A MILK 1 white Hind, immortal and unchang’d,
Fed on the lawns and in the forest rang’d;
Without unspotted, innocent within,
She fear’d no danger, for she knew no sin.
Yet had she oft been chas’d with horns and hounds 5
And Scythian shafts; and many winged wounds
Aim’d at her Heart; was often forc’d to fly,
And doom’d to death, though fated not to dy.
Not so her young; for their unequal line
Was Heroe’s make, half humane, half divine. 10
Their earthly mold obnoxious was to fate,
Th’ immortal part assum’d immortal state.
Of these a slaughtered army lay in bloud,
Extended o’er the Caledonian wood,
Their native walk; whose vocal bloud arose 15
And cry’d for pardon on their perjur’d foes;
Their fate was fruitful, and the sanguin seed,
Endu’d with souls, encreas’d the sacred breed.
So Captive Israel multiply’d in chains,
A numerous Exile; and enjoy’d her pains. 20
With grief and gladness mixt, their mother view’d
Her martyr’d offspring, and their race renew’d;
Their corps to perish, but their kind to last,
So much the deathless plant the dying fruit surpass’d.
Panting and pensive now she ranged alone, 25
And wander’d in the kingdoms once Her own.
The common Hunt, though from their rage restrain’d
By sov’reign power, her company disdain’d:
Grin’d as They pass’d, and with a glaring eye
Gave gloomy signs of secret enmity. 30
’Tis true, she bounded by, and trip’d so light,
They had not time to take a steady sight,
For truth has such a face and such a meen
As to be lov’d needs only to be seen.
The bloudy Bear, an Independent beast, 35
Unlick’d to form, in groans her hate express’d.
Among the timorous kind the Quaking Hare
Profess’d neutrality, but would not swear.
Next her, the Buffoon Ape, as Atheists use,
Mimick’d all Sects and had his own to chuse: 40
Still when the Lyon look’d, his knees he bent,
And pay’d at Church a Courtier’s Complement.
The bristl’d Baptist Boar, impure as He,
(But whitn’d with the foam of sanctity)
With fat pollutions fill’d the sacred place 45
And mountains levell’d in his furious race,
So first rebellion founded was in grace.
But, since the mighty ravage which he made
In German Forests, had his guilt betray’d,
With broken tusks, and with a borrow’d name, 50
He shun’d the vengeance, and concealed the shame;
So lurk’d in Sects unseen. With greater guile
False Reynard fed on consecrated spoil;
The graceless beast by Athanasius first
Was chased from Nice; then by Socinus nurs’d. 55
His impious race their blasphemy renew’d,
And natures King through nature’s opticks view’d.
Revers’d they view’d him lessen’d to their eye,
Nor in an Infant could a God descry:
New swarming Sects to this obliquely tend 60
Hence they began, and here they all will end.
What weight of ancient witness can prevail,
If private reason hold the publick scale?
But, gratious God, how well dost thou provide
For erring judgments an unerring Guide! 65
Thy throne is darkness in th’ abyss of light,
A blaze of glory that forbids the sight;
O teach me to believe Thee thus conceal’d,
And search no farther than Thy self reveal’d;
But her alone for my Directour take 70
Whom Thou hast promis’d never to forsake!
My thoughtless youth was wing’d with vain desires,
My manhood, long misled by wandring fires,
Follow’d false lights; and when their glimps was gone,
My pride struck out new sparkles of her own. 75
Such was I, such by nature still I am,
Be Thine the glory and be mine the shame.
Good life be now my task: my doubts are done,
(What more could fright my faith, than Three in One?)
Can I believe eternal God could lye 80
Disguis’d in mortal mold and infancy?
That the great Maker of the world could dye?
And after that, trust my imperfect sense
Which calls in question his omnipotence?
Can I my reason to my faith compell, 85
And shall my sight, and touch, and taste rebell?
Superiour faculties are set aside,
Shall their subservient organs be my guide?
Then let the moon usurp the rule of day,
And winking tapers shew the sun his way; 90
For what my senses can themselves perceive
I need no revelation to believe.
Can they, who say the Host should be descry’d
By sense, define a body glorify’d?
Impassible, and penetrating parts? 95
Let them declare by what mysterious arts
He shot that body through th’ opposing might
Of bolts and barrs impervious to the light,
And stood before his train confess’d in open sight.
For since thus wondrously he pass’d, ’tis plain 100
One single place two bodies did contain,
And sure the same Omnipotence as well
Can make one body in more places dwell.
Let reason then at Her own quarry fly,
But how can finite grasp Infinity? 105
’Tis urg’d again, that faith did first commence
By miracles, which are appeals to sense,
And thence concluded that our sense must be
The motive still of credibility.
For latter ages must on former wait, 110
And what began belief, must propagate.
But winnow well this thought, and you shall find,
’Tis light as chaff that flies before the wind.
Were all those wonders wrought by pow’r divine
As means or ends of some more deep design? 115
Most sure as means, whose end was this alone,
To prove the god-head of th’ eternal Son.
God thus asserted: man is to believe
Beyond what Sense and Reason can conceive.
And for mysterious things of faith rely 120
On the Proponent, heaven’s authority.
If then our faith we for our guide admit,
Vain is the farther search of human wit,
As when the building gains a surer stay,
We take th’ unuseful scaffolding away: 125
Reason by sense no more can understand,
The game is play’d into another hand.
Why chuse we then like Bilanders to creep
Along the coast, and land in view to keep,
When safely we may launch into the deep? 130
In the same vessel which our Saviour bore
Himself the pilot, let us leave the shoar,
And with a better guide a better world explore.
Could He his god-head veil with flesh and bloud
And not veil these again to be our food? 135
His grace in both is equal in extent;
The first affords us life, the second nourishment.
And if he can, why all this frantick pain
To construe what his clearest words contain,
And make a riddle what He made so plain? 140
To take up half on trust, and half to try,
Name it not faith, but bungling biggottry.
Both knave and fool the Merchant we may call
To pay great summs and to compound the small.
For who wou’d break with heav’n, and wou’d not break for all? 145
Rest then, my soul, from endless anguish freed;
Nor sciences thy guide, nor sense thy creed.
Faith is the best ensurer of thy bliss;
The Bank above must fail before the venture miss.
But heav’n and heav’n-born faith are far from Thee, 150
Thou first Apostate to Divinity.
Unkennel’d range in thy Polonian Plains;
A fiercer foe the insatiate Wolf remains.
Too boastful Britain please thyself no more,
That beasts of prey are banish’d from thy shoar; 155
The Bear, the Boar, and every salvage name,
Wild in effect, though in appearance tame,
Lay waste thy woods, destroy thy blissfull bow’r,
And, muzl’d though they seem, the mutes devour.
More haughty than the rest, the wolfish race 160
Appear with belly Gaunt and famish’d face:
Never was so deform’d a beast of Grace.
His ragged tail betwixt his leggs he wears
Close clap’d for shame, but his rough crest he rears,
And pricks up his predestinating ears. 165
His wild disorder’d walk, his hagger’d eyes,
Did all the bestial citizens surprize.
Though fear’d and hated, yet he ruled a while,
As Captain or Companion of the spoil.
Full many a year his hatefull head had been 170
For tribute paid, nor since in Cambria seen:
The last of all the Litter scap’d by chance,
And from Geneva first infested France.
Some Authors thus his Pedigree will trace,
But others write him of an upstart Race: 175
Because of Wickliff’s Brood no mark he brings
But his innate Antipathy to Kings.
These last deduce him from th’ Helvetian kind
Who near the Leman lake his Consort lin’d.
That fi’ry Zuynglius first th’ Affection bred, 180
And meagre Calvin blest the Nuptial Bed.
In Israel some believe him whelp’d long since,
When the proud Sanhedrim oppress’d the Prince, 2
Or, since he will be Jew, derive him higher,
When Corah with his Brethren did conspire, 185
From Moyses Hand the Sov’reign sway to wrest,
And Aaron of his Ephod to devest:
Till opening Earth made way for all to pass,
And cou’d not bear the Burd’n of a class.
The Fox and he came shuffl’d in the Dark, 190
If ever they were stow’d in Noah’s Ark:
Perhaps not made; for all their barking train
The Dog (a common species) will contain.
And some wild currs, who from their masters ran,
Abhorring the supremacy of man, 195
In woods and caves the rebel-race began.
O happy pair, how well have you encreas’d,
What ills in Church and State have you redress’d!
With Teeth untry’d and rudiments of Claws,
Your first essay was on your native Laws: 200
Those having torn with Ease and trampl’d down,
Your Fangs you fasten’d on the miter’d Crown,
And freed from God and Monarchy your Town.
What though your native kennel still be small
Bounded betwixt a Puddle and a Wall, 205
Yet your Victorious Colonies are sent
Where the North Ocean girds the Continent.
Quickned with fire below, your Monsters Breed,
In Fenny Holland and in fruitful Tweed.
And like the first the last effects to be 210
Drawn to the dreggs of a Democracy.
As, where in Fields the fairy rounds are seen,
A rank sow’r herbage rises on the Green;
So, springing where these mid-night Elves advance,
Rebellion Prints the Foot-steps of the Dance. 215
Such are their Doctrines, such contempt they show
To Heaven above, and to their Prince below,
As none but Traytors and Blasphemers know.
God, like the Tyrant of the Skies is plac’d,
And Kings, like slaves, beneath the Crowd debas’d. 220
So fulsome is their food that Flocks refuse
To bite; and only Dogs for Physick use.
As, where the Lightning runs along the Ground,
No husbandry can heal the blasting Wound,
Nor bladed Grass nor bearded Corn succeeds, 225
But Scales of Scurf, and Putrefaction breeds:
Such Warrs, such Waste, such fiery tracks of Dearth
Their Zeal has left, and such a teemless Earth.
But as the Poisons of the deadliest kind
Are to their own unhappy Coasts confin’d, 230
As only Indian Shades of sight deprive,
And Magick Plants will but in Colchos thrive;
So Presby’try and Pestilential Zeal
Can only flourish in a Common-weal.
From Celtique Woods is chased the wolfish Crew; 235
But ah! some Pity e’en to Brutes is due,
Their native Walks, methinks, they might enjoy,
Curb’d of their native Malice to destroy.
Of all the Tyrannies on humane kind
The worst is that which Persecutes the mind. 240
Let us but weigh at what offence we strike,
’Tis but because we cannot think alike.
In punishing of this, we overthrow
The Laws of Nations and of Nature too
Beasts are the Subjects of Tyrannick sway, 245
Where still the stronger on the weaker Prey.
Man only of a softer mold is made;
Not for his Fellows ruine, but their Aid.
Created kind, beneficent and free,
The noble Image of the Deity. 250
One Portion of informing Fire was giv’n
To Brutes, the Inferiour Family of Heav’n:
The Smith Divine, as with a careless Beat,
Struck out the mute Creation at a Heat:
But when arriv’d at last to humane Race, 255
The Godhead took a deep consid’ring space:
And, to distinguish Man from all the rest,
Unlock’d the sacred Treasures of his Breast:
And Mercy mixt with reason did impart,
One to his Head, the other to his Heart: 260
Reason to Rule, but Mercy to forgive:
The first is Law, the last Prerogative.
And like his Mind his outward form appear’d
When issuing Naked to the wondring Herd,
He charm’d their Eyes, and for they lov’d they fear’d. 265
Not arm’d with horns of arbitrary might,
Or Claws to seize their furry spoils in Fight,
Or with increase of Feet t’ o’ertake ’em in their flight.
Of easie shape, and pliant ev’ry way,
Confessing still the softness of his Clay, 270
And kind as Kings upon their Coronation-day:
With open Hands, and with extended space
Of Arms to satisfy a large embrace.
Thus kneaded up with Milk, the new made Man
His Kingdom o’er his Kindred world began: 275
Till Knowledg mis-apply’d, mis-understood,
And pride of Empire sour’d his Balmy Blood.
Then, first rebelling, his own stamp he coins;
The Murth’rer Cain was latent in his Loins;
And Blood began its first and loudest Cry 280
For diff’ring worship of the Deity.
Thus persecution rose, and farther Space
Produc’d the mighty hunter of his Race.
Not so the blessed Pan his flock encreased,
Content to fold ’em from the famish’d Beast: 285
Mild were his laws; the Sheep and harmless Hind
Were never of the persecuting kind.
Such pity now the pious Pastor shows,
Such mercy from the British Lyon flows,
That both provide protection for their foes. 290
Oh happy Regions, Italy and Spain,
Which never did those monsters entertain!
The Wolfe, the Bear, the Boar, can there advance
No native claim of just inheritance.
And self preserving laws, severe in show, 295
May guard their fences from th’ invading foe.
Where birth has plac’d ’em, let ’em safely share
The common benefit of vital air;
Themselves unharmful, let them live unharm’d;
Their jaws disabl’d, and their claws disarm’d: 300
Here, only in nocturnal howlings bold,
They dare not seize the Hind nor leap the fold.
More pow’rful, and as vigilant as they,
The Lyon awfully forbids the prey.
Their rage repress’d, though pinch’d with famine sore, 305
They stand aloof, and tremble at his roar;
Much is their hunger, but their fear is more.
These are the chief; to number o’er the rest
And stand, like Adam, naming ev’ry beast,
Were weary work; nor will the Muse describe 310
A slimy-born and sun-begotten Tribe:
Who, far from steeples and their sacred sound,
In fields their sullen conventicles found:
These gross, half animated lumps I leave;
Nor can I think what thoughts they can conceive. 315
But if they think at all, ’tis sure no high’r
Than matter, put in motion, may aspire.
Souls that can scarce ferment their mass of clay;
So drossy, so divisible are They,
As wou’d but serve pure bodies for allay: 320
Such souls as Shards produce, such beetle things
As only buz to heaven with ev’ning wings;
Strike in the dark, offending but by chance,
Such are the blind-fold blows of ignorance.
