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The Augustan Reprint Society
P. G. STANWOOD
Publication Number 130 WILLIAM ANDREWS CLARK MEMORIAL LIBRARY University of California, Los Angeles 1968
George Robert Guffey, University of California, Los Angeles Maximillian E. Novak, University of California, Los Angeles Robert Vosper, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
Richard C. Boys, University of Michigan James L. Clifford, Columbia University Ralph Cohen, University of Virginia Vinton A. Dearing, University of California, Los Angeles Arthur Friedman, University of Chicago Louis A. Landa, Princeton University Earl Miner, University of California, Los Angeles Samuel H. Monk, University of Minnesota Everett T. Moore, University of California, Los Angeles Lawrence Clark Powell, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library James Sutherland, University College, London H. T. Swedenberg, Jr., University of California, Los Angeles
Edna C. Davis, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
Henry More (1614-1687), the most interesting member of that group traditionally known as the Cambridge Platonists, lived conscientiously and well. Having early set out on one course, he never thought to change it; he devoted his whole life to the joy of celebrating, again and again, "a firm and unshaken Belief of the Existence of GOD . . . , a God infinitely Good, as well as infinitely Great . . . ." Such faith was for More the starting point of his rational understanding: "with the most fervent Prayers" he beseeched God, in his autobiographical "Praefatio Generalissima," "to set me free from the dark Chains, and this so sordid Captivity of my own Will." More offered to faith all which his reason could know, and so it happened that he "was got into a most Joyous and Lucid State of Mind," something quite ineffable; to preserve these "Sensations and Experiences of my own Soul," he wrote "a pretty full Poem call'd Psychozoia" (or A Christiano-Platonicall display of Life), an exercise begun about 1640 and designed for no audience but himself. There were times, More continued in his autobiographical remarks, when he thought of destroying Psychozoia because its style is rough and its language filled with archaisms. His principal purpose in that poem was to demonstrate in detail the spiritual foundation of all existence; Psyche, his heroine, is the daughter of the Absolute, the general Soul who holds together the metaphysical universe, against whom he sees reflected his own soul's mystical progress. More must, nevertheless, have been pleased with his labor, for he next wrote Psychathanasia Platonica: or Platonicall Poem of the Immortality of Souls, especially Mans Soul, in which he attempts to demonstrate the immortality of the soul as a corrective to his age. Then, he joined to that Antipsychopannychia, or A Confutation of the sleep of the Soul after death, and Antimonopsychia, or That all Souls are not one; at the urging of friends, he published the poems in 1642—his first literary work—as Psychodia Platonica.
In his argument for the soul's immortality toward the end of Psychathanasia (III.4), More had urged that there was no need to plead for any extension of the infinite ("a contradiction," and also, it would seem, a fruitless inquiry); but he soon changed his mind. The preface to Democritus Platonissans reproduces those stanzas of the earlier poem which deny infinity (34 to the end of the canto) with a new (formerly concluding) stanza 39 and three further stanzas "for a more easie and naturall leading to the present Canto," i.e., Democritus Platonissans, which More clearly intended to be an addition, a fifth canto to Psychathanasia (Book III); and although Democritus Platonissans first appeared separately, More appended it to Psychathanasia in the second edition of his collected poems, this time with English titles, the whole being called A Platonick Song of the Soul (1647).
There is little relationship between Democritus Platonissans and the rest of More's poetry; even the main work to which it supposedly forms a final and conclusive canto provides only the slightest excuse for such a continuation. Certainly, in Psychathanasia, More is excited by the new astronomy; he praises the Copernican system throughout Book III, giving an account of it according to the lessons of his study of Galileo's Dialogo, which he may have been reading even as he wrote. Indeed, More tries to harmonize the two poems—his habit was always to look for unity. But even though Democritus Platonissans explores an astronomical subject, just as the third part of Psychathanasia also does, its attitude and theme are quite different; for More had meanwhile been reading Descartes.
More's theory of the infinity of worlds and God's plenitude evidently owed a great deal to Descartes' recent example; More responds exuberantly to him, especially to his Principes de la Philosophie (1644); for in him he fancied having found a true ally. Steeped in Platonic and neo-Platonic thought, and determined to reconcile Spirit with the rational mind of man, More thought he had discovered in Cartesian 'intuition' what was not necessarily there. Descartes had enjoyed an ecstatic illumination, and so had Plotinus; but this was not enough, as More may have wanted to imagine, to make Descartes a neo-Platonist. But the Platonic element implicit in Descartes, his theory of innate ideas, and his proof of the existence of God from the idea of God, all helped to make More so receptive to him. Nevertheless, More did not really need Descartes, nor, as he himself was later to discover, had he even understood him properly, for More had looked at him only to find his own reflection.
But there was nothing really new about the idea of infinite worlds which More described in Democritus Platonissans; it surely was not a conception unique to Descartes. The theory was a common one in Greek and Renaissance thought. Democritus and the Epicureans, of course, advocated the theme of infinite worlds in an infinite universe which More accepted; but at the same time, he rejected their view of a mechanistic and fortuitous creation. Although Plato specifically rejects the idea of infinite worlds (in Timaeus), More imagines, as the title of his poem implies, a Platonic universe, by which he really means neo-Platonic, combined with a Democritean plurality of worlds. More filled space, not with the infinite void of the Atomists, but with the Divine, ever active immanence. More, in fact, in an early philosophic work, An Antidote against Atheisme (1652), and again in Divine Dialogues (1668), refutes Lucretius by asserting the usefulness of all created things in God's Providence and the essential design in Nature. His reference in Democritus Platonissans (st. 20) is typical: "though I detest the sect/ of Epicurus for their manners vile,/ Yet what is true I may not well reject." In bringing together Democritus' theories and neo-Platonic thought, More obviously has attempted reconciliation of two exclusive world views, but with dubious success.
