to her essence each doth give a part.
Musicians think our souls are harmonies,
Which do by chance into our bodies flee.
Some think one genʼral soul fills ev'ry brain,
In judgment of her substance thus they vary,
Some place it in the root of life, the heart;
Thus these great clerks their little wisdom show,
To mock the lewd, as learn'd in this as they.
For no craz'd brain could ever yet propound,
God only wise, to punish pride of wit,
But (thou) which lidst man's soul of nothing make,
Thou that hast fashion'd twice this soul of ours,
To judge herself, she must herself transcend,
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
This lamp, through all the regions of my brain,
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.
THAT THE SOUL IS A THING SUBSISTING BY ITSELF WITH OUT THE BODY.
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
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.