They know not beings, and but hate a name, 325
To them the Hind and Panther are the same.
The Panther sure the noblest, next the Hind,
And fairest creature of the spotted kind:
Oh, could her in-born stains be wash’d away,
She were too good to be a beast of Prey! 330
How can I praise, or blame, and not offend,
Or how divide the frailty from the friend?
Her faults and vertues lye so mix’d, that she
Nor wholly stands condemn’d nor wholly free.
Then, like her injured Lyon, let me speak, 335
He cannot bend her, and he would not break.
Unkind already, and estrang’d in part,
The Wolfe begins to share her wandring heart.
Though unpolluted yet with actual ill,
She half commits, who sins but in Her will. 340
If, as our dreaming Platonists report,
There could be spirits of a middle sort,
Too black for heav’n, and yet too white for hell,
Who just dropt half-way done, 3 nor lower fell;
So pois’d, so gently she descends from high, 345
It seems a soft dismission from the skie.
Her house not ancient, whatsoe’er pretence
Her clergy Heraulds make in her defence.
A second century not half-way run
Since the new honours of her blood begun. 350
A Lyon old, obscene, and furious made
By lust, compress’d her mother in a shade.
Then by a left-hand marr’age weds the Dame,
Covering adult’ry with a specious name:
So schism begot; and sacrilege and she, 355
A well-match’d pair, got graceless heresie.
God’s and Kings rebels have the same good cause,
To trample down divine and humane laws:
Both would be call’d Reformers, and their hate,
Alike destructive both to Church and State: 360
The fruit proclaims the plant; a lawless Prince
By luxury reform’d incontinence,
By ruins, charity; by riots abstinence.
Confessions, fasts and penance set aside;
Oh with what ease we follow such a guide! 365
Where souls are starv’d and senses gratify’d!
Where marr’age pleasures midnight pray’r supply,
And mattin bells (a melancholy cry)
Are tun’d to merrier notes, encrease and multiply.
Religion shows a Rosie colour’d face, 370
Not hatter’d out with drudging works of grace;
A down-hill Reformation rolls apace.
What flesh and blood wou’d croud the narrow gate,
Or, till they waste their pamper’d paunches, wait?
All wou’d be happy at the cheapest rate. 375
Though our lean faith these rigid laws has giv’n,
The full fed Musulman goes fat to heav’n;
For his Arabian Prophet with delights
Of sense, allur’d his eastern Proselytes.
The jolly Luther, reading him, began 380
T’ interpret Scriptures by his Alcoran;
To grub the thorns beneath our tender feet
And make the paths of Paradise more sweet:
Bethought him of a wife, e’er half way gone,
(For ’twas uneasie travailing alone,) 385
And in this masquerade of mirth and love,
Mistook the bliss of heav’n for Bacchanals above.
Sure he presum’d of praise, who came to stock
Th’ etherial pastures with so fair a flock;
Burnish’d, and bat’ning on their food, to show 390
The diligence of carefull herds below.
Our Panther, though like these she chang’d her head,
Yet, as the mistress of a monarch’s bed,
Her front erect with majesty she bore,
The Crozier wielded and the Miter wore. 395
Her upper part of decent discipline
Shew’d affectation of an ancient line:
And fathers, councils, church and church’s head,
Were on her reverend Phylacteries read.
But what disgrac’d and disavow’d the rest 400
Was Calvin’s brand, that stigmatiz’d the beast.
Thus, like a creature of a double kind,
In her own labyrinth she lives confin’d.
To foreign lands no sound of Her is come,
Humbly content to be despis’d at home. 405
Such is her faith, where good cannot be had,
At least she leaves the refuse of the bad.
Nice in her choice of ill, though not of best,
And least deform’d, because reform’d the least.
In doubtful points betwixt her diff’ring friends, 410
Where one for substance, one for sign contends,
Their contradicting terms she strives to joyn
Sign shall be substance, substance shall be sign.
A real presence all her sons allow,
And yet ’tis flat Idolatry to bow, 415
Because the God-head’s there they know not how.
Her Novices are taught that bread and wine
Are but the visible and outward sign,
Receiv’d by those who in communion joyn.
But th’ inward grace or the thing signify’d, 420
His blood and body who to save us dy’d,
The faithful this thing signify’d receive.
What is’t those faithful then partake or leave?
For what is signify’d and understood,
Is, by her own confession, flesh and blood. 425
Then, by the same acknowledgment, we know
They take the sign, and take the substance too.
The lit’ral sense is hard to flesh and blood,
But nonsense never can be understood.
Her wild belief on ev’ry wave is tost, 430
But sure no Church can better morals boast.
True to her King her principles are found;
Oh that her practice were but half so sound!
Stedfast in various turns of state she stood,
And seal’d her vow’d affection with her blood; 435
Nor will I meanly tax her constancy,
That int’rest or obligement made the tye,
(Bound to the fate of murdr’d Monarchy:)
(Before the sounding Ax so falls the Vine,
Whose tender branches round the Poplar twine.) 440
She chose her ruin, and resign’d her life,
In death undaunted as an Indian wife:
A rare example: But some souls we see
Grow hard, and stiffen with adversity:
Yet these by fortunes favours are undone, 445
Resolv’d into a baser form they run,
And bore the wind, but cannot bear the sun.
Let this be natures frailty or her fate,
Or Isgrim’s 4 counsel, her new chosen mate;
Still she’s the fairest of the fallen Crew, 450
No mother more indulgent but the true.
Fierce to her foes, yet fears her force to try,
Because she wants innate auctority;
For how can she constrain them to obey
Who has her self cast off the lawful sway? 455
Rebellion equals all, and those who toil
In common theft, will share the common spoil.
Let her produce the title and the right
Against her old superiours first to fight;
If she reform by Text, ev’n that’s as plain 460
For her own Rebels to reform again.
As long as words a diff’rent sense will bear,
And each may be his own Interpreter,
Our ai’ry faith will no foundation find
The word’s a weathercock for ev’ry wind: 465
The Bear, the Fox, the Wolfe by turns prevail,
The most in pow’r supplies the present gale.
The wretched Panther crys aloud for aid
To church and councils, whom she first betray’d;
No help from Fathers or traditions train 470
Those ancient guides she taught us to disdain.
And by that scripture which she once abus’d
To Reformation, stands herself accus’d.
What bills for breach of laws can she prefer,
Expounding which she owns her self may err? 475
And, after all her winding ways are try’d,
If doubts arise, she slips herself aside
And leaves the private conscience for the guide.
If then that conscience set th’ offender free,
It bars her claim to church auctority. 480
How can she censure, or what crime pretend,
But Scripture may be constru’d to defend?
Ev’n those whom for rebellion she transmits
To civil pow’r, her doctrine first acquits;
Because no disobedience can ensue, 485
Where no submission to a Judge is due;
Each judging for himself, by her consent,
Whom thus absolv’d she sends to punishment.
Suppose the Magistrate revenge her cause,
’Tis only for transgressing humane laws. 490
How answ’ring to its end a church is made,
Whose pow’r is but to counsel and perswade?
O solid rock, on which secure she stands!
Eternal house, not built with mortal hands!
Oh sure defence against th’ infernal gate, 495
A patent during pleasure of the state!
Thus is the Panther neither lov’d nor fear’d,
A mere mock Queen of a divided Herd;
Whom soon by lawful pow’r she might controll,
Her self a part submitted to the whole. 500
Then, as the Moon who first receives the light
By which she makes our nether regions bright,
So might she shine, reflecting from afar
The rays she borrowed from a better Star:
Big with the beams which from her mother flow 505
And reigning o’er the rising tides below:
Now, mixing with a salvage croud, she goes,
And meanly flatters her invet’rate foes,
Rul’d while she rules, and losing ev’ry hour
Her wretched remnants of precarious pow’r. 510
One evening, while the cooler shade she sought,
Revolving many a melancholy thought,
Alone she walk’d, and look’d around in vain,
With ruful visage for her vanish’d train:
None of her sylvan subjects made their court; 515
Leveés and coucheés pass’d without resort.
So hardly can Usurpers manage well
Those whom they first instructed to rebel:
More liberty begets desire of more,
The hunger still encreases with the store. 520
Without respect they brush’d along the wood,
Each in his clan, and fill’d with loathsome food,
Ask’d no permission to the neighb’ring flood.
The Panther, full of inward discontent,
Since they wou’d goe, before ’em wisely went: 525
Supplying want of pow’r by drinking first,
As if she gave ’em leave to quench their thirst.
Among the rest, the Hind, with fearful face
Beheld from far the common wat’ring-place,
Nor durst approach; till with an awful roar 530
The sovereign Lyon bad her fear no more.
Encourag’d thus, she brought her younglings nigh,
Watching the motions of her Patron’s eye,
And drank a sober draught; the rest amaz’d
Stood mutely still, and on the stranger gaz’d: 535
Survey’d her part by part, and sought to find
The ten-horn’d monster in the harmless Hind,
Such as the Wolfe and Panther had design’d:
They thought at first they dream’d, for ’twas offence
With them, to question certitude of sense, 540
Their guide in faith; but nearer when they drew,
And had the faultless object full in view,
Lord, how they all admir’d her heav’nly hiew!
Some, who before her fellowship disdain’d,
Scarce, and but scarce, from inborn rage restrain’d, 545
Now frisk’d about her and old kindred feign’d.
Whether for love or int’rest, every sect
Of all the salvage nation shew’d respect:
The Vice-roy Panther could not awe the herd,
The more the company the less they fear’d. 550
The surly Wolfe with secret envy burst,
Yet cou’d not howl, the Hind had seen him first:
But what he durst not speak, the Panther durst.
For when the herd suffis’d, did late repair
To ferney heaths and to their forest lare, 555
She made a mannerly excuse to stay,
Proffering the Hind to wait her half the way:
That since the Skie was clear, an hour of talk
Might help her to beguile the tedious walk.
With much good-will the motion was embrac’d, 560
To chat a while on their adventures pass’d:
Nor had the grateful Hind so soon forgot
Her friend and fellow-suff’rer in the plot.
Yet wondring how of late she grew estrang’d,
Her forehead cloudy and her count’nance chang’d, 565
She thought this hour th’ occasion would present
To learn her secret cause of discontent,
Which, well she hop’d, might be with ease redress’d,
Considering Her a well-bred civil beast,
And more a Gentlewoman than the rest. 570
After some common talk what rumours ran,
The Lady of the spotted-muff began.
DAME, said the Panther, times are mended well
Since late among the Philistines you fell.
The Toils were pitch’d, a spacious tract of ground
With expert Huntsmen was encompass’d round;
The Enclosure narrow’d; the sagacious pow’r 5
Of Hounds, and Death drew nearer, ev’ry Hour.
’Tis true, the younger Lyon scap’d the snare,
But all your priestly Calves lay strugling there;
As sacrifices on their Altars laid;
While you their careful mother wisely fled 10
Not trusting destiny to save your head.
For, whate’er Promises you have apply’d
To your unfailing Church, the surer side
Is four fair Leggs in danger to provide.
And whate’er tales of Peter’s Chair you tell, 15
Yet, saving Reverence of the Miracle,
The better luck was yours to ’scape so well.
As I remember, said the sober Hind,
Those Toils were for your own dear self design’d,
As well as me; and with the self same throw, 20
To catch the Quarry and the Vermin too,
(Forgive the sland’rous Tongues that call’d you so.)
Howe’er you take it now, the common Cry
Then ran you down for your rank Loyalty;
Besides, in Popery they thought you nurst, 25
(As evil tongues will ever speak the worst,)
Because some forms, and ceremonies some
You kept, and stood in the main question dumb.
Dumb you were born indeed; but thinking long
The Test, it seems, at last has loos’d your tongue. 30
And, to explain what your forefathers meant,
By real presence in the Sacrament,
(After long fencing push’d against a wall,)
Your salvo comes, that he’s not there at all:
There chang’d your faith, and what may change may fall. 35
Who can believe what varies every day,
Nor ever was, nor will be at a stay?
Tortures may force the tongue untruths to tell,
And I ne’er own’d my self infallible,
Reply’d the Panther; grant such Presence were, 40
Yet in your sense I never own’d it there.
A real vertue we by faith receive,
And that we in the sacrament believe.
Then, said the Hind, as you the matter state,
Not only Jesuits can equivocate; 45
For real, as you now the Word expound,
From Solid Substance dwindles to a Sound.
Methinks an Esop’s fable you repeat;
You know who took the Shadow for the Meat;
Your Churchs substance thus you change at will, 50
And yet retain your former figure still.
I freely grant you spoke to save your Life,
For then you lay beneath the Butchers Knife.
Long time you fought, redoubl’d Batt’ry bore,
But, after all, against your self you swore; 55
Your former self, for ev’ry Hour your form
Is chop’d and chang’d, like Winds before a Storm.
Thus Fear and Int’rest will prevail with some,
For all have not the Gift of Martyrdom.
The Panther grin’d at this, and thus reply’d; 60
That men may err was never yet deny’d.
But, if that common principle be true,
The Cannon, 1 Dame, is level’d full at you.
But, shunning long disputes, I fain wou’d see
That wond’rous Wight, infallibility. 65
Is he from Heav’n this mighty Champion come
Or lodg’d below in subterranean Rome?
First, seat him somewhere, and derive his Race,
Or else conclude that nothing has no place.
Suppose, (though I disown it,) said the Hind, 70
The certain Mansion were not yet assign’d,
The doubtful residence no proof can bring
Against the plain existence of the thing.
Because Philosophers may disagree,
If sight b’ emission or reception be, 75
Shall it be thence infer’d I do not see?