While More stands firmly before a familiar tradition, his belief in an infinity of worlds evidently has little immediate connection with any predecessors. Even Bruno's work, or Thomas Digges,' which could have occupied an important place, seems to have had little, if any, direct influence on More. It was Descartes who stimulated his thought at the most receptive moment: in 1642 to have denied a theory which in 1646 he proclaimed with such force evidently argues in favor of a most powerful attachment. More responded enthusiastically to what he deemed a congenial metaphysical system; as a champion of Descartes, he was first to make him known in England and first in England to praise the infinity of worlds, yet Descartes' system could give to him little real solace. More embraces God's plenitude and infinity of worlds, he rejoices in the variety and grandeur of the universe, and he worships it as he might God Himself; but Descartes was fundamentally uninterested in such enthusiasms and found them even repellant—as well as unnecessary—to his thought. For More the doctrine of infinity was a proper corollary of Copernican astronomy and neo-Platonism (as well as Cabbalistic mysticism) and therefore a necessity to his whole elaborate and eclectic view of the world.
In introducing Cartesian thought into England, More emphasized particular physical doctrines mainly described in The Principles of Philosophy; he shows little interest in the Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason (1637), or in the Meditations (1641), both of which were also available to him when he wrote Democritus Platonissans. In the preface to his poem, he refers to Descartes whom he seems to have read hopefully: surely "infinitude" is the same as the Cartesian "indefinite." "For what is his mundus indefinite extensus, but extensus infinite? Else it sounds onely infinitus quoad nos, but simpliciter finitus," for there can be no space "unstuffd with Atoms." More thinks that Descartes seems "to mince it," that difficulty lies in the interpretation of a word, not in an essential idea. He is referring to Part II, xxi, of The Principles, but he quotes, with tacit approval, from Part III, i and ii, in the motto to the poem. More undoubtedly knows the specific discussion of 'infinity' in Part I, xxvi-xxviii, where he must first have felt uneasy delight on reading "that it is not needful to enter into disputes regarding the infinite, but merely to hold all that in which we can find no limits as indefinite, such as the extension of the world . . . ." More asked Descartes to clarify his language in their correspondence of 1648-49, the last year of Descartes' life.
Democritus Platonissans is More's earliest statement about absolute space and time; by introducing these themes into English philosophy, he contributed significantly to the intellectual history of the seventeenth century. Newton, indeed, was able to make use of More's forging efforts; but of relative time or space and their measurement, which so much concerned Newton, More had little to say. He was preoccupied with the development of a theory which would show that immaterial substance, with space and time as attributes, is as real and as absolute as the Cartesian geometrical and spatial account of matter which he felt was true but much in need of amplification.
In his first letter to Descartes, of 11 December 1648, More wrote: ". . . this indefinite extension is either simpliciter infinite, or only in respect to us. If you understand extension to be infinite simpliciter, why do you obscure your thought by too low and too modest words? If it is infinite only in respect to us, extension, in reality, will be finite; for our mind is the measure neither of the things nor of truth. . . ." Unsatisfied by his first answer from Descartes (5 February 1649), he urges his point again (5 March): if extension can describe matter, the same quality must apply to the immaterial and yet be only one of many attributes of Spirit. In his second letter to More (15 April), Descartes answers firmly: "It is repugnant to my concept to attribute any limit to the world, and I have no other measure than my perception for what I have to assert or to deny. I say, therefore, that the world is indeterminate or indefinite, because I do not recognize in it any limits. But I dare not call it infinite as I perceive that God is greater than the world, not in respect to His extension, because, as I have already said, I do not acknowledge in God any proper [extension], but in respect to His perfection . . . . It is repugnant to my mind . . . it implies a contradiction, that the world be finite or limited, because I cannot but conceive a space outside the boundaries of the world wherever I presuppose them." More plainly fails to understand the basic dualism inherent in Cartesian philosophy and to sense the irrelevance of his questions. While Descartes is really disposing of the spiritual world in order to get on with his analysis of finite experience, More is keenly attempting to reconcile neo-Platonism with the lively claims of matter. His effort can be read as the brave attempt to harmonize an older mode of thought with the urgency of the 'new philosophy' which called the rest in doubt. More saw this conflict and the implications of it with a kind of clarity that other men of his age hardly possessed. But the way of Descartes, which at first seemed to him so promising, certainly did not lead to the kind of harmony which he sought.
More's original enthusiasm for Descartes declined as he understood better that the Cartesian world in practice excluded spirits and souls. Because Descartes could find no necessary place even for God Himself, More styled him, in Enchiridion Metaphysicum (1671), the "Prince of the Nullibists"; these men "readily acknowledge there are such things as Incorporeal Beings or Spirits, yet do very peremptorily contend, that they are no where in the whole World [;] . . . because they so boldly affirm that a Spirit is Nullibi, that is to say, no where," they deserve to be called Nullibists. In contrast to these false teachers, More describes absolute space by listing twenty epithets which can be applied either to God or to pure extension, such as "Unum, Simplex, Immobile . . . Incomprehensible " There is, however, a great difficulty here; for while Space and Spirit are eternal and uncreated, they yet contain material substance which has been created by God. If the material world possesses infinite extension, as More generally believes, that would preclude any need of its having a creator. In order to avoid this dilemma, which Democritus Platonissans ignores, More must at last separate matter and space, seeing the latter as an attribute of God through which He is able to contain a finite world limited in space as well as in time. In writing that "this infinite space because of its infinity is distinct from matter," More reveals the direction of his conclusion; the dichotomy it embodies is Cartesianism in reverse.
