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MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.

VOL. XIV.

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MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.

ODE TO DR WILLIAM SANCROFT.

LATE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY.

WRITTEN IN MAY 1689, AT THE DESIRE OF THE LATE

LORD BISHOP OF ELY,

[Sancroft, Primate of England, at the Revolution, joined with

his brethren in resisting the encroachments of James upon li. berty and religion. But as his conscience did not permit him to take the oaths to William and Mary, he was deprived o. his see, and died in retirement. That Swift should have addressed an Ode to him, under such circumstances, is a proof that, whatever were his principles in civil politics, he was uniformly a staunch high-churchman. This, with the verses to Con." greve, and those on Temple's illness, were first published by Mr Nicol in 1789, from an authentic manuscript.]

I. Truth is eternal, and the Son of Heav'n, Bright effluence of th' immortal ray, Chief cherub, and chief lamp, of that high sacred

Seven,

Which guard the throne by night, and are its light

by day :
First of God's darling attributes,

Thou daily seest him face to face,
Nor does thy essence fix'd depend on giddy circum-

stance

Of time or place,
Two foolish guides in ev'ry sublunary dance:

How shall we find Thee then in dark disputes ?
How shall we search Thee in a battle gain'd,

Or a weak argument by force maintain'd? In dagger contests, and th' artillery of words, (For swords are madmen's tongues, and tongues are

madmen's swords), Contriv'd to tire all patience out, And not to satisfy the doubt ?

II.
But where is ev’n thy Image on our earth?

For of the person much I fear,
Since Heaven will claim its residence, as well as

birth, And God himself has said, He shall not find it here. For this inferior world is but Heaven's dusky shade, By dark reverted rays from its reflection made; Whence the weak shapes wild and imperfect

pass, Like sunbeams shot at too far distance from a

glass;

Which all the mimick forms express, Though in strange uncouth postures, and uncomely

dress;
So when Cartesian artists try

To solve appearances of sight
In its reception to the eye,

And catch the living landscape through a scanty

light, *

The figures all inverted shew,

And colours of a faded hue;
Here a pale shape with upward footstep treads,

And men seem walking on their heads;

There whole herds suspended lie,
Ready to tumble down into the sky:
Such are the ways ill-guided mortals go
To judge of things above by things below.
Disjointing shapes as in the fairy land of dreams,

Or images that sink in streams;
No wonder, then, we talk amiss
Of truth, and what, or where it is :

Say, Muse, for thou, if any, know'st,
Since the bright essence fled, where haunts the

reverend ghost?

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III. If all that our weak knowledge titles virtue, be (High Truth) the best resemblance of exalted

Thee, If a mind fix'd to combat fate With those two pow'rful swords, submission and

humility, Sounds truly good, or truly great : Ill may I live, if the good Sancroft in his holy rest,

In the divin'ty of retreat,
Be not the brightest pattern earth can show

Of heav'n-born Truth below :
But foolish man still judges what is best

In his own balance, false and light,

* The experiment of the dark chamber, to demonstrate light to be by reception of the object, and not by emission.-S.

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