But you require an Answer positive,
Which yet, when I demand, you dare not give;
For Fallacies in Universals live.
I then affirm that this unfailing guide 80
In Pope and gen’ral Councils must reside;
Both lawful, both combin’d; what one decrees
By numerous Votes, the other Ratifies:
On this undoubted Sense the Church relies.
’Tis true some Doctors in a scantier space, 85
I mean in each apart contract the Place.
Some, who to greater length extend the Line,
The Churches after acceptation join.
This last Circumference appears too wide,
The Church diffus’d is by the Council ty’d; 90
As members by their Representatives
Oblig’d to Laws which Prince and Senate gives:
Thus some contract, and some enlarge the space;
In Pope and Council who denies the place,
Assisted from above with God’s unfailing grace? 95
Those Canons all the needful points contain;
Their sense so obvious, and their words so plain,
That no disputes about the doubtful Text
Have, hitherto, the lab’ring world perplex’d:
If any shou’d in after times appear, 100
New Councils must be call’d, to make the meaning clear.
Because in them the pow’r supreme resides;
And all the promises are to the Guides.
This may be taught with sound and safe Defence:
But mark how sandy is your own pretence, 105
Who, setting Councils, Pope, and Church aside,
Are ev’ry Man his own presuming Guide.
The sacred Books, you say, are full and plain,
And ev’ry needful point of Truth contain;
All who can read, Interpreters may be: 110
Thus though your several Churches disagree,
Yet ev’ry Saint has to himself alone
The Secret of this Philosophick Stone.
These Principles your jarring Sects unite,
When diff’ring Doctors and Disciples fight. 115
Though Luther, Zuinglius, Calvin, holy Chiefs,
Have made a Battel Royal of Beliefs;
Or like wild Horses sev’ral ways have whirl’d
The tortur’d Text about the Christian World;
Each Jehu lashing on with furious force, 120
That Turk or Jew cou’d not have us’d it worse.
No matter what dissension leaders make
Where ev’ry private man may save a stake:
Rul’d by the Scripture and his own advice,
Each has a blind by-path to Paradise; 125
Where driving in a Circle slow or fast,
Opposing Sects are sure to meet at last.
A wondrous charity you have in Store
For all reform’d to pass the narrow Door:
So much, that Mahomet had scarcely more. 130
For he, kind Prophet, was for damning none,
But Christ and Moyses were to save their own:
Himself was to secure his chosen race,
Though reason good for Turks to take the place,
And he allow’d to be the better man 135
In virtue of his holier Alcoran.
True, said the Panther, I shall ne’er deny
My Breth’ren may be sav’d as well as I:
Though Huguenots contemn our ordination,
Succession, ministerial vocation, 140
And Luther, more mistaking what he read,
Misjoins the sacred Body with the Bread;
Yet, Lady, still remember I maintain
The Word in needfull points is only plain.
Needless or needful I not now contend, 145
For still you have a loophole for a friend,
(Rejoyn’d the Matron) but the rule you lay
Has led whole flocks and leads them still astray
In weighty points, and full damnation’s way.
For did not Arius first, Socinus now 150
The Son’s eternal god-head disavow,
And did not these by Gospel Texts alone
Condemn our doctrine, and maintain their own?
Have not all hereticks the same pretence,
To plead the Scriptures in their own defence? 155
How did the Nicene council then decide
That strong debate, was it by Scripture try’d?
No sure to those 2 the Rebel would not yield,
Squadrons of Texts he marshal’d in the field;
That was but civil war, an equal set, 160
Where Piles with piles, and Eagles Eagles met.
With Texts point-blank and plain he fac’d the Foe:
And did not Sathan tempt our Saviour so?
The good old Bishops took a simpler way,
Each ask’d but what he heard his Father say, 165
Or how he was instructed in his youth,
And by tradition’s force upheld the truth.
The Panther smil’d at this, and when, said she,
Were those first Councils disallow’d by me?
Or where did I at sure tradition strike, 170
Provided still it were Apostolick?
Friend, said the Hind, you quit your former ground,
Where all your faith you did on Scripture found,
Now, ’tis tradition joined with holy writ;
But thus your memory betrays your wit. 175
No, said the Panther, for in that I view
When your tradition’s forg’d, and when ’tis true.
I set ’em by the rule, and as they square
Or deviate from undoubted doctrine there,
This Oral fiction, that old Faith declare. 180
(Hind.) The Council steered, it seems, a diff’rent course,
They try’d the Scripture by tradition’s force;
But you tradition by the Scripture try;
Pursu’d, by sects, from this to that you fly,
Nor dare on one foundation to rely. 185
The Word is then depos’d, and in this view
You rule the Scripture, not the Scripture you.
Thus said the Dame, and, smiling, thus pursu’d,
I see tradition then is disallow’d,
When not evinc’d by Scripture to be true, 190
And Scripture, as interpreted by you.
But here you tread upon unfaithfull ground;
Unless you cou’d infallibly expound.
Which you reject as odious Popery,
And throw that doctrine back with scorn on me. 195
Suppose we on things traditive divide,
And both appeal to Scripture to decide;
By various texts we both uphold our claim
Nay, often ground our titles on the same:
After long labour lost, and times expence, 200
Both grant the words and quarrel for the sense.
Thus all disputes for ever must depend;
For no dumb rule can controversies end.
Thus when you said tradition must be try’d
By Sacred Writ, whose sense your selves decide, 205
You said no more, but that your selves must be
The judges of the Scripture sense, not we.
Against our church tradition you declare,
And yet your Clerks would sit in Moyses chair:
At least ’tis prov’d against your argument, 210
The rule is far from plain, where all dissent.
If not by Scriptures, how can we be sure,
(Replied the Panther) what tradition’s pure?
For you may palm upon us new for old,
All, as they say, that glitters is not gold. 215
How but by following her, reply’d the dame,
To whom deriv’d from sire to son they came;
Where ev’ry age do’s on another move,
And trusts no farther than the next above;
Where all the rounds like Jacob’s ladder rise, 220
The lowest hid in earth, the topmost in the skyes?
Sternly the salvage did her answer mark,
Her glowing eye-balls glitt’ring in the dark,
And said but this, since lucre was your trade,
Succeeding times such dreadfull gaps have made 225
’Tis dangerous climbing: to your sons and you
I leave the ladder, and its omen too.
(Hind.) The Panther’s breath was ever fam’d for sweet,
But from the Wolf such wishes oft I meet:
You learn’d this language from the blatant beast, 230
Or rather did not speak, but were possess’d.
As for your answer, ’tis but barely urg’d;
You must evince tradition to be forg’d;
Produce plain proofs; unblemished authors use
As ancient as those ages they accuse; 235
Till when ’tis not sufficient to defame:
An old possession stands, till Elder quitts the claim.
Then for our int’rest, which is nam’d alone
To load with envy, we retort your own.
For when traditions in your faces fly, 240
Resolving not to yield, you must decry:
As when the cause goes hard, the guilty man
Excepts, and thins his jury all he can;
So when you stand of other aid bereft,
You to the twelve Apostles would be left. 245
Your friend the Wolfe did with more craft provide
To set those toys traditions quite aside:
And Fathers too, unless when reason spent
He cites ’em but sometimes for ornament.
But, Madam Panther, you, though more sincere, 250
Are not so wise as your Adulterer:
The private spirit is a better blind
Than all the dodging tricks your authours find.
For they who left the Scripture to the crowd,
Each for his own peculiar judge allow’d; 255
The way to please ’em was to make ’em proud.
Thus with full sails they ran upon the shelf;
Who cou’d suspect a couzenage from himself?
On his own reason safer ’tis to stand,
Than be deceiv’d and damn’d at second hand. 260
But you who Fathers and traditions take
And garble some, and some you quite forsake,
Pretending church auctority to fix,
And yet some grains of private spirit mix,
Are like a Mule made up of diff’ring seed, 265
And that’s the reason why you never breed;
At least not propagate your kind abroad,
For home-dissenters are by statutes aw’d.
And yet they grow upon you ev’ry day,
While you (to speak the best) are at a stay, 270
For sects that are extremes, abhor a middle way.
Like tricks of state, to stop a raging flood,
Or mollify a mad-brain’d Senate’s mood:
Of all expedients never one was good.
Well may they argue, (nor can you deny,) 275
If we must fix on church auctority,
Best on the best, the fountain, not the flood,
That must be better still, if this be good.
Shall she command who has herself rebell’d?
Is Antichrist by Antichrist expell’d? 280
Did we a lawfull tyranny displace,
To set aloft a bastard of the race?
Why all these wars to win the Book, if we
Must not interpret for our selves, but she?
Either be wholly slaves or wholly free. 285
For purging fires traditions must not fight;
But they must prove Episcopacy’s right:
Thus those led horses are from service freed;
You never mount ’em but in time of need.
Like mercenary’s, hir’d for home defence, 290
They will not serve against their native Prince.
Against domestick foes of Hierarchy
These are drawn forth, to make fanaticks fly;
But, when they see their country-men at hand.
Marching against ’em under church-command, 295
Streight they forsake their colours and disband.
Thus she, nor cou’d the Panther well enlarge;
With weak defence against so strong a charge;
But said, for what did Christ his Word provide,
If still his church must want a living guide? 300
And if all saving doctrines are not there,
Or sacred Pen-men could not make ’em clear,
From after-ages we should hope in vain
For truths, which men inspir’d, cou’d not explain.
Before the Word was written, said the Hind, 305
Our Saviour preached his Faith to humane kind;
From his Apostles the first age receiv’d
Eternal truth, and what they taught, believ’d.
Thus by tradition faith was planted first;
Succeeding flocks succeeding Pastours nurs’d. 310
This was the way our wise Redeemer chose,
(Who sure could all things for the best dispose,)
To fence his fold from their encroaching foes.
He cou’d have writ himself, but well foresaw
Th’ event would be like that of Moyses law; 315
Some difference wou’d arise, some doubts remain,
Like those which yet the jarring Jews maintain.
No written laws can be so plain, so pure,
But wit may gloss and malice may obscure;
Not those indited by his first command, 320
A Prophet grav’d the text, an Angel held his hand.
Thus faith was e’er the written word appear’d,
And men believ’d, not what they read, but heard,
But since the Apostles cou’d not be confin’d
To these, or those, but severally design’d 325
Their large commission round the world to blow,
To spread their faith they spread their labours too.
Yet still their absent flock their pains did share;
They hearken’d still, for love produces care.
And as mistakes arose, or discords fell, 330
Or bold seducers taught ’em to rebel,
As charity grew cold or faction hot,
Or long neglect their lessons had forgot,
For all their wants they wisely did provide,
And preaching by Epistles was supply’d: 335
So, great Physicians cannot all attend,
But some they visit and to some they send.
Yet all those letters were not writ to all,
Nor first intended, but occasional
Their absent sermons; nor if they contain 340
All needfull doctrines, are those doctrines plain.
Clearness by frequent preaching must be wrought;
They writ but seldom, but they daily taught.
And what one Saint has said of holy Paul,
He darkly writ, is true apply’d to all. 345
For this obscurity cou’d heav’n provide
More prudently than by a living guide,
As doubts arose, the difference to decide?
A guide was therefore needfull, therefore made;
And, if appointed, sure to be obey’d. 350
Thus, with due reverence to th’ Apostles writ,
By which my sons are taught, to which, submit,
I think, those truths their sacred works contain
The church alone can certainly explain;
That following ages, leaning on the past, 355
May rest upon the Primitive at last.
Nor would I thence the word no rule infer,
But none without the church interpreter;
Because, as I have urg’d before, ’tis mute,
And is it self the subject of dispute. 360
But what th’ Apostles their successors taught,
They to the next, from them to us is brought,
Th’ undoubted sense which is in Scripture sought.
From hence the Church is arm’d, when errours rise,
To stop their entrance, and prevent surprise; 365
And safe entrench’d within, her foes without defies.
By these all festring sores her counsels heal,
Which time or has discloas’d or shall reveal,
For discord cannot end without a last appeal.
Nor can a council national decide, 370
But with subordination to her Guide,
(I wish the cause were on that issue try’d.)
Much less the scripture; for suppose debate
Betwixt pretenders to a fair estate,
Bequeath’d by some Legator’s last intent; 375
(Such is our dying Saviour’s Testament:)
The will is prov’d, is open’d, and is read;
The doubtfull heirs their diff’ring titles plead:
All vouch the words their int’rest to maintain,
And each pretends by those his cause is plain. 380
Shall then the testament award the right?
No, that’s the Hungary for which they fight;
The field of battel, subject of debate;
The thing contended for, the fair estate.
The sense is intricate, ’tis onely clear 385
What vowels and what consonants are there.
Therefore ’tis plain, its meaning must be try’d
Before some judge appointed to decide.
Suppose, (the fair Apostate said,) I grant,
The faithfull flock some living guide should want, 390
Your arguments an endless chase persue:
Produce this vaunted Leader to our view,
This mighty Moyses of the chosen crew.
The Dame, who saw her fainting foe retir’d,
With force renew’d, to victory aspired; 395
(And looking upward to her kindred sky,
As once our Saviour own’d his Deity,
Pronounc’d his words—she whom ye seek am I.)
Nor less amazed this voice the Panther heard
Than were those Jews to hear a god declar’d. 400
Then thus the matron modestly renew’d;
Let all your prophets and their sects be view’d,
And see to which of ’em your selves think fit
The conduct of your conscience to submit:
Each Proselyte would vote his Doctor best, 405
With absolute exclusion to the rest:
Thus wou’d your Polish Diet disagree,
And end, as it began, in Anarchy;
Your self the fairest for election stand,
Because you seem crown-gen’ral of the land; 410
But soon against your superstitious lawn
Some Presbyterian Sabre wou’d be drawn:
In your establish’d laws of sov’raignty
The rest some fundamental flaw wou’d see,
And call Rebellion gospel-liberty. 415
To church-decrees your articles require
Submission modify’d, if not entire;
Homage deny’d, to censures you proceed;
But when Curtana will not doe the deed,
You lay that pointless clergy-weapon by, 420
And to the laws, your sword of justice fly.