While More always labored to describe the ineffable, his earliest work, the poetry, may have succeeded in this wish most of all. Although he felt that his poetry was aiming toward truths which his "later and better concocted Prose" reached, the effort cost him the suggestiveness of figurative speech. In urging himself on toward an ever more consistent statement of belief, he lost much of his beginning exuberance (best expressed in the brief "Philosopher's Devotion") and the joy of intellectual discovery. In the search "to find out Words which will prove faithful witnesses of the peculiarities of my Thoughts," he staggers under the unsupportable burden of too many words. In trying so desperately to clarify his thought, he rejected poetic discourse as "slight"; only a language free of metaphor and symbol could, he supposed, lead toward correctness. Indeed, More soon renounced poetry; he apparently wrote no more after collecting it in Philosophical Poems (1647), when he gave up poetry for "more seeming Substantial performances in solid Prose." "Cupids Conflict," which is "annexed" to Democritus Platonissans, is an interesting revelation of the failure of poetry, as More felt it: he justifies his "rude rugged uncouth style" by suggesting that sweet verses avoid telling important truths; harshness and obscurity may at least remind one that there is a significance beyond mere words. His lament is characteristic: "How ill alas! with wisdome it accords/ To sell my living sense for liveless words."
In spite of these downcast complaints, More was quite capable of lively and meaningful poetic ideas. One is the striking image of the cone which occurs in Democritus Platonissans (especially in stanzas 7-8, 66-67, and 88) and becomes the most essential symbol to More's expression of infinitude and extension. The figure first appears in Antipsychopannychia (II.9) where his purpose is to reconcile the world Soul with Christian eschatology. In Democritus Platonissans, the cone enables More to adapt the familiar Hermetic paradox:
A Circle whose circumference no where Is circumscrib'd, whose Centre's each where set, But the low Cusp's a figure circular, Whose compasse is ybound, but centre's every where. (st. 8)
Every point on the circumference, or base of the cone, relates to the single point at the top. The world, More wants to say, has no limits, no center, yet there are bounds in its not having any. More recognizes the contradiction when he fancies "some strong arm'd Archer" at the wide world's edge (st. 37). Where shall he send his shafts? Into "mere vacuity"? But More hardly seems aware of the inappropriateness of the cone: he uses a geometrical figure to locate space, time, and numberless worlds within the universal sight of God, but matter is infinite, "distinct/ And yet proceeding from the Deitie" (st. 68). Obviously, the archer must forever be sending his arrows through an infinitely expanding surface. Nevertheless, the cone has great value as a metaphor, as a richly suggestive and fascinating conception. More, however, does not want to speak metaphorically; he is attempting to disclose truths, literal and plain, where pretty words and metaphors have no place. Even as he is writing his most effective poetry, we are aware that More is denying his poetic office; for he is pleading a reasoned case where the words crack and strain, where poetic meaning gathers, only to be denied.
But these objections momentarily disappear when More forgets himself enough to let us feel his imagination and does not worry that we might miss the proofs of his philosophy. Democritus Platonissans concludes with an apocalyptic vision wherein the poet imagines the reconciliation of infinite worlds and time within God's immensity. He is also attempting to harmonize Psychathanasia, where he rejected infinitude, with its sequel, Democritus Platonissans, where he has everywhere been declaring it; thus we should think of endless worlds as we should think of Nature and the Phoenix, dying yet ever regenerative, sustained by a "centrall power/ Of hid spermatick life" which sucks "sweet heavenly juice" from above (st. 101). More closes his poem on a vision of harmony and ceaseless energy, a most fit ending for one who dared to believe that the new philosophy sustained the old, that all coherence had not gone out of the world, but was always there, only waiting to be discovered afresh in this latter age.
The University of British Columbia
NOTES TO THE INTRODUCTION
[Footnote 1: The quotations from More's Latin autobiography occur in the Opera Omnia (London, 1675-79), portions of which Richard Ward translated in The Life of . . . Henry More (London, 1710). Cf. the modern edition of this work, ed. M. F. Howard (London, 1911), pp. 61, 67-68, the text followed here. There is a recent reprint of the Opera Omnia in 3 volumes (Hildesheim, 1966) with an introduction by Serge Hutin. The "Praefatio Generalissima" begins vol. II. 1. One passage in it which Ward did not translate describes the genesis of Democritus Platonissans. More writes that after finishing Psychathanasia, he felt a change of heart: "Postea vero mutata sententia furore nescio quo Poetico incitatus supra dictum Poema scripsi, ea potissimum innixus ratione quod liquido constaret extensionem spacii dari infinitam, nec majores absurditates pluresve contingere posse in Materia infinita, infinitaque; Mundi duratione, quam in infinita Extensione spacii" (p. ix).]
[Footnote 2: Cf. Lee Haring's unpub. diss., "Henry More's Psychathanasia and Democritus Platonissans: A Critical Edition," (Columbia Univ., 1961), pp. 33-57.]
[Footnote 3: Marjorie Hope Nicolson's various articles and books which in part deal with More are important to the discussion that follows, and especially "The Early Stage of Cartesianism in England," SP, XXVI (1929), 356-379; Mountain Gloom and Mountain Glory (Ithaca, 1959), pp. 113-143, and The Breaking of the Circle (New York, 1960), pp. 158-165.]
[Footnote 4: Cf. The Meditations and Selections from the Principles of Rene Descartes, trans. John Veitch (Chicago, 1908), p. 143. The quotations from the letters which follow occur in Alexandre Koyre's very helpful book, From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe (Baltimore, 1957), pp. 114, 122-123, but the complete and original texts can be consulted in Descartes, Correspondance avec Arnaud et Morus, ed. G. Lewis (Paris, 1953).]
