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From words, which are but pictures of the thought
The thirsty soul's refreshing wine.
Who to the life an exact piece would make,
No, not from Rubens or Vandyck;
Much less content himself to make it like
The ideas and the images which lie
In his own fancy or his memory:
Each judgment of his eye and motion of his hand.
From these, and all long errors of the way,
In which our wandering predecessors went,
And, like the old Hebrews, many years did stray
In deserts, but of small extent,
Bacon! like Moses, led us forth at last;
The barren wilderness he passed,
Did on the very border stand
Of the blessed Promised Land,
And from the mountain's top of his exalted wit,
But life did never to one man allow
Time to discover worlds, and conquer too;
To fathom the vast deeps of Nature's sca:
The work he did we ought to admire,
From you, great champions! we expect to get
Though Learning has whole armies at command,
A better troop she ne'er together drew.
Methinks, like Gideon's little band,
God with design has picked out you,
To do these noble wonders by a few.
When the whole host He saw, they are, said He,
Too many to o'ercome for Me:
And now He chooses out his men,
Much in the way that He did then:
To drink, with their dejected head,
The stream, just so as by their mouths it fled:
Thus you prepared, and in the glorious fight
Their old and empty pitchers first they brake,
And with their hands then lifted up the light.
Iö! sound too the trumpets here!
Already your victorious lights appear;
New scenes of heaven already we espy,
And crowds of golden worlds on high,
Which from the spacious plains of earth and sea
By sailor's or Chaldean's watchful eye.
Of her imperceptible littleness:
You' have learned to read her smallest hand,
And well begun her deepest sense to understand.
Mischief and true dishonour fall on those
Who would to laughter or to scorn expose
So virtuous and so noble a design,
So human for its use, for knowledge so divine.
The things which these proud men despise, and call
So when, by various turns of the celestial dance,
In many thousand years
A star, so long unknown, appears,
Though heaven itself more beauteous by it grow,
Does to the wise a star, to fools a meteor, show.
With courage and success you the bold work begin;
Your cradle has not idle been;
None e'er but Hercules and you would be
At five years' age worthy a history:
And ne'er did fortune better yet
The historian to the story fit.
As you from all old errors free
And purge the body of Philosophy,
So from all modern follies he
Has vindicated eloquence and wit:
His candid style like a clean stream does slide,
And his bright fancy all the way
Does, like the sunshine, in it play;
It does like Thames, the best of rivers, glide,
Where the god does not rudely overturn,
But gently pour, the crystal urn,
And with judicious hand does the whole current guide. 'T has all the beauties Nature can impart,
And all the comely dress, without the paint, of Art.
No victor that in battle spent,
Methought I saw the earliest shade
Though dead she lay, yet could I see
But all showed unconcerned to be,
And now, methought, I lost all care,
In losing her; and was as free
As birds let loose into the air,
Or rivers that are got to sea.
Methought Love's monarchy was gone;
Our choice and change makes power our own,
Yet soon, now from my Princess free,
I rather frantic grew than glad,
Birds that are long in cages awed,
And to the ocean rivers run
From being pent in banks of flowers;
Is but proud strutting in a chain ;
Then growing wiser, when undone,