Now this your sects the more unkindly take,
(Those prying varlets hit the blots you make)
Because some ancient friends of yours declare,
Your onely rule of faith the Scriptures are, 425
Interpreted, by men of judgment sound,
Which ev’ry sect will for themselves expound:
Nor think less rev’rence to their doctours due
For sound interpretation, than to you.
If then, by able heads, are understood 430
Your brother prophets, who reform’d abroad;
Those able heads expound a wiser way,
That their own sheep their shepherd shou’d obey.
But if you mean your selves are onely sound,
That doctrine turns the reformation round, 435
And all the rest are false reformers found.
Because in sundry Points you stand alone,
Not in Communion join’d with any one;
And therefore must be all the Church, or none.
Then, till you have agreed whose judge is best, 440
Against this forc’d submission they protest:
While sound and sound a different sense explains,
Both play at hard-head till they break their brains:
And from their Chairs each other’s force defy,
While unregarded thunders vainly fly. 445
I pass the rest, because your Church alone
Of all Usurpers best cou’d fill the Throne.
But neither you, nor any sect beside
For this high office can be qualify’d
With necessary Gifts requir’d in such a Guide. 450
For that which must direct the whole must be
Bound in one Bond of Faith and Unity:
But all your sev’ral Churches disagree.
The Consubstantiating Church and Priest
Refuse Communion to the Calvinist; 455
The French reform’d, from Preaching you restrain,
Because you judge their Ordination vain;
And so they judge of yours, but Donors must ordain.
In short, in Doctrine, or in Discipline
Not one reform’d, can with another join: 460
But all from each, as from Damnation fly;
No Union they pretend, but in Non-Popery.
Nor, should their Members in a Synod meet,
Cou’d any Church presume to mount the Seat
Above the rest, their discords to decide; 465
None wou’d obey, but each would be the Guide:
And face to face dissensions would encrease;
For only distance now preserves the Peace.
All in their Turns accusers and accus’d,
Babel was never half so much confus’d. 470
What one can plead, the rest can plead as well;
For amongst equals lies no last appeal,
And all confess themselves are fallible.
Now, since you grant some necessary Guide,
All who can err are justly laid aside: 475
Because a trust so sacred to confer
Shows want of such a sure Interpreter,
And how can he be needful who can err?
Then granting that unerring guide we want,
That such there is you stand obliged to grant: 480
Our Saviour else were wanting to supply
Our needs and obviate that Necessity.
It then remains that Church can only be
The guide which owns unfailing certainty;
Or else you slip your hold, and change your side, 485
Relapsing from a necessary Guide.
But this annex’d Condition of the Crown,
Immunity from Errours, you disown,
Here then you shrink, and lay your weak pretensions down.
For petty Royalties you raise debate; 490
But this unfailing Universal State
You shun: nor dare succeed to such a glorious weight.
And for that cause those Promises detest
With which our Saviour did his Church invest:
But strive t’ evade, and fear to find ’em true, 495
As conscious they were never meant to you:
All which the mother church asserts her own,
And with unrivall’d claim ascends the throne.
So when of old th’ Almighty Father sate
In Council, to redeem our ruin’d state, 500
Millions of millions, at a distance round,
Silent the sacred Consistory crown’d,
To hear what mercy mixt with Justice cou’d propound.
All prompt with eager pity, to fulfil
The full extent of their Creatour’s will: 505
But when the stern conditions were declar’d,
A mournful whisper through the host was heard,
And the whole hierarchy, with heads hung down,
Submissively declin’d the pondrous proffer’d crown.
Then, not till then, th’ eternal Son from high 510
Rose in the strength of all the Deity;
Stood forth t’ accept the terms, and underwent
A weight which all the frame of heav’n had bent,
Nor he Himself cou’d bear, but as omnipotent.
Now, to remove the least remaining doubt, 515
That even the blear-ey’d sects may find her out,
Behold what heavenly rays adorn her brows,
What from his Wardrobe her belov’d allows
To deck the wedding-day of his unspotted spouse.
Behold what marks of Majesty she brings; 520
Richer than antient heirs of Eastern kings:
Her right hand holds the sceptre and the keys,
To show whom she commands, and who obeys:
With these to bind or set the sinner free,
With that t’ assert spiritual Royalty. 525
One in herself, not rent by Schism, but sound, 3
Entire, one solid shining Diamond,
Not Sparkles shattered into Sects like you,
One is the Church, and must be to be true:
One central principle of unity. 530
As undivided, so from errours free,
As one in faith, so one in sanctity.
Thus she, and none but she, th’ insulting Rage
Of Hereticks oppos’d from Age to Age:
Still when the Giant-brood invades her Throne, 535
She stoops from Heav’n and meets ’em half way down,
And with paternal Thunder vindicates her Crown.
But like Egyptian Sorcerers you stand,
And vainly lift aloft your Magick Wand
To sweep away the Swarms of Vermin from the Land. 540
You cou’d like them, with like infernal Force
Produce the Plague, but not arrest the Course.
But when the Boils and Botches, 4 with disgrace
And publick Scandal sat upon the Face,
Themselves attack’d, the Magi strove no more, 545
They saw God’s Finger, and their Fate deplore;
Themselves they cou’d not Cure of the dishonest sore.
Thus one, thus pure, behold her largely spread
Like the fair Ocean from her Mother-Bed;
From East to West triumphantly she rides, 550
All Shoars are water’d by her wealthy Tides.
The Gospel-sound, diffus’d from Pole to Pole,
Where winds can carry and where waves can roll.
The self same doctrin of the Sacred Page
Convey’d to ev’ry clime, in ev’ry age. 555
Here let my sorrow give my satyr place,
To raise new blushes on my British race;
Our sayling Ships like common shoars we use,
And through our distant Colonies diffuse
The draughts of Dungeons and the stench of stews, 560
Whom, when their home-bred honesty is lost,
We disembogue on some far Indian coast;
Thieves Pandars, Palliards, sins of ev’ry sort;
Those are the manufactures we export;
And these the Missioners our zeal has made: 565
For, with my Countrey’s pardon be it said,
Religion is the least of all our trade.
Yet some improve their traffick more than we,
For they on gain, their only God, rely:
And set a publick price on piety. 570
Industrious of the needle and the chart,
They run full sail to their Japponian Mart;
Prevention fear, and prodigal of fame
Sell all of Christian to the very name;
Nor leave enough of that to hide their naked shame. 575
Thus of three marks, which in the Creed we view,
Not one of all can be apply’d to you:
Much less the fourth; in vain alas you seek
Th’ ambitious title of Apostolick:
God-like descent! ’tis well your bloud can be 580
Prov’d noble in the third or fourth degree:
For all of ancient that you had before,
(I mean what is not borrow’d from our store)
Was Errour fulminated o’er and o’er.
Old Heresies condemned in ages past, 585
By care and time recover’d from the blast.
’Tis said with ease, but never can be prov’d,
The church her old foundations has remov’d,
And built new doctrines on unstable sands:
Judge that, ye winds and rains; you prov’d her, yet she stands. 590
Those ancient doctrines charg’d on her for new,
Shew when, and how, and from what hands they grew.
We claim no pow’r, when Heresies grow bold,
To coin new faith, but still declare the old.
How else cou’d that obscene disease be purg’d 595
When controverted texts are vainly urg’d?
To prove tradition new, there’s somewhat more
Requir’d, than saying, ’twas not us’d before.
Those monumental arms are never stirr’d,
Till Schism or Heresie call down Goliah’s sword. 600
Thus, what you call corruptions, are in truth,
The first plantations of the gospel’s youth,
Old standard faith: but cast your eyes again,
And view those errours which new sects maintain,
Or which of old disturb’d the churches peaceful reign; 605
And we can point each period of the time,
When they began, and who begot the crime;
Can calculate how long the eclipse endur’d,
Who interpos’d, what digits were obscur’d:
Of all which are already pass’d away, 610
We know the rise, the progress and decay.
Despair at our foundations then to strike,
Till you can prove your faith Apostolick;
A limpid stream drawn from the native source;
Succession lawfull in a lineal course. 615
Prove any Church, oppos’d to this our head,
So one, so pure, so unconfin’dly spread,
Under one chief of the spiritual state,
The members all combin’d, and all subordinate.
Show such a seamless coat, from schism so free, 620
In no communion joined with heresie:
If such a one you find, let truth prevail:
Till when, your weights will in the balance fail:
A church unprincipl’d kicks up the scale.
But if you cannot think (nor sure you can 625
Suppose in God what were unjust in man,)
That he, the fountain of eternal grace,
Should suffer falsehood for so long a space
To banish truth and to usurp her place;
That seav’n 5 successive ages should be lost 630
And preach damnation at their proper cost;
That all your erring ancestours should die
Drown’d in the Abyss of deep Idolatry;
If piety forbid such thoughts to rise,
Awake, and open your unwilling eyes: 635
God has left nothing for each age undone,
From this to that wherein he sent his Son:
Then think but well of him, and half your work is done.
See how his Church, adorn’d with ev’ry grace,
With open arms, a kind forgiving face, 640
Stands ready to prevent her long-lost sons embrace.
Not more did Joseph o’er his brethren weep,
Nor less himself cou’d from discovery keep,
When in the crowd of suppliants they were seen,
And in their crew his best-beloved Benjamin. 645
That pious Joseph in the church behold, 6
To feed your famine, and refuse your gold;
The Joseph you exil’d, the Joseph whom you sold.
Thus, while with heav’nly charity she spoke,
A streaming blaze the silent shadows broke; 650
Shot from the skyes; 7 a cheerful azure light;
The birds obscene to forests wing’d their flight,
And gaping graves receiv’d the wand’ring guilty spright.
Such were the pleasing triumphs of the sky
For James his late nocturnal victory; 655
The pledge of his Almighty patron’s love,
The fire-works which his angel made above.
I saw myself the lambent easie light 8
Gild the brown horrour and dispell the night;
The messenger with speed the tidings bore; 660
News which three lab’ring nations did restore;
But heav’ns own Nuntius was arrived before.
By this the Hind had reached her lonely cell,
And vapours rose, and dews unwholesome fell,
When she, by frequent observation wise, 665
As one who long on heav’n had fix’d her eyes.
Discern’d a change of weather in the skyes.
The Western borders were with crimson spread,
The moon descending look’d all flaming red;
She thought good manners bound her to invite 670
The stranger Dame to be her guest that night.
’Tis true, coarse dyet and a short repast,
(She said) were weak inducements to the tast
Of one so nicely bred, and so unus’d to fast;
But what plain fare her cottage cou’d afford, 675
A hearty welcome at a homely board
Was freely hers; and to supply the rest,
An honest meaning, and an open breast.
Last, with content of mind, the poor man’s Wealth;
A grace-cup to their common Patron’s health. 680
This she desired her to accept, and stay,
For fear she might be wilder’d in her way,
Because she wanted an unerring guide,
And then the dew-drops on her silken hide
Her tender constitution did declare, 685
Too Lady-like a long fatigue to bear,
And rough inclemencies of raw nocturnal air.
But most she fear’d that, travelling so late,
Some evil-minded beasts might lye in wait,
And without witness wreak their hidden hate. 690
The Panther, though she lent a listening ear,
Had more of Lyon in her than to fear:
Yet wisely weighing, since she had to deal
With many foes, their numbers might prevail,
Returned her all the thanks she could afford; 695
And took her friendly hostess at her word,
Who ent’ring first her lowly roof, (a shed
With hoary moss and winding Ivy spread,
Honest enough to hide an humble Hermit’s head,)
Thus graciously bespoke her welcome guest: 700
So might these walls, with your fair presence blest,
Become your dwelling-place of everlasting rest,
Not for a night, or quick revolving year,
Welcome an owner, not a sojourner.
This peaceful Seat my poverty secures, 705
War seldom enters but where wealth allures
Nor yet dispise it, for this poor aboad
Has oft receiv’d and yet receives a god;
A god, victorious of the stygian race,
Here laid his sacred limbs, and sanctified the place. 710
This mean retreat did mighty Pan contain;
Be emulous of him, and pomp disdain,
And dare not to debase your soul to gain.
The silent stranger stood amaz’d to see
Contempt of wealth, and wilfull poverty: 715
And, though ill habits are not soon controll’d,
A while suspended her desire of gold.
But civilly drew in her sharpn’d paws,
Not violating hospitable laws,
And pacify’d her tail and lick’d her frothy jaws. 720
The Hind did first her country Cates provide;
Then couch’d her self securely by her side.
MUCH malice mingl’d with a little wit
Perhaps may censure this mysterious writ:
Because the Muse has peopl’d Caledon
With Panthers, Bears and Wolves, and beasts unknown,
As if we were not stock’d with monsters of our own. 5
Let Æsop answer, who has set to view,
Such kinds as Greece and Phrygia never knew;
And mother Hubbard in her homely dress
Has sharply blam’d a British Lioness,
That Queen, whose feast the factious rabble keep, 10
Expos’d obscenely naked and a-sleep.
Led by those great examples, may not I
The wanted organs of their words supply?
If men transact like brutes, ’tis equal then
For brutes to claim the privilege of men. 15
Others our Hind of folly will endite,
To entertain a dang’rous guest by night.