[Footnote 5: This passage occurs at the beginning of "The Easie, True, and Genuine Notion, And consistent Explication Of the Nature of a Spirit," a free translation of Enchiridion Metaphysicum, I. 27-28, by John Collins which he included in Joseph Glanvil's Saducismus Triumphatus (London, 1681). I quote from the text as given in Philosophical Writings of Henry More, ed. F. I. MacKinnon (New York, 1925), p. 183.]
[Footnote 6: Cf. Enchiridion Metaphysicum, VIII. 8, trans. Mary Whiton Calkins and included in John Tull Baker, An Historical and Critical Examination of English Space and Time Theories . . . (Bronxville, N.Y., 1930), p. 12. For the original, cf. Opera Omnia, II. 1, p. 167.]
[Footnote 7: "Infinitum igitur hoc Extensum a Materia distinctum," Enchiridion Metaphysicum, VIII. 9, in Opera Omnia, loc. cit. Quoted by MacKinnon, p. 262.]
[Footnote 8: This and the following reference appear in An Explanation of the grand Mystery of Godliness (London, 1660), "To the Reader," pp. vi and v.]
[Footnote 9: Ibid., II. xi. 5 (p. 52).]
The text of this edition is reproduced from a copy in the Henry E. Huntington Library.
INFINITY OF WORLDS
Hereunto is annexed
THE PHILOSOPHERS DEVOTION:
And a Particular Interpretation appertaining to the three last books of the Song of the Soul.
By H. More Master of Arts, and Fellow of Christs Colledge in Cambridge.
Agathos en to pan tode ho sunistas, agathoi de oudeis peri oudenos oudepote enginetai phthonos. Toutou d' ektos on panta hoti malista eboulethe genesthai paraplesia hautoi. Plat.
Pythagoras Terram Planetam quendam esse censuit qui circa solem in centro mundi defixum converteretur, Pythagorans secuti sunt Philolaus, Seleucus, Cleanthes, &c. imo PLATO jam senex, ut narrat Theophrastus. Libert. Fromond, de Orbe terrae immobili.
Printed by ROGER DANIEL, Printer to the UNIVERSITIE. 1646.
To the Reader.
If thou standest not to the judgement of thine eye more then of thy reason, this fragment may passe favourably, though in the neglectfull disguise of a fragment; if the strangenesse of the argument prove no hinderance. INFINITIE of WORLDS! A thing monstrous if assented to, and to be startled at, especially by them, whose thoughts this one have alwayes so engaged, that they can find no leisure to think of any thing else. But I onely make a bare proposall to more acute judgements, of what my sportfull fancie, with pleasure hath suggested: following my old designe of furnishing mens minds with varietie of apprehensions concerning the most weightie points of Philosophie, that they may not seem rashly to have settled in the truth, though it be the truth: a thing as ill beseeming Philosophers, as hastie prejudicative sentence Politicall Judges. But if I had relinquishd here my wonted self, in proving Dogmaticall, I should have found very noble Patronage for the cause among the ancients, Epicurus, Democritus, Lucretius, &c. Or if justice may reach the dead, do them the right, as to shew, that though they be hooted at, by the Rout of the learned, as men of monstrous conceits, they were either very wise or exceeding fortunate to light on so probable and specious an opinion, in which notwithstanding there is so much difficultie and seeming inconsistencie.
Nay and that sublime and subtil Mechanick too, DesChartes, though he seem to mince it must hold infinitude of worlds, or which is as harsh one infinite one. For what is his mundus indefinite extensus, but extensus infinite? Else it sounds onely infinitus quoad nos but simpliciter finitus. But if any space be left out unstuffd with Atoms, it will hazard the dissipation of the whole frame of Nature into disjoynted dust. As may be proved by the Principles of his own Philosophie. And that there is space whereever God is, or any actuall and self-subsistent Being, seems to me no plainer then one of the koinai ennoiai.
For mine own part I must confesse these apprehensions do plainly oppose what heretofore I have conceived; but I have sworn more faithfull friendship with Truth then with myself. And therefore without all remorse lay batterie against mine own edifice: not sparing to shew how weak that is, that my self now deems not impregnably strong. I have at the latter end of the last Canto of Psychathanasia, not without triumph concluded, that the world hath not continued ab aeterno, from this ground:
Extension That's infinite implies a contradiction.
And this is in answer to an objection against my last argument of the souls Immortalitie, viz. divine goodnesse, which I there make the measure of his providence. That ground limits the essence of the world as well as its duration, and satisfies the curiositie of the Opposer, by shewing the incompossibilitie in the Creature, not want of goodnesse in the Creatour to have staid the framing of the Universe. But now roused up by a new Philosophick furie, I answer that difficultie by taking away the Hypothesis of either the world or time being finite: defending the infinitude of both, which though I had done with a great deal of vigour and life, and semblance of assent, it would have agreed well enough with the free beat of Poesie, and might have passed for a pleasant flourish: but the severitie of my own judgement, and sad Genius hath cast in many correctives and coolers into the Canto it self; so that it cannot amount to more then a discussion. And discussion is no prejudice but an honour to the truth: for then and never but then is she Victorious. And what a glorious Trophee shall the finite world erect when it hath vanquished the Infinite; a Pygmee a Giant.
For the better understanding of the connexion of this Appendix, with the Poem of the souls Immortalitie; I have taken off the last stanza's thereof, and added some few new ones to them for a more easie and naturall leading to the present Canto. Psychathan. lib. 3. Cant. 4.
But thou who ere thou art that thus dost strive With fierce assault my groundwork to subvert, And boldly dost into Gods secrets dive, Base fear my manly face note make m' avert. In that odde question which thou first didst stert, I'll plainly prove thine incapacitie, And force thy feeble feet back to revert, That cannot climb so high a mysterie, I'le shew thee strange perplexed inconsistencie.
Why was this world from all infinitie Not made? say'st thou: why? could it be so made Say I. For well observe the sequencie: If this Out-world continually hath wade Through a long long-spun-time that never had Beginning, then there as few circulings Have been in the quick Moon as Saturn sad; And still more plainly this clear truth to sing, As many years as dayes or flitting houres have been.
For things that we conceive are infinite, One th' other no'te surpasse in quantitie. So I have prov'd with clear convincing light, This world could never from infinitie Been made. Certain deficiencie Doth alwayes follow evolution: Nought's infinite but tight eternitie Close thrust into itself: extension That's infinite implies a contradiction.
So then for ought we know this world was made So soon as such a Nature could exist; And though that it continue, never fade, Yet never will it be that that long twist Of time prove infinite, though ner'e desist From running still. But we may safely say Time past compar'd with this long future list Doth show as if the world but yesterday Were made, and in due time Gods glory out may ray.
Then this short night and ignorant dull ages Will quite be swallowed in oblivion; And though this hope by many surly Sages Be now derided, yet they'll all be gone In a short time, like Bats and Owls yflone At dayes approch. This will hap certainly At this worlds shining conflagration. Fayes, Satyrs, Goblins the night merrily May spend, but ruddy Sol shall make them all to flie.
The roaring Lions and drad beasts of prey Rule in the dark with pitious crueltie; But harmlesse Man is matter of the day, Which doth his work in pure simplicitie. God blesse his honest usefull industrie. But pride and covetize, ambition, Riot, revenge, self-love, hypocrisie, Contempt of goodnesse, forc'd opinion; These and such like do breed the worlds confusion.
But sooth to say though my triumphant Muse Seemeth to vant as in got victorie, And with puissant stroke the head to bruize Of her stiff so, and daze his phantasie, Captive his reason, dead each facultie: Yet in her self so strong a force withstands That of her self afraid, she'll not aby, Nor keep the field. She'll fall by her own hand As Ajax once laid Ajax dead upon the strand.
For thus her-self by her own self's oppos'd; The Heavens the Earth the universall Frame Of living Nature God so soon disclos'd As He could do, or she receive the same. All times delay since that must turn to blame, And what cannot He do that can be done? And what might let but by th' all-powerfull Name Or Word of God, the Worlds Creation More suddenly were made then mans swift thought can run?
Wherefore that Heavenly Power or is as young As this Worlds date; or else some needlesse space Of time was spent, before the Earth did clung So close unto her-self and seas embrace Her hollow breast, and if that time surpasse A finite number then Infinitie Of years before this Worlds Creation passe. So that the durance of the Deitie We must contract or strait his full Benignitie.
But for the cradle of the Cretian Jove, And guardians of his vagient Infancie What sober man but sagely will reprove? Or drown the noise of the fond Dactyli By laughter loud? Dated Divinitie Certes is but the dream of a drie brain: God maim'd in goodnesse, inconsistencie; Wherefore my troubled mind is now in pain Of a new birth, which this one Canto'll not contain.
Now Reader, thou art arrived to the Canto it self, from which I have kept thee off by too tedious Preface and Apologie, which is seldome made without consciousnesse of some fault, which I professe I find not in my self, unlesse this be it, that I am more tender of thy satisfaction then mine own credit. As for that high sullen Poem, Cupids Conflict, I must leave it to thy candour and favourable censure. The Philosophers Devotion I cast in onely, that the latter pages should not be unfurnished.
Nihil tamen frequentius inter Autores occurrit, quam ut omnia adeo ex moduli fere sensuum suorum aestiment, ut ea quae insuper infinitis rerum spatiis extare possunt, sive superbe sive imprudenter rejiciant; quin & ea omnia in usum suum fabricata fuisse glorientur, perinde facientes ac si pediculi humanum caput, aut pulices sinum muliebrem propter se solos condita existimarent, eaque demum ex gradibus saltibusve suis metirentur. The Lord Herbert in his De Causis Errorum.
De generali totius hujus mundi aspectabilis constructione ut recte Philosophemur duo sunt imprimis observanda: Unum ut attendentes ad infinitam Dei potentiam & bonitatem ne vereamur nimis ampla & pulchra & absoluta ejus opera imaginari: sed e contra caveamus, ne si quos forte limites nobis non certo cognitos, in ipsis supponamus, non satis magnifice de creatoris potentia sentire videamur.
Alterum, ut etiam caveamus, ne nimis superbe de nobis ipsis sentiamus. Quod fieret non modo, si quos limites nobis nulla cognitos ratione, nec divina revelatione, mundo vellemus affingere, tanquam si vis nostra cogitationis, ultra id quod a Deo revera factum est ferri posset; sed etiam maxime, si res omnes propter nos solos, ab illo creatas esse fingeremus. Renatus DesCartes in his Princip. Philosoph. the third part.
'Gainst boundlesse time th' objections made, And wast infinity Of worlds, are with new reasons weigh'd, Mens judgements are left free.
Hence, hence unhallowed ears and hearts more hard Then Winter clods fast froze with Northern wind. But most of all, foul tongue I thee discard That blamest all that thy dark strait'ned mind, Can not conceive: But that no blame thou find; What e're my pregnant Muse brings forth to light, She'l not acknowledge to be of her kind, Till Eagle-like she turn them to the sight Of the eternall Word all deckt with glory bright.