Let those remember, that she cannot dye
Till rolling time is lost in round eternity;
Nor need she fear the Panther, though untam’d, 20
Because the Lyon’s peace was now proclaim’d;
The wary salvage would not give offence,
To forfeit the protection of her Prince;
But watch’d the time her vengeance to compleat,
When all her furry sons in frequent Senate met. 25
Mean while she quench’d her fury at the floud
And with a Lenten sallad cool’d her bloud.
Their commons, though but course, were nothing scant,
Nor did their minds an equal banquet want.
For now the Hind, whose noble nature strove 30
T’ express her plain simplicity of love,
Did all the honours of her house so well,
No sharp debates disturb’d the friendly meal.
She turn’d the talk, avoiding that extreme,
To common dangers past, a sadly pleasing theam; 35
Remembering ev’ry storm which toss’d the state,
When both were objects of the publick hate,
And drop’d a tear betwixt for her own children’s fate.
Nor fail’d she then a full review to make
Of what the Panther suffer’d for her sake. 40
Her lost esteem, her truth, her loyal care,
Her faith unshaken to an exil’d Heir,
Her strength t’ endure, her courage to defy,
Her choice of honourable infamy.
On these prolixly thankfull, she enlarg’d, 45
Then with acknowledgments her self she charg’d:
For friendship of it self, an holy tye,
Is made more sacred by adversity.
Now should they part, malicious tongues wou’d say,
They met like chance companions on the way, 50
Whom mutual fear of robbers had possess’d;
While danger lasted, kindness was profess’d;
But that once o’er, the short-liv’d union ends,
The road divides, and there divide the friends.
The Panther nodded when her speech was done, 55
And thanked her coldly in a hollow tone.
But said, her gratitude had gone too far
For common offices of Christian care.
If to the lawfull Heir she had been true,
She paid but Cæsar what was Cæsar’s due. 60
I might, she added, with like praise describe
Your suff’ring sons, and so return your bribe;
But incense from my hands is poorly priz’d,
For gifts are scorn’d where givers are despis’d.
I serv’d a turn, and then was cast away; 65
You, like the gawdy fly, your wings display,
And sip the sweets, and bask in your Great Patron’s day.
This heard, the Matron was not slow to find
What sort of malady had seiz’d her mind:
Disdain, with gnawing envy, fell despight, 70
And canker’d malice stood in open sight:
Ambition, int’rest, pride without controul,
And jealousie, the jaundice of the soul;
Revenge, the bloudy minister of ill,
With all the lean tormenters of the will. 75
’Twas easie now to guess from whence arose
Her new made union with her ancient foes.
Her forc’d civilities, her faint embrace,
Affected kindness with an alter’d face:
Yet durst she not too deeply probe the wound, 80
As hoping still the nobler parts were sound;
But strove with Anodynes t’ asswage the smart,
And mildly thus her med’cine did impart.
Complaints of Lovers help to ease their pain;
It shows a Rest of kindness to complain, 85
A friendship loth to quit its former hold,
And conscious merit may be justly bold.
But much more just your jealousie would show,
If others good were injury to you:
Witness ye heav’ns how I rejoice to see 90
Rewarded worth, and rising loyalty.
Your Warrior Offspring that upheld the crown,
The scarlet honours of your peacefull gown,
Are the most pleasing objects I can find,
Charms to my sight, and cordials to my mind: 95
When vertue spooms before a prosperous gale,
My heaving wishes help to fill the sail;
And if my pray’rs for all the brave were heard,
Cæsar should still have such, and such should still reward.
The labour’d earth your pains have sow’d and till’d: 100
’Tis just you reap the product of the field.
Yours be the harvest, ’tis the beggars gain
To glean the fallings of the loaded wain.
Such scatter’d ears as are not worth your care,
Your charity for alms may safely spare, 105
And alms are but the vehicles of pray’r.
My daily bread is litt’rally implor’d,
I have no barns nor granaries to hoard;
If Cæsar to his own his hand extends,
Say which of yours his charity offends: 110
You know, he largely gives, to more than are his friends.
Are you defrauded when he feeds the poor?
Our mite decreases nothing of your store;
I am but few, and by your fare you see
My crying sins are not of luxury. 115
Some juster motive sure your mind withdraws,
And makes you break our friendships holy laws,
For barefac’d envy is too base a cause.
Show more occasion for your discontent;
Your love, the Wolf, wou’d help you to invent. 120
Some German quarrel, or, as times go now,
Some French, where force is uppermost, will doe.
When at the fountains head, as merit ought
To claim the place, you take a swilling draught,
How easie ’tis an envious eye to throw 125
And tax the sheep for troubling streams below;
Or call her, (when no farther cause you find,)
An enemy profess’d of all your kind!
But then, perhaps, the wicked world wou’d think
The Wolf design’d to eat as well as drink. 130
This last allusion gaul’d the Panther more,
Because indeed it rubb’d upon the sore.
Yet seem’d she not to winch, though shrewdly pain’d:
But thus her Passive character maintain’d.
I never grudg’d, whate’er my foes report, 135
Your flaunting fortune in the Lyon’s court.
You have your day, or you are much bely’d,
But I am always on the suff’ring side:
You know my doctrine, and I need not say
I will not, but I cannot disobey. 140
On this firm principle I ever stood:
He of my sons who fails to make it good,
By one rebellious act renounces to my bloud.
Ah, said the Hind, how many sons have you
Who call you mother, whom you never knew! 145
But most of them who that relation plead
Are such ungratious youths as wish you dead.
They gape at rich revenues which you hold
And fain would nible at your grandame gold
Enquire into your years, and laugh to find; 150
Your crazy temper shows you much declin’d.
Were you not dim, and doted, you might see
A pack of cheats that claim a pedigree,
No more of kin to you, than you to me.
Do you not know that for a little coin 155
Heralds can foist a name into the line?
They ask you blessing but for what you have,
But once possess’d of what with care you save,
The wanton boyes wou’d piss upon your grave.
Your sons of Latitude that court your grace, 160
Though most resembling you in form and face,
Are far the worst of your pretended race.
And, but I blush your honesty to blot:
Pray God you prove ’em lawfully begot:
For, in some Popish libells I have read, 165
The Wolf has been too busie in your bed;
At least their hinder parts, the belly-piece,
The paunch, and all that Scorpio claims are his.
Their malice too a sore suspicion brings;
For though they dare not bark, they snarl at kings; 170
Nor blame ’em for intruding in your line,
Fat Bishopricks are still of right divine.
Think you your new French Proselytes are come
To starve abroad, because they starv’d at home?
Your benefices twinckl’d from afar, 175
They found the new Messiah by the star:
Those Swisses fight on any side for pay,
And ’tis the living that conforms, not they.
Mark with what management their tribes divide,
Some stick to you, and some to t’ other side 180
That many churches may for many mouths provide.
More vacant pulpits wou’d more converts make;
All wou’d have Latitude enough to take;
The rest unbenefic’d, your sects maintain
For ordinations without cures are vain, 185
And chamber practice is a silent gain.
Your sons of breadth at home, are much like these,
Their soft and yielding metals run with ease;
They melt, and take the figure of the mould:
But harden, and preserve it best in gold. 190
Your Delphick sword, the Panther then reply’d,
Is double-edg’d, and cuts on either side.
Some sons of mine, who bear upon their shield,
Three steeples Argent in a sable field,
Have sharply tax’d your converts, who unfed 195
Have follow’d you for miracles of bread;
Such who themselves of no religion are,
Allur’d with gain, for any will declare.
Bare lyes with bold assertions they can face,
But dint of argument is out of place. 200
The grim Logician puts ’em in a fright,
’Tis easier far to flourish than to fight.
Thus, our eighth Henry’s marriage they defame;
They say the schism of beds began the game,
Divorcing from the Church to wed the Dame. 205
Though largely prov’d, and by himself profess’d
That conscience, conscience would not let him rest:
I mean, not till possess’d of her he lov’d,
And old, uncharming Catherine was remov’d.
For sundry years before did he complain, 210
And told his ghostly Confessour his pain.
With the same impudence, without a ground,
They say, that look the reformation round,
No Treatise of Humility is found.
But if none were, the Gospel does not want, 215
Our Saviour preach’d it, and I hope you grant,
The Sermon in the mount was Protestant:
No doubt, reply’d the Hind, as sure as all
The writings of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.
On that decision let it stand or fall. 220
Now for my converts, who you say unfed
Have follow’d me for miracles of bread.
Judge not by hear-say, but observe at least,
If since their change, their loaves have been increast.
The Lyon buyes no Converts, if he did, 225
Beasts wou’d be sold as fast as he cou’d bid.
Tax those of int’rest who conform for gain,
Or stay the market of another reign.
Your broad-way sons wou’d never be too nice
To close with Calvin, if he paid their price; 230
But, rais’d three steeples high’r, wou’d change their note,
And quit the Cassock for the Canting-coat.
Now, if you damn this censure, as too bold,
Judge by your selves, and think not others sold.
Mean-time my sons accus’d, by fames report 235
Pay small attendance at the Lyon’s court,
Nor rise with early crowds, nor flatter late,
(For silently they beg who daily wait.)
Preferment is bestow’d that comes unsought,
Attendance is a bribe, and then ’tis bought. 240
How they shou’d speed, their fortune is untry’d,
For not to ask, is not to be denied.
For what they have their God and King they bless,
And hope they shou’d not murmur, had they less.
But if reduc’d subsistence to implore, 245
In common prudence they wou’d pass your door.
Unpitty’d Hudibrass, your Champion friend,
Has shown how far your charities extend.
This lasting verse shall on his tomb be read,
He sham’d you living, and upbraids you dead. 250
With odious Atheist names you load your foes,
Your lib’ral Clergy why did I expose?
It never fails in charities like those.
In climes where true religion is profess’d,
That imputation were no laughing jest, 255
But Imprimatur, with a Chaplain’s name,
Is here sufficient licence to defame.
What wonder is’t that black detraction thrives?
The Homicide of names is less than lives,
And yet the perjur’d murtherer survives. 260
This said, she paus’d a little, and suppress’d
The boiling indignation of her breast;
She knew the vertue of her blade, nor wou’d
Pollute her satyr with ignoble bloud:
Her panting foes she saw before her lye, 265
And back she drew the shining weapon dry
So when the gen’rous Lyon has in sight
His equal match, he rouses for the fight;
But when his foe lyes prostrate on the plain,
He sheathes his paws, uncurls his angry mane; 270
And, pleas’d with bloudless honours of the day,
Walks over and disdains th’ inglorious Prey.
So JAMES, if great with less we may compare,
Arrests his rowling thunder-bolts in air;
And grants ungratefull friends a lengthn’d space, 275
T’ implore the remnants of long suff’ring grace.
This breathing-time the Matron took; and then,
Resum’d the thrid of her discourse agen.
Be vengeance wholly left to pow’rs divine,
And let heav’n judge betwixt your sons and mine: 280
If joyes hereafter must be purchas’d here
With loss of all that mortals hold so dear,
Then welcome infamy and publick shame,
And, last, a long farewell to worldly fame.
’Tis said with ease, but oh, how hardly try’d 285
By haughty souls to humane honour ty’d!
O sharp convulsive pangs of agonizing pride!
Down then, thou rebell, never more to rise,
And what thou didst and dost so dearly prize,
That fame, that darling fame, make that thy sacrifice. 290
’Tis nothing thou hast giv’n; then add thy tears
For a long race of unrepenting years
’Tis nothing yet; yet all thou hast to give:
Then add those may-be years thou hast to live.
Yet nothing still: then poor, and naked come, 295
Thy father will receive his unthrift home,
And thy blest Saviour’s bloud discharge the mighty sum.
Thus (she pursu’d) I discipline a son
Whose uncheck’d fury to revenge wou’d run:
He champs the bit, impatient of his loss, 300
And starts a-side and flounders at the cross.
Instruct him better, gracious God, to know,
As thine is vengeance, so forgiveness too;
That, suff’ring from ill tongues he bears no more
Than what his Sovereign bears, and what his Saviour bore. 305
It now remains for you to school your child,
And ask why God’s anointed he revil’d;
A King and Princess dead! did Shimei worse?
The curser’s punishment should fright the curse:
Your son was warn’d, and wisely gave it o’re, 310
But he who councell’d him has paid the score:
The heavy malice cou’d no higher tend,
But woe to him on whom the weights descend:
So to permitted ills the Dæmon flys:
His rage is aim’d at him who rules the skyes; 315
Constrain’d to quit his cause, no succour found,
The foe discharges ev’ry Tyre around,
In clouds of smoke abandoning the fight,
But his own thund’ring peals proclaim his flight.
In Henry’s change his charge as ill succeeds; 320
To that long story little answer needs,
Confront but Henry’s words with Henry’s deeds.
Were space allow’d, with ease it might be prov’d,
What springs his blessed reformation mov’d.
The dire effects appear’d in open sight, 325
Which from the cause, he calls a distant flight
And yet no larger leap than from the sun to light.
Now last, your sons a double Pæan sound,
A Treatise of Humility is found.
’Tis found, but better had it ne’er been sought 330
Than thus in Protestant procession brought.
The fam’d original through Spain is known,
Rodriguez work, my celebrated son,
Which yours by ill-translating made his own;
Conceal’d its authour, and usurp’d the name, 335
The basest and ignoblest theft of fame.
My Altars kindl’d first that living coal;
Restore, or practice better what you stole:
That vertue could this humble verse inspire,
’Tis all the restitution I require. 340
Glad was the Panther that the charge was clos’d,
And none of all her fav’rite sons expos’d.
For laws of arms permit each injur’d man
To make himself a saver where he can.
Perhaps the plunder’d merchant cannot tell 345
The names of Pirates in whose hands he fell:
But at the den of thieves he justly flies,
And ev’ry Algerine is lawfull prize.
No private person in the foes estate
Can plead exemption from the publick fate. 350
Yet Christian laws allow not such redress;
Then let the greater supersede the less.