Strange sights do straggle in my restlesse thoughts, And lively forms with orient colours clad Walk in my boundlesse mind, as men ybrought Into some spacious room, who when they've had A turn or two, go out, although unbad. All these I see and know, but entertain None to my friend but who's most sober sad; Although the time my roof doth them contain Their pretence doth possesse me till they out again.
And thus possest in silver trump I found Their guise, their shape, their gesture and array. But as in silver trumpet nought is found When once the piercing sound is past away, (Though while the mighty blast therein did stay, Its tearing noise so terribly did shrill, That it the heavens did shake, and earth dismay) As empty I of what my flowing quill In heedlesse hast elswhere, or here, may hap to spill.
For 'tis of force and not of a set will. Ne dare my wary mind afford assent To what is plac'd above all mortall skill. But yet our various thoughts to represent Each gentle wight will deem of good intent. Wherefore with leave th' infinitie I'll sing Of time, Of Space: or without leave; I'm brent With eagre rage, my heart for joy doth spring, And all my spirits move with pleasant trembeling.
An inward triumph doth my soul up-heave And spread abroad through endlesse 'spersed aire. My nimble mind this clammie clod doth leave, And lightly stepping on from starre to starre Swifter then lightning, passeth wide and farre, Measuring th' unbounded Heavens and wastfull skie; Ne ought she finds her passage to debarre, For still the azure Orb as she draws nigh Gives back, new starres appear, the worlds walls 'fore her flie.
For what can stand that is so badly staid? Well may that fall whose ground-work is unsure. And what hath wall'd the world but thoughts unweigh'd In freer reason? That antiquate, secure, And easie dull conceit of corporature; Of matter; quantitie, and such like gear Hath made this needlesse, thanklesse inclosure, Which I in full disdain quite up will tear And lay all ope, that as things are they may appear.
For other they appear from what they are By reason that their Circulation Cannot well represent entire from farre Each portion of the Cuspis of the Cone (Whose nature is elsewhere more clearly shown) I mean each globe, whether of glaring light Or else opake, of which the earth is one. If circulation could them well transmit Numbers infinite of each would strike our 'stonishd sight;
All in just bignesse and right colours dight But totall presence without all defect 'Longs onely to that Trinitie by right, Ahad, AEon, Psyche with all graces deckt, Whose nature well this riddle will detect; A Circle whose circumference no where Is circumscrib'd, whose Centre's each where set, But the low Cusp's a figure circular, Whose compasse is ybound, but centre's every where.
Wherefore who'll judge the limits of the world By what appears unto our failing sight Appeals to sense, reason down headlong hurld Out of her throne by giddie vulgar might. But here base senses dictates they will dight With specious title of Philosophie, And stiffly will contend their cause is right From rotten rolls of school antiquitie, Who constantly denie corporall Infinitie.
But who can prove their corporalitie Since matter which thereto's essentiall If rightly sifted 's but a phantasie. And quantitie who's deem'd Originall Is matter, must with matter likewise fall. What ever is, is Life and Energie From God, who is th' Originall of all; Who being everywhere doth multiplie His own broad shade that endlesse throughout all doth lie.
He from the last projection of light Ycleep'd Shamajim, which is liquid fire (It AEther eke and centrall Tasis hight) Hath made each shining globe and clumperd mire Of dimmer Orbs. For Nature doth inspire Spermatick life, but of a different kind. Hence those congenit splendour doth attire And lively heat, these darknesse dead doth bind, And without borrowed rayes they be both cold and blind.
All these be knots of th' universall stole Of sacred Psyche; which at first was fine, Pure, thin, and pervious till hid powers did pull Together in severall points and did encline The nearer parts in one clod to combine. Those centrall spirits that the parts did draw The measure of each globe did then define, Made things impenetrable here below, Gave colour, figure, motion, and each usuall law.
And what is done in this Terrestriall starre The same is done in every Orb beside. Each flaming Circle that we see from farre Is but a knot in Psyches garment tide. From that lax shadow cast throughout the wide And endlesse world, that low'st projection Of universall life each thing's deriv'd What e're appeareth in corporeall fashion; For body's but this spirit, fixt, grosse by conspissation.
And that which doth conspissate active is; Wherefore not matter but some living sprite Of nimble Nature which this lower mist And immense field of Atoms doth excite, And wake into such life as best doth fit With his own self. As we change phantasies The essence of our soul not chang'd a whit, So do these Atoms change their energies Themselves unchanged into new Centreities.
And as our soul's not superficially Colourd by phantasms, nor doth them reflect As doth a looking-glasse such imag'rie As it to the beholder doth detect: No more are these lightly or smear'd or deckt With form or motion which in them we see, But from their inmost Centre they project Their vitall rayes, not merely passive be, But by occasion wak'd rouze up themselves on high.
So that they're life, form, sprite, not matter pure, For matter pure is a pure nullitie, What nought can act is nothing, I am sure; And if all act, that is they'll not denie But all that is is form: so easily By what is true, and by what they embrace For truth, their feigned Corporalitie Will vanish into smoke, but on I'll passe, More fully we have sung this in another place.
Wherefore more boldly now to represent The nature of the world, how first things were How now they are: This endlesse large Extent Of lowest life (which I styled whileere The Cuspis of the Cone that's every where) Was first all dark, till in this spacious Hall Hideous through silent horrour torches clear And lamping lights bright shining over all Were set up in due distances proportionall.
Innumerable numbers of fair Lamps Were rightly ranged in this hollow hole, To warm the world and chace the shady damps Of immense darknesse, rend her pitchie stole Into short rags more dustie dimme then coal. Which pieces then in severall were cast (Abhorred reliques of that vesture foul) Upon the Globes that round those torches trac'd, Which still fast on them stick for all they run so fast.
Such an one is that which mortall men call Night, A little shred of that unbounded shade. And such a Globe is that which Earth is hight; By witlesse Wizzards the sole centre made Of all the world, and on strong pillars staid. And such a lamp or light is this our Sun, Whose firie beams the scortched Earth invade. But infinite such as he, in heaven won, And more then infinite Earths about those Suns do run;
And to speak out: though I detest the sect Of Epicurus for their manners vile, Yet what is true I may not well reject. Truth's incorruptible, ne can the style Of vitious pen her sacred worth defile. If we no more of truth should deign t' embrace Then what unworthy mouths did never soyl, No truths at all mongst men would finden place But make them speedie wings and back to Heaven apace.
I will not say our world is infinite, But that infinitie of worlds ther be. The Centre of our world's the lively light Of the warm sunne, the visible Deitie Of this externall Temple. Mercurie Next plac'd and warm'd more throughly by his rayes, Right nimbly 'bout his golden head doth flie: Then Venus nothing slow about him strayes, And next our Earth though seeming sad full spritely playes.
And after her Mars rangeth in a round With firie locks and angry flaming eye, And next to him mild Jupiter is found, But Saturn cold wons in our utmost skie. The skirts of his large Kingdome surely lie Near to the confines of some other worlds Whose Centres are the fixed starres on high, 'Bout which as their own proper Suns are hurld Joves, Earths and Saturns; round on their own axes twurld.
Little or nothing are those starres to us Which in the azure Evening gay appear (I mean for influence) but judicious Nature and carefull Providence her dear And matchlesse work did so contrive whileere, That th' Hearts or Centres in the wide world pight Should such a distance each to other bear, That the dull Planets with collated light By neighbour suns might cheared be in dampish night.
And as the Planets in our world (of which The sun's the heart and kernell) do receive Their nightly light from suns that do enrich Their sable mantle with bright gemmes, and give A goodly splendour, and sad men relieve With their fair twinkling rayes, so our worlds sunne Becomes a starre elsewhere, and doth derive Joynt light with others, cheareth all that won In those dim duskish Orbs round other suns that run.
This is the parergon of each noble fire Of neighbour worlds to be the nightly starre, But their main work is vitall heat t' inspire Into the frigid spheres that 'bout them fare, Which of themselves quite dead and barren are. But by the wakening warmth of kindly dayes, And the sweet dewie nights they well declare Their seminall virtue in due courses raise Long hidden shapes and life, to their great Makers praise.
These with their suns I severall worlds do call, Whereof the number I deem infinite: Else infinite darknesse were in this great Hall Of th' endlesse Universe; For nothing finite Could put that immense shadow unto flight. But if that infinite Suns we shall admit, Then infinite worlds follow in reason right. For every Sun with Planets must be fit, And have some mark for his farre-shining shafts to hit.
But if he shine all solitarie, alone, What mark is left,? what aimed scope or end Of his existence? wherefore every one Hath a due number of dim Orbs that wend Around their centrall fire. But wrath will rend This strange composure back'd with reason stout And rasher tongues right speedily will spend Their forward censure, that my wits run out On wool-gathering, through infinite spaces all about.
What sober man will dare once to avouch An infinite number of dispersed starres? This one absurdity will make him crouch And eat his words; Division nought impairs The former whole, nor he augments that spares. Strike every tenth out, that which doth remain, An equall number with the former shares, And let the tenth alone, th' whole nought doth gain, For infinite to infinite is ever the same.
The tenth is infinite as the other nine, Or else, nor they, nor all the ten entire Are infinite. Thus one infinite doth adjoyn Others unto it and still riseth higher. And if those single lights hither aspire, This strange prodigious inconsistencie Groweth still stranger, if each fixed fire (I mean each starre) prove Sunnes, and Planets flie About their flaming heads amid the thronged skie.
For whatsoever that their number be Whether by seavens, or eighths, or fives, or nines, They round each fixed lamp; Infinity Will be redoubled thus by many times. Besides each greater Planet th' attendance finds Of lesser. Our Earths handmaid is the Moon, Which to her darkned side right duly shines, And Jove hath foure, as hath been said aboven, And Saturn more then foure if the plain truth were known.
And if these globes be regions of life And severall kinds of plants therein do grow, Grasse, flowers, hearbs, trees, which the impartiall knife Of all consuming Time still down doth mow, And new again doth in succession show: Which also 's done in flies, birds, men and beasts; Adde sand, pearls, pebbles, that the ground do strow Leaves, quills, hairs, thorns, blooms, you may think the rest Their kinds by mortall penne can not well be exprest:
And if their kinds no man may reckon well, The summe of successive particulars No mind conceive nor tongue can ever tell. And yet this mist of numbers (as appears) Belongs to one of these opacous sphears. Suppose this Earth; what then will all those Rounds Produce? No Atlas such a load upbears. In this huge endlesse heap o'rewhelmed, drownd, Choak'd, stifled, lo! I lie, breathlesse, even quite confound.
Yet give me space a while but to respire, And I my self shal fairly well out-wind; Keep this position true, unhurt, entire, That you no greater difficulty find In this new old opinion here defin'd Of infinite worlds, then one world doth imply. For if we do with steddy patience mind All is resolv'd int' one absurdity, The grant of something greater then infinitie.
That God is infinite all men confesse, And that the Creature is some realty Besides Gods self, though infinitely lesse. Joyn now the world unto the Deity. What? is there added no more entitie By this conjunction, then there was before? Is the broad breasted earth? the spacious skie Spangled with silver light, and burning Ore? And the wide bellowing seas, whose boyling billows roar,
Are all these nothing? But you will reply; As is the question so we ought restrain Our answer unto Corporeity. But that the phantasie of the body's vain I did before unto you maken plain. But that no man depart unsatisfi'd A while this Universe here will we feigne Corporeall, till we have gainly tride. If ought that's bodily may infinite abide.