But let th’ Abbetors of the Panther’s crime
Learn to make fairer wars another time.
Some characters may sure be found to write 355
Among her sons; for ’tis no common sight,
A spotted Dam, and all her offspring white.
The Salvage, though she saw her plea controll’d,
Yet wou’d not wholly seem to quit her hold,
But offer’d fairly to compound the strife; 360
And judge conversion by the convert’s life.
’Tis true, she said, I think it somewhat strange
So few shou’d follow profitable change;
For present joys are more to flesh and bloud
Than a dull prospect of a distant good. 365
’Twas well alluded by a son of mine,
(I hope to quote him is not to purloin;)
Two magnets, heav’n and earth, allure to bliss;
The larger loadstone that, the nearer this:
The weak attraction of the greater fails, 370
We nodd a-while, but neighbourhood prevails:
But when the greater proves the nearer too,
I wonder more your converts come so slow.
Methinks in those who firm with me remain,
It shows a nobler principle than gain. 375
Your inf’rence wou’d be strong (the Hind reply’d)
If yours were in effect the suff’ring side;
Your clergy sons their own in peace possess,
Nor are their prospects in reversion less.
My Proselytes are struck with awfull dread, 380
Your bloudy Comet-laws hang blazing o’re their head.
The respite they enjoy but onely lent,
The best they have to hope, protracted punishment.
Be judge your self, if int’rest may prevail,
Which motives, yours or mine, will turn the scale. 385
While pride and pomp allure, and plenteous ease,
That is, till man’s predominant passions cease,
Admire no longer at my slow encrease.
By education most have been misled;
So they believe, because they so were bred. 390
The Priest continues what the nurse began,
And thus the child imposes on the man.
The rest I nam’d before, nor need repeat;
But int’rest is the most prevailing cheat,
The sly seducer both of age and youth; 395
They study that, and think they study truth:
When int’rest fortifies an argument,
Weak reason serves to gain the wills assent;
For souls, already warp’d, receive an easie bent.
Add long prescription of establish’d laws, 400
And picque of honour to maintain a cause,
And shame of change, and fear of future ill,
And Zeal, the blind conductor of the will;
And chief among the still mistaking crowd,
The fame of teachers obstinate and proud, 405
And, more than all, the private Judge allowed.
Disdain of Fathers which the daunce began,
And last, uncertain whose the narrower span,
The clown unread, and half-read gentleman.
To this the Panther, with a scornfull smile: 410
Yet still you travail with unwearied toil,
And range around the realm without controll
Among my sons for proselytes to prole,
And here and there you snap some silly soul.
You hinted fears of future change in state, 415
Pray heav’n you did not prophesie your fate;
Perhaps you think your time of triumph near,
But may mistake the season of the year;
The Swallows fortune gives you cause to fear.
For charity (reply’d the Matron) tell 420
What sad mischance those pretty birds befell.
Nay, no mischance, (the salvage Dame reply’d,)
But want of wit in their unerring guide,
And eager haste and gaudy hopes and giddy pride.
Yet, wishing timely warning may prevail, 425
Make you the moral, and I’ll tell the tale.
The Swallow, privileg’d above the rest
Of all the birds as man’s familiar guest,
Pursues the Sun in summer brisk and bold,
But wisely shuns the persecuting cold: 430
Is well to chancels and to chimnies known,
Though ’tis not thought she feeds on smoak alone.
From hence she has been held of heav’nly line,
Endu’d with particles of soul divine.
This merry Chorister had long possess’d 435
Her summer seat, and feather’d well her nest:
Till frowning skys began to change their chear,
And time turn’d up the wrong side of the year;
The shedding trees began the ground to strow
With yellow leaves, and bitter blasts to blow. 440
Sad auguries of winter thence she drew,
Which by instinct, or Prophecy, she knew:
When prudence warn’d her to remove betimes,
And seek a better heav’n and warmer clymes.
Her sons were summon’d on a steeples height, 445
And, call’d in common council, vote a flight;
The day was nam’d, the next that shou’d be fair,
All to the gen’ral rendezvous repair,
They try their flutt’ring wings and trust themselves in air.
But whether upward to the moon they go, 450
Or dream the winter out in caves below,
Or hawk at flies elsewhere, concerns not us to know.
Southwards, you may be sure, they bent their flight,
And harbour’d in a hollow rock at night;
Next morn they rose, and set up ev’ry sail; 455
The wind was fair, but blew a mackrel gale:
The sickly young sat shiv’ring on the shoar,
Abhorr’d salt-water never seen before,
And pray’d their tender mothers to delay
The passage, and expect a fairer day. 460
With these the Martyn readily concurr’d,
A church-begot and church-believing bird;
Of little body, but of lofty mind,
Round belly’d, for a dignity design’d,
And much a dunce, as Martyns are by kind. 465
Yet often quoted Canon-laws and Code
And Fathers which he never understood,
But little learning needs in noble bloud.
For, sooth to say, the Swallow brought him in,
Her household Chaplain, and her next of kin. 470
In Superstition silly to excess,
And casting Schemes, by planetary guess:
In fine, shortwing’d, unfit himself to fly,
His fear foretold foul-weather in the sky.
Besides, a Raven from a withered Oak, 475
Left of their lodging, was observed to croke.
That omen lik’d him not, so his advice
Was present safety, bought at any price:
(A seeming pious care that covered cowardise.)
To strengthen this, he told a boding dream, 480
Of rising waters and a troubl’d stream,
Sure signs of anguish, dangers, and distress,
With something more, not lawfull to express:
By which he slyly seemed to intimate
Some secret revelation of their fate. 485
For he concluded, once upon a time,
He found a leaf inscrib’d with sacred rime,
Whose antique characters did well denote
The Sibyl’s hand of the Cumæan Grott:
The mad divineress had plainly writ, 490
A time should come (but many ages yet,)
In which, sinister destinies ordain,
A Dame should drown with all her feather’d train,
And seas from thence be called the Chelidonian main.
At this, some shook for fear, the more devout 495
Arose, and bless’d themselves from head to foot.
’Tis true, some stagers of the wiser sort
Made all these idle wonderments their sport
They said, their onely danger was delay,
And he who heard what ev’ry fool cou’d say, 500
Would never fix his thoughts, but trim his time away.
The passage yet was good; the wind, ’tis true,
Was somewhat high, but that was nothing new,
Nor more than usual Equinoxes blew.
The Sun (already from the scales declin’d) 505
Gave little hopes of better days behind,
But change from bad to worse of weather and of wind.
Nor need they fear the dampness of the Sky
Should flag their wings, and hinder them to fly,
’Twas onely water thrown on sails too dry. 510
But, least of all, Philosophy presumes
Of truth in dreams, from melancholy fumes;
Perhaps the Martyn, hous’d in holy ground,
Might think of Ghosts that walk their midnight round,
Till grosser atoms tumbling in the stream 515
Of fancy, madly met and clubb’d into a dream.
As little weight his vain presages bear,
Of ill effect to such alone who fear.
Most prophecies are of a piece with these,
Each Nostradamus can foretell with ease: 520
Not naming persons, and confounding times,
One casual truth supports a thousand lying rimes.
Th’ advice was true, but fear had seized the most,
And all good counsel is on cowards lost.
The question crudely put, to shun delay, 525
’Twas carried by the major part to stay.
His point thus gained, Sir Martyn dated thence
His pow’r, and from a Priest became a Prince.
He order’d all things with a busie care,
And cells, and refectories did prepare, 530
And large provisions laid of winter fare.
But now and then let fall a word or two
Of hope, that heav’n some miracle might show,
And, for their sakes the sun should backward go;
Against the laws of nature upward climb, 535
And, mounted on the Ram, renew the prime:
For which two proofs in Sacred story lay,
Of Ahaz dial and of Joshuah’s day.
In expectation of such times as these
A chapel hous’d ’em, truly called of ease: 540
For Martyn much devotion did not ask,
They pray’d sometimes, and that was all their task.
It happen’d (as beyond the reach of wit
Blind prophecies may have a lucky hit)
That this accomplish’d, or at least in part, 545
Gave great repute to their new Merlin’s art.
Some Swifts, 1 the Gyants of the Swallow kind,
Large limb’d, stout-hearted, but of stupid mind,
(For Swisses, or for Gibeonites design’d,)
These Lubbers, peeping through a broken pane, 550
To suck fresh air, survey’d the neighbouring plain;
And saw (but scarcely could believe their eyes)
New Blossoms flourish and new flow’rs arise;
As God had been abroad, and walking there
Had left his foot-steps and reform’d the year: 555
The sunny hills from far were seen to glow
With glittering beams, and in the meads below
The burnish’d brooks appear’d with liquid gold to flow.
At last they heard the foolish Cuckow sing,
Whose note proclaim’d the holy-day of spring. 560
No longer doubting, all prepare to fly
And repossess their patrimonial sky.
The Priest before ’em did his wings display;
And that good omens might attend their way,
As luck wou’d have it, ’twas St. Martyn’s day. 565
Who but the Swallow now triumphs alone?
The Canopy of heaven is all her own;
Her youthfull offspring to their haunts repair;
And glide along in glades, and skim in air,
And dip for insects in the purling springs, 570
And stoop on rivers to refresh their wings.
Their mothers think a fair provision made,
That ev’ry son can live upon his trade,
And now the carefull charge is off their hands,
Look out for husbands and new nuptial bands: 575
The youthfull widow longs to be supply’d;
But first the lover is by Lawyers ty’d
To settle jointure-chimneys on the bride.
So thick they couple, in so short a space,
That Martyns marr’age offerings rise apace; 580
Their ancient houses, running to decay,
Are furbish’d up and cemented with clay;
They teem already; stores of eggs are laid,
And brooding mothers call Lucina’s aid.
Fame spreads the news, and foreign fowls appear 585
In flocks to greet the new returning year,
To bless the founder, and partake the cheer.
And now ’twas time (so fast their numbers rise)
To plant abroad, and people colonies;
The youth drawn forth, as Martyn had desir’d 590
(For so their cruel destiny requir’d)
Were sent far off on an ill fated day;
The rest wou’d need conduct ’em on their way,
And Martyn went, because he fear’d alone to stay.
So long they flew with inconsiderate haste, 595
That now their afternoon began to waste;
And, what was ominous, that very morn
The Sun was entr’d into Capricorn;
Which, by their bad Astronomers account,
That week the virgin balance shou’d remount; 600
An infant moon eclips’d him in his way,
And hid the small remainders of his day:
The crowd 2 amaz’d pursued no certain mark;
But birds met birds, and justled in the dark;
Few mind the publick in a Panick fright; 605
And fear increas’d the horrour of the night.
Night came, but unattended with repose;
Alone she came, no sleep their eyes to close,
Alone, and black she came, no friendly stars arose.
What shou’d they doe, beset with dangers round, 610
No neighbouring Dorp, no lodging to be found,
But bleaky plains, and bare unhospitable ground?
The latter brood, who just began to fly,
Sick-feathered and unpractis’d in the sky,
For succour to their helpless mother call, 615
She spread her wings; some few beneath ’em craul,
She spread ’em wider yet, but cou’d not cover all.
T’ augment their woes, the winds began to move
Debate in air, for empty fields above,
Till Boreas got the skyes, and poured amain 620
His ratling hail-stones mix’d with snow and rain.
The joyless morning late arose and found
A dreadfull desolation reign a-round,
Some buried in the Snow, some frozen to the ground:
The rest were strugling still with death, and lay 625
The Crows and Ravens rights, an undefended prey;
Excepting Martyn’s race, for they and he
Had gain’d the shelter of a hollow tree,
But soon discover’d by a sturdy clown,
He headed all the rabble of a town, 630
And finished ’em with bats, or poll’d ’em down.
Martyn himself was caught a-live, and try’d
For treas’nous crimes, because the laws provide
No Martyn there in winter shall abide.
High on an Oak which never leaf shall bear, 635
He breath’d his last, exposed to open air,
And there his corps, unbless’d, is 3 hanging still,
To show the change of winds with his prophetick bill.
The patience of the Hind did almost fail,
For well she mark’d the malice of the tale: 640
Which Ribbald art their church to Luther owes,
In malice it began, by malice grows,
He sowed the Serpent’s teeth, an iron-harvest rose.
But most in Martyn’s character and fate,
She saw her slander’d sons, the Panther’s hate, 645
The people’s rage, the persecuting state:
Then said, I take th’ advice in friendly part,
You clear your conscience, or at least your heart:
Perhaps you fail’d in your fore-seeing skill,
For Swallows are unlucky birds to kill: 650
As for my sons, the family is bless’d,
Whose every child is equal to the rest:
No church reform’d can boast a blameless line;
Such Martyns build in yours, and more than mine:
Or else an old fanatick Author lyes, 655
Who summ’d their Scandals up by Centuries.
But through your parable I plainly see
The bloudy laws, the crowds barbarity:
The sun-shine that offends the purblind sight,
Had some their wishes, it wou’d soon be night. 660
Mistake me not, the charge concerns not you,
Your sons are male-contents, but yet are true.
As far as non-resistance makes ’em so,
But that’s a word of neutral sense you know,
A passive term, which no relief will bring, 665
But trims betwixt a rebell and a king.
Rest well assured, the Pardelis reply’d,
My sons wou’d all support the regal side,
Though heav’n forbid the cause by battel should be try’d.
The Matron answered with a loud Amen, 670
And thus pursu’d her argument agen.
If, as you say, and as I hope no less,
Your sons will practise what your self profess,
What angry pow’r prevents our present peace?
The Lyon, studious of our common good, 675
Desires (and Kings desires are ill withstood)
To join our Nations in a lasting love;
The barrs betwixt are easie to remove,
For sanguinary laws were never made above.
If you condemn that Prince of Tyranny 680
Whose mandate forced your Gallick friends to fly,
Make not a worse example of your own,
Or cease to rail at causeless rigour shown,
And let the guiltless person throw the stone.
His blunted sword, your suff’ring brotherhood 685
Have seldom felt, he stops it short of bloud:
But you have ground the persecuting knife
And set it to a razor edge on life.
Curs’d be the wit which cruelty refines
Or to his father’s rod the Scorpion joins; 690
Your finger is more gross than the great Monarch’s loins.
But you perhaps remove that bloudy note,
And stick it on the first Reformers coat.
Oh let their crime in long oblivion sleep,
’Twas theirs indeed to make, ’tis yours to keep. 695
Unjust, or just, is all the question now,
’Tis plain, that not repealing you allow.
To name the Test wou’d put you in a rage;
You charge not that on any former age,
But smile to think how innocent you stand 700
Arm’d by a weapon put into your hand.
Yet still remember that you weild a sword
Forg’d by your foes against your Sovereign Lord.
Designed to hew th’ imperial Cedar down,
Defraud Succession and dis-heir the Crown. 705
T’ abhor the makers, and their laws approve,
Is to hate Traytors and the treason love:
What means it else, which now your children say,
We made it not, nor will we take away?
Suppose some great Oppressor had by slight 710
Of law, disseis’d your brother of his right,
Your common sire surrendring in a fright;
Would you to that unrighteous title stand,
Left by the villain’s will to heir the land?
More just was Judas, who his Saviour sold; 715
The sacrilegious bribe he cou’d not hold,
Nor hang in peace, before he rendr’d back the gold.
What more could you have done than now you doe,
Had Oates and Bedlow, and their Plot been true?
Some specious reasons for those wrongs were found; 720
The dire Magicians threw their mists around,
And wise men walk’d as on enchanted ground.
But now when time has made th’ imposture plain,
(Late though he follow’d truth, & limping held her train,)
What new delusion charms your cheated eyes again? 725
The painted Harlot might a while bewitch,
But why the Hag uncas’d and all obscene with itch?
The first Reformers were a modest race;
Our Peers possessed in peace their native place:
And when rebellious arms o’returned the state 730
They suffer’d onely in the common fate;
But now the Sov’reign mounts the regal chair
And mitr’d seats are full, yet David’s bench is bare:
Your answer is, they were not dispossess’d,
They need but rub their mettle on the Test 735
To prove their ore: ’twere well if gold alone
Were touch’d and try’d on your discerning stone;
But that unfaithfull Test unfound will pass
The dross of Atheists and sectarian brass:
As if the experiment were made to hold 740
For base productions, and reject the gold:
Thus men ungodded may to places rise,
And sects may be preferr’d without disguise:
No danger to the church or state from these;
The Papist onely has his Writ of ease. 745
No gainfull office gives him the pretence
To grind the Subject or defraud the Prince.
Wrong conscience, or no conscience may deserve
To thrive, but ours alone is privileg’d to sterve.
Still thank your selves, you cry, your noble race 750
We banish not, but they forsake the place.
Our doors are open: true, but e’er they come,
You toss your censing Test and fume the room;
As if ’twere Toby’s rival to expell,
And fright the fiend who could not bear the smell. 755
To this the Panther sharply had reply’d;
But, having gain’d a Verdict on her side,
She wisely gave the loser leave to chide;
Well satisfied to have the But 4 and peace,
And for the Plaintiff’s cause she car’d the less, 760
Because she su’d in formâ Pauperis;
Yet thought it decent something shou’d be said,
For secret guilt by silence is betray’d:
So neither granted all, nor much deny’d,
But answer’d with a yawning kind of pride. 765
Methinks such terms of proferr’d peace you bring,
As once Æneas to th’ Italian King:
By long possession all the land is mine,
You strangers come with your intruding line
To share my sceptre, which you call to join. 770
You plead like him an ancient Pedigree,
And claim a peacefull seat by fates decree.
In ready pomp your Sacrificer stands,
To unite the Trojan and the Latin bands,
And that the league more firmly may be ty’d, 775
Demand the fair Lavinia for your bride.
Thus plausibly you veil th’ intended wrong,
But still you bring your exil’d gods along;
And will endeavour in succeeding space,
Those household Poppits on our hearths to place. 780
Perhaps some barb’rous laws have been preferr’d;
I spake against the Test, but was not heard.
These to rescind and Peerage to restore
My gracious Sov’reign wou’d my vote implore:
I owe him much, but owe my conscience more. 785
Conscience is then your Plea, replied the Dame,
Which well-informed will ever be the same.
But yours is much of the Camelion hue,
To change the dye with ev’ry diff’rent view.
When first the Lyon sat with awfull sway, 790
Your conscience taught you duty to obey;
He might have had your Statutes and your Test;
No conscience but of subjects was profess’d.
He found your temper, and no farther try’d,
But on that broken reed your church rely’d. 795
In vain the sects assay’d their utmost art,
With offered treasures to espouse their part,
Their treasures were a bribe too mean to move his heart.
But when by long experience you had proov’d
How far he cou’d forgive, how well he lov’d; 800
A goodness that excell’d his godlike race,
And onely short of heav’ns unbounded grace:
A floud of mercy that o’erflowed our Isle,
Calm in the rise, and fruitfull as the Nile,
Forgetting whence your Ægypt was supply’d, 805
You thought your Sov’reign bound to send the tide;
Nor upward look’d on that immortal spring,
But vainly deem’d, he durst not be a king:
Then conscience, unrestrain’d by fear, began
To stretch her limits, and extend the span, 810
Did his indulgence as her gift dispose,
And made a wise Alliance with her foes.
Can conscience own th’ associating name,
And raise no blushes to conceal her shame?
For sure she has been thought a bashfull Dame. 815
But if the cause by battel should be try’d,
You grant she must espouse the regal side:
O Proteus Conscience, never to be ty’d!
What Phœbus from the Tripod shall disclose,
Which are in last resort, your friends or foes? 820
Homer, who learn’d the language of the sky,
The seeming Gordian knot wou’d soon unty;
Immortal pow’rs the term of conscience know,
But int’rest is her name with men below.
Conscience or int’rest be ’t, or both in one; 825
(The Panther answered in a surly tone,)
The first commands me to maintain the Crown,
The last forbids to throw my barriers down.
Our penal laws no sons of yours admit,
Our Test excludes your Tribe from benefit. 830
These are my banks your ocean to withstand,
Which proudly rising overlooks the land:
And once let in, with unresisted sway
Wou’d sweep the Pastors and their flocks away.
Think not my judgment leads me to comply 835
With laws unjust, but hard necessity:
Imperious need which cannot be withstood
Makes ill authentick, for a greater good.
Possess your soul with patience, and attend:
A more auspicious Planet may ascend; 840
Good fortune may present some happier time,
With means to cancel my unwilling crime;
(Unwilling, witness all ye Pow’rs above)
To mend my errours and redeem your love:
That little space you safely may allow, 845
Your all-dispensing pow’r protects you now.
Hold, said the Hind, ’tis needless to explain:
You would postpone me to another reign:
Till when you are content to be unjust,
Your part is to possess, and mine to trust. 850
A fair exchange propos’d of future chance,
For present profit and inheritance:
Few words will serve to finish our dispute,
Who will not now repeal wou’d persecute;
To ripen green revenge your hopes attend, 855
Wishing that happier Planet wou’d ascend:
For shame let Conscience be your Plea no more,
To will hereafter proves she might before;
But she’s a Bawd to gain, and holds the Door.
Your care about your Banks, infers a fear 860
Of threatning Floods and Inundations near;
If so, a just Reprise would only be
Of what the Land usurped upon the Sea;
And all your Jealousies but serve to show
Your Ground is, like your Neighbour-Nation, low. 865
T’ intrench in what you grant unrighteous Laws
Is to distrust the justice of your Cause;
And argues that the true religion lyes
In those weak Adversaries you despise.
Tyrannick force is that which least you fear, 870
The sound is frightfull in a Christian’s ear:
Avert it, Heav’n; nor let that Plague be sent
To us from the dispeopled Continent.
But Piety commands me to refrain;
Those Pray’rs are needless in this Monarch’s Reign. 875
Behold! how he protects your Friends opprest,
Receives the Banish’d, succours the Distress’d:
Behold, for you may read an honest open breast.
He stands in Day-light, and disdains to hide
An Act to which by Honour he is ty’d, 880
A generous, laudable, and Kingly Pride.
Your Test he would repeal, his Peers restore,
This when he says he means, he means no more.
Well, said the Panther, I believe him just,
And yet, ’tis but because you must, 885
You would be trusted, but you would not trust.
The Hind thus briefly; and disdained t’ inlarge
On Pow’r of Kings, and their Superiour charge,
As Heav’ns Trustees before the People’s choice:
Tho’ sure the Panther did not much rejoyce 890
To hear those Echo’s given of her once Loyal voice.
The Matron woo’d her Kindness to the last,
But cou’d not win; her hour of Grace was past.
Whom, thus persisting, when she could not bring
To leave the Woolf and to believe her King, 895
She gave Her up, and fairly wished her Joy
Of her late Treaty with her new Ally:
Which well she hop’d wou’d more successfull prove,
Than was the Pigeons and the Buzzards love.
The Panther ask’d what concord there cou’d be 900
Betwixt two kinds whose Natures disagree?
The Dame reply’d, ’Tis sung in ev’ry Street,
The common chat of Gossips when they meet:
But, since unheard by you, ’tis worth your while
To take a wholesome Tale, though told in homely stile. 905
A plain good Man, whose Name is understood,
(So few deserve the name of Plain and Good)
Of three fair lineal Lordships stood possess’d,
And liv’d, as reason was, upon the best.
Inur’d to hardships from his early Youth, 910
Much had he done and suffered for his truth:
At Land, and Sea, in many a doubtfull Fight,
Was never known a more advent’rous Knight,
Who oftner drew his Sword, and always for the right.
As fortune wou’d (his fortune came tho’ late) 915
He took Possession of his just Estate;
Nor rack’d his Tenants with increase of Rent,
Nor liv’d too sparing, nor too largely spent;
But overlook’d his Hinds, their Pay was just
And ready, for he scorn’d to go on trust: 920
Slow to resolve, but in performance quick;
So true, that he was awkward at a trick.
For little Souls on little shifts rely,
And coward Arts of mean Expedients try:
The noble Mind will dare do anything but lye. 925
False friends, (his deadliest foes,) could find no way
But shows of honest bluntness, to betray;
That unsuspected plainness he believ’d;
He looked into Himself, and was deceiv’d.
Some lucky Planet sure attends his Birth, 930
Or Heav’n would make a Miracle on Earth;
For prosp’rous Honesty is seldom seen
To bear so dead a weight, and yet to win;
It looks as Fate with Nature’s Law would strive,
To show Plain-dealing once an age may thrive: 935
And, when so tough a frame she could not bend,
Exceeded her Commission to befriend.
This gratefull man, as Heaven encreas’d his Store,
Gave God again, and daily fed his Poor;
His House with all convenience was purvey’d; 940
The rest he found, but rais’d the Fabrick where he pray’d;
And in that Sacred Place his beauteous Wife
Employ’d Her happiest hours of Holy Life.
Nor did their Alms extend to those alone
Whom common Faith more strictly made their own; 945
A sort of Doves were hous’d too near their Hall,
Who cross the Proverb, and abound with Gall.
Tho’ some, ’tis true, are passively inclin’d,
The greater Part degenerate from their kind;
Voracious Birds, that hotly Bill and breed, 950
And largely drink, because on Salt they feed.
Small Gain from them their Bounteous Owner draws;
Yet, bound by Promise, he supports their Cause,
As Corporations priviledg’d by Laws.
That House, which harbour to their kind affords, 955
Was built, long since, God knows, for better Birds;
But flutt’ring there, they nestle near the Throne,
And lodge in Habitations not their own,
By their high Crops, and Corny Gizzards known.
Like Harpy’s, they could scent a plenteous board; 960
Then, to be sure, they never fail’d their Lord.
The rest was form, and bare Attendance paid,
They drunk, and eat, and grudgingly obey’d.
The more they fed, they raven’d still for more,
They drain’d from Dan, and left Beersheba poor; 965
All this they had by Law, and none repin’d,
The pref’rence was but due to Levi’s Kind,
But when some Lay-preferment fell by chance
The Gourmands made it their Inheritance.
When once possess’d they never quit their Claim, 970
For then ’tis sanctify’d to Heav’ns high Name;
And Hallow’d thus, they cannot give Consent,
The Gift should be prophan’d by Worldly management.
Their Flesh was never to the Table served;
Tho’ ’tis not thence inferr’d the Birds were starv’d; 975
But that their Master did not like the Food,
As rank, and breeding Melancholy Blood.
Nor did it with His Gracious Nature suite,
Ev’n though they were not Doves, to persecute:
Yet He refused, (nor could they take Offence) 980
Their Glutton Kind should teach him abstinence.
Nor Consecrated Grain their Wheat he thought,
Which, new from treading, in their Bills they brought:
But left his Hinds, each in his Private Pow’r,
That those who like the Bran might leave the Flow’r. 985
He for himself, and not for others chose,
Nor would He be impos’d on, nor impose;
But in their Faces His Devotion paid,
And Sacrifice with Solemn Rites was made,
And Sacred Incense on his Altars laid. 990
Besides these jolly Birds, whose Crops impure
Repaid their Commons with their Salt Manure,
Another Farm he had behind his House,
Not overstock’t, but barely for his use;
Wherein his poor Domestick poultry Fed 995
And from His Pious Hands received their Bread.