What makes a body saving quantity? What quantitie unlesse extension? Extension if 't admit infinity Bodies admit boundlesse dimension. That some extension forward on doth run Withouten limits, endlesse, infinite Is plane from Space, that ever paceth on Unstop'd, unstaid, till it have filled quite That immense infinite Orb where God himself doth sit.
But yet more sensibly this truth to show If space be ended set upon that end Some strong arm'd Archer with his Parthian bow, That from that place with speedy force may send His fleeter shafts, and so still forward wend. Where? When shall he want room his strength to trie? But here perversly subtill you'l contend Nothing can move in mere vacuity, And space is nought, so not extended properly.
To solve these knots I must call down from high Some heavenly help, feather with angels wing The sluggish arrow. If it will not flie, Sent out from bow stiff-bent with even string, Let angels on their backs it thither bring Where your free mind appointed had before, And then hold on, till in your travelling You be well wearied, finding ever more Free passage for their flight, and what they flying bore.
Now to that shift that sayes Vacuity Is nought, and therefore not at all extent We answer thus: There is a distancy In empty space, though we be well content To balk that question (for we never meant Such needlesse niceties) whether that it be A reall being; yet that there's parts distent One from another, no mans phantasie Can e're reject if well he weigh't and warily.
For now conceive the aire and azure skie All swept away from Saturn to the Sunne, Which each is to be wrought by him on high. Then in this place let all the Planets runne (As erst they did before this feat was done) If not by nature, yet by divine power, Ne one hairs breadth their former circuits shun And still for fuller proof, th' Astronomer Observe their hights as in the empty heavens they scoure.
Will then their Parallaxes prove all one Or none, or different still as before? If so, their distances by mortall men Must be acknowledg'd such as were of yore, Measur'd by leagues, miles, stades, nor lesse nor more From circuit unto circuit shall be found Then was before the sweeping of the floor. That distance therefore hath most certain ground In emptinesse we may conclude with reason sound.
If distance now so certainly attend All emptinesse (as also mensuration Attendeth distance) distance without end Is wide disperst above imagination (For emptinesse is void of limitation) And this unbounded voidnesse doth admit The least and greatest measures application; The number thus of the greatest that doth fit This infinite void space is likewise infinite.
But what so e're that infinite number be, A lesser number will a number give So farre exceeding in infinity That number as this measure we conceive To fall short of the other. But I'll leave This present way and a new course will trie Which at the same mark doth as fully drive And with a great deal more facility. Look on this endlesse Space as one whole quantity.
Which in your mind int' equall parts divide, Tens, hundreds, thousands or what pleaseth best. Each part denominate doth still abide An infinite portion, else nor all the rest Makes one infinitude. For if one thousandth part may be defin'd By finite measures eas'ly well exprest, A myriad suppose of miles assign'd Then to a thousand myriads is the whole confin'd.
Wherefore this wide and wast Vacuity, Which endlesse is outstretched thorough all, And lies even equall with the Deity, Nor is a thing meerly imaginall, (For it doth farre mens phantasies forestall Nothing beholden to our devicefull thought) This inf'nite voidnesse as much our mind doth gall And has as great perplexities ybrought As if this empty space with bodies were yfraught.
Nor have we yet the face once to denie But that it is although we mind it not; For all once minded such perplexity It doth create to puzzled reason, that She sayes and unsayes, do's she knows not what. Why then should we the worlds infinity Misdoubt, because when as we contemplate Its nature, such strange inconsistency And unexpected sequels, we therein descry?
Who dare gainsay but God is every where Unbounded, measurelesse, all infinite; Yet the same difficulties meet us here Which erst us met and did so sore affright With their strange vizards. This will follow right Where ever we admit infinity Every denominated part proves streight A portion infinite, which if it be, One infinite will into myriads multiply.
But with new argument to draw more near Our purpos'd end. If God's omnipotent And this omnipotent God be every where, Where e're he is then can he eas'ly vent His mighty virtue thorough all extent. What then shall hinder but a roscid aire With gentle heat each where be 'sperst and sprent. Unlesse omnipotent power we will empair, And say that empty space his working can debarre.
Where now this one supposed world is pight Was not that space at first all vain and void? Nor ought said; no, when he said, Let 't be light. Was this one space better then all beside, And more obedient to what God decreed? Or would not all that endlesse emptinesse Gladly embrac'd (if he had ever tride) His just command? and what might come to passe Implies no contradictious inconsistentnesse.
Wherefore this precious sweet Ethereall dew For ought we know God each where did distill, And thorough all that hollow voidnesse threw And the wide gaping drought therewith did fill, His endlesse overflowing goodnesse spill In every place; which streight he did contrive Int' infinite severall worlds, as his best skill Did him direct and creatures could receive For matter infinite needs infinite worlds must give.
The Centre of each severall world's a sunne With shining beams and kindly warming heat, About whose radiant crown the Planets runne, Like reeling moths around a candle light, These all together, one world I conceit. And that even infinite such worlds there be, That inexhausted Good that God is bight A full sufficient reason is to me, Who simple Goodnesse make the highest Deity.
Als make himself the key of all his works And eke the measure of his providence; The piercing eye of truth to whom nought lurks But lies wide ope unbar'd of all pretense. But frozen hearts! away! flie farre from hence, Unlesse you'l thaw at this celestiall fire And melt into one minde and holy sense With Him that doth