Our pamper’d Pigeons with malignant Eyes
Beheld these Inmates and their Nurseries:
Tho’ hard their fare, at Ev’ning and at Morn,
A Cruise of Water and an Ear of Corn, 1000
Yet still they grudg’d that Modicum, and thought
A Sheaf in ev’ry single Grain was brought;
Fain would they filch that little Food away,
While unrestrain’d those happy Gluttons prey.
And much they griev’d to see so nigh their Hall 1005
The Bird that warned St. Peter of his Fall;
That he should raise his miter’d Crest on high,
And clap his Wings and call his Family
To Sacred Rites; and vex th’ Etherial Pow’rs
With midnight Mattins at uncivil Hours: 1010
Nay more, his quiet Neighbours should molest,
Just in the sweetness of their Morning rest.
Beast of a bird, supinely when he might
Lye snugg and sleep, to rise before the light:
What if his dull Forefathers used that cry, 1015
Cou’d he not let a Bad Example dye?
The World was fallen into an easier way;
This Age knew better, than to Fast and Pray.
Good Sense in Sacred Worship would appear
So to begin, as they might end the year. 1020
Such feats in former times had wrought the falls
Of crowing Chanticleers in Cloyster’d Walls.
Expell’d for this and for their Lands, they fled;
And Sister Partlet, with her hooded head
Was hooted hence, because she would not pray a-Bed. 5 1025
The way to win the restiff World to God
Was to lay by the Disciplining Rod,
Unnatural Fasts, and Foreign Forms of Pray’r;
Religion frights us with a meen severe.
’Tis Prudence to reform her into Ease, 1030
And put Her in Undress, to make Her pleas;
A lively Faith will bear aloft the Mind
And leave the Luggage of Good Works behind.
Such Doctrines in the Pigeon-house were taught;
You need not ask how wondrously they wrought; 1035
But sure the common Cry was all for these,
Whose Life, and Precept both encourag’d Ease.
Yet fearing those alluring Baits might fail,
And Holy Deeds o’re all their Arts prevail,
(For Vice, tho’ frontless and of harden’d Face, 1040
Is daunted at the sight of awfull Grace,)
An hideous Figure of their Foes they drew
Nor Lines, nor Looks, nor Shades, nor Colours true;
And this Grotesque design, expos’d to Publick view.
One would have thought it some Ægyptian Piece, 1045
With Garden-Gods, and barking Deities,
More thick than Ptolomey has stuck the Skies.
All so perverse a Draught, so far unlike,
It was no Libell where it meant to strike:
Yet still the daubing pleas’d, and Great and Small 1050
To view the Monster crowded Pigeon-hall.
There Chanticleer was drawn upon his knees,
Adoring Shrines, and Stocks of Sainted Trees;
And by him a mishapen, ugly Race;
The curse of God was seen on ev’ry face. 1055
No Holland emblem could that Malice mend,
But still the worse the look the fitter for a Fiend.
The Master of the Farm, displeas’d to find
So much of Rancour in so mild a kind,
Enquir’d into the Cause, and came to know, 1060
The Passive Church had struck the foremost blow:
With groundless Fears, and Jealousies possest,
As if this troublesome intruding Guest
Would drive the Birds of Venus from their Nest.
A Deed his inborn Equity abhorr’d, 1065
But Int’rest will not trust, tho God should plight his Word.
A Law, the Source of many Future harms,
Had banish’d all the Poultry from the Farms;
With loss of Life, if any should be found
To crow or peck on this forbidden Ground. 1070
That Bloody Statute chiefly was design’d
For Chanticleer the white, of Clergy kind;
But after-malice did not long forget
The Lay that wore the Robe and Coronet.
For them, for their Inferiours and Allyes, 1075
Their Foes a deadly Shibboleth devise:
By which unrighteously it was decreed,
That none to Trust, or Profit should succeed,
Who would not swallow first a poysonous wicked Weed;
Or that to which old Socrates was curs’t, 1080
Or Henbane-Juice to swell’em till they burst.
The Patron (as in reason) thought it hard
To see this Inquisition in his Yard,
By which the Soveraign was of Subjects use debarred.
All gentle means he try’d, which might withdraw 1085
Th’ Effects of so unnatural a Law:
But still the Dove-house obstinately stood
Deaf to their own, and to their Neighbours good:
And which was worse, (if any worse could be)
Repented of their boasted Loyalty: 1090
Now made the Champions of a cruel Cause,
And drunk with Fumes of Popular Applause;
For those whom God to ruine has design’d,
He fits for Fate, and first destroys their Mind.
New Doubts indeed they daily strove to raise, 1095
Suggested Dangers, interpos’d Delays;
And Emissary Pigeons had in store,
Such as the Meccan Prophet us’d of yore,
To whisper Counsels in their Patrons Ear;
And veil’d their false Advice with Zealous Fear. 1100
The Master smiled to see ’em work in vain,
To wear him out and make an idle reign:
He saw, but suffer’d their Protractive Arts,
And strove by mildness to reduce their Hearts;
But they abused that Grace to make Allyes 1105
And fondly clos’d with former Enemies;
For fools are double Fools, endeav’ring to be wise.
After a grave Consult what course were best,
One, more mature in Folly than the rest,
Stood up, and told ’em with his head aside, 1110
That desp’rate Cures must be to desp’rate Ills apply’d:
And therefore, since their main impending fear
Was from th’ encreasing race of Chanticleer:
Some Potent Bird of Prey they ought to find,
A Foe profess’d to him and all his kind: 1115
Some haggar’d Hawk, who had her eyry nigh,
Well pounc’d to fasten, and well wing’d to fly;
One they might trust, their common wrongs to wreak:
The Musquet, and the Coystrel were too weak,
Too fierce the Falcon, but, above the rest, 1120
The noble Buzzard ever pleas’d me best;
Of small Renown, ’tis true; for, not to lye,
We call him but a Hawk by courtesie.
I know he haunts the Pigeon-house and Farm,
And more, in time of War has done us harm; 1125
But all his hate on trivial Points depends,
Give up our Forms, and we shall soon be friends.
For Pigeons flesh he seems not much to care;
Cram’d Chickens are a more delicious fare;
On this high Potentate, without delay, 1130
I wish you would conferr the Sovereign sway;
Petition him t’ accept the Government,
And let a splendid Embassy be sent.
This pithy speech prevail’d; and all agreed,
Old Enmity’s forgot, the Buzzard should succeed. 1135
Their welcom Suit was granted soon as heard,
His Lodgings furnish’d, and a Train prepar’d,
With B’s upon their Breast, appointed for his Guard.
He came, and Crown’d with great Solemnity,
God save King Buzzard, was the gen’rall cry. 1140
A Portly Prince, and goodly to the sight,
He seem’d a Son of Anach for his height:
Like those whom stature did to Crowns prefer;
Black-brow’d and bluff, like Homer’s Jupiter;
Broad-backed and Brawny built for Loves delight, 1145
A Prophet form’d to make a female Proselyte.
A Theologue more by need, than genial bent,
By Breeding sharp, by Nature confident,
Int’rest in all his Actions was discern’d;
More leérn’d than Honest, more a Wit than learn’d. 1150
Or forc’d by Fear, or by his Profit led,
Or both conjoyn’d, his Native clime he fled:
But brought the Vertues of his Heav’n along;
A fair Behaviour, and a fluent Tongue.
And yet with all his Arts he could not thrive; 1155
The must unlucky Parasite alive.
Loud Praises to prepare his Paths he sent,
And then himself pursu’d his Compliment!
But, by reverse of Fortune chac’d away,
His Gifts no longer than their Author stay; 1160
He shakes the Dust against th’ ungrateful race,
And leaves the stench of Ordures in the place.
Oft has he flatter’d, and blasphem’d the same,
For in his Rage, he spares no Sov’rains name:
The Hero, and the Tyrant change their style 1165
By the same measure that they frown or smile;
When well receiv’d by hospitable Foes,
The kindness he returns, is to expose:
For Courtesies, tho’ undeserv’d and great,
No gratitude in Fellon-minds beget; 1170
As tribute to his Wit, the churl receives the treat.
His praise of Foes is venomously Nice,
So touch’d, it turns a Vertue to a Vice:
A Greek, and bountiful forewarns us twice.
Sev’n sacraments he wisely do’s disown, 1175
Because he knows Confession stands for one;
Where sins to sacred silence are convey’d,
And not for Fear, or Love, to be betray’d:
But he, uncall’d, his Patron to controul,
Divulg’d the secret whispers of his Soul; 1180
Stood forth th’ accusing Sathan of his Crimes,
And offerd to the Moloch of the Times.
Prompt to assayle, and careless of defence,
Invulnerable in his Impudence,
He dares the World, and, eager of a name, 1185
He thrusts about, and justles into fame.
Frontless and Satyr-proof, he scowr’s the streets,
And runs an Indian muck at all he meets.
So fond of loud Report, that not to miss
Of being known (his last and utmost bliss) 1190
He rather would be known, for what he is.
Such was and is the Captain of the test,
Tho’ half his Vertues are not here express’t;
The modesty of Fame conceals the rest.
The spleenful Pigeons never could create 1195
A Prince more proper to revenge their hate;
Indeed, more proper to revenge, than save;
A King, whom in his wrath, th’ Almighty gave:
For all the Grace the Landlord had allow’d
But made the Buzzard and the Pigeons proud, 1200
Gave time to fix their Friends, and to seduce the Crowd.
They long their Fellow-Subjects to inthrall,
Their Patrons promise into question call,
And vainly think he meant to make ’em Lords of all.
False Fears their Leaders fail’d not to suggest, 1205
As if the Doves were to be dispossess’t;
Nor Sighs nor Groans nor gogling Eyes did want,
For now the Pigeons too had learned to Cant.
The House of Pray’r is stock’d with large encrease;
Nor Doors, nor Windows can contain the Press: 1210
For Birds of ev’ry feather fill th’ abode;
Ev’n Atheists out of envy own a God:
And, reeking from the Stews, Adult’rers come,
Like Goths and Vandals to demolish Rome.
That Conscience, which to all their Crimes was mute, 1215
Now calls aloud, and cryes to Persecute.
No rigour of the Laws to be releas’d,
And much the less, because it was their Lords request:
They thought it great their Sov’rain to controul,
And nam’d their Pride, Nobility of Soul. 1220
’Tis true, the Pigeons and their Prince Elect
Were short of Pow’r their purpose to effect:
But with their quills, did all the hurt they cou’d,
And cuff’d the tender Chickens from their food:
And much the Buzzard in their Cause did stir, 1225
Tho’ naming not the Patron, to infer,
With all respect, He was a gross Idolater.
But when th’ Imperial owner did espy
That thus they turn’d his Grace to villany,
Not suff’ring wrath to discompose his mind, 1230
He strove a temper for th’ extreams to find,
So to be just, as he might still be kind.
Then, all maturely weigh’d, pronounc’d a Doom
Of Sacred Strength for ev’ry Age to come.
By this the Doves their Wealth and State possess, 1235
No Rights infring’d, but Licence to oppress:
Such Pow’r have they as Factious Lawyers long
To Crowns ascrib’d, that Kings can do no wrong.
But, since his own Domestick Birds have try’d
The dire Effects of their destructive Pride, 1240
He deems that Proof a Measure to the rest,
Concluding well within his Kingly Breast
His Fowl of Nature too unjustly were opprest.
He therefore makes all Birds of ev’ry Sect
Free of his Farm, with promise to respect 1245
Their sev’ral Kinds alike, and equally protect.
His Gracious Edict the same Franchise yields
To all the wild Encrease of Woods and Fields,
And who in Rocks aloof, and who in Steeples builds.
To Crows the like Impartial Grace affords, 1250
And Choughs and Daws, and such Republick Birds:
Secur’d with ample Priviledge to feed,
Each has his District, and his Bounds decreed:
Combin’d in common Int’rest with his own,
But not to pass the Pigeons Rubicon. 1255
Here ends the Reign of this pretended Dove;
All Prophecies accomplish’d from above,
For Shiloh comes the Scepter to remove.
Reduc’d from Her Imperial High Abode,
Like Dyonysius to a private Rod, 1260
The Passive Church, that with pretended Grace
Did Her distinctive Mark in duty place,
Now Touch’d, Reviles her Maker to his Face.
What after happen’d is not hard to guess;
The small Beginnings had a large Encrease, 1265
And Arts and Wealth succeed (the secret spoils of Peace.)
’Tis said the Doves repented, tho’ too late
Become the Smiths of their own Foolish Fate:
Nor did their Owner hasten their ill hour:
But, sunk in Credit, they decreas’d in Pow’r: 1270
Like Snows in warmth that mildly pass away,
Dissolving in the Silence of Decay.
The Buzzard, not content with equal place,
Invites the feather’d Nimrods of his Race,
To hide the thinness of their Flock from Sight, 1275
And all together make a seeming, goodly Flight:
But each have sep’rate Interests of their own;
Two Czars, are one too many for a throne.
Nor can th’ usurper long abstain from Food,
Already he has tasted Pigeons Blood: 1280
And may be tempted to his former fare,
When this Indulgent Lord shall late to Heav’n repair.
Bare benting times, and moulting Months may come,
When lagging late, they cannot reach their home:
Or Rent in schism, (for so their Fate decrees,) 1285
Like the Tumultuous Colledge of the Bees;
They fight their Quarrel, by themselves opprest;
The Tyrant smiles below, and waits the falling feast.
Thus did the gentle Hind her fable end,
Nor would the Panther blame it, nor commend; 1290
But, with affected Yawnings at the close,
Seem’d to require her natural repose.
For now the streaky light began to peep;
And setting stars admonish’d both to sleep.
The Dame withdrew, and wishing to her Guest 1295
The peace of Heav’n, betook her self to rest.
Ten thousand Angels on her slumbers waite
With glorious Visions of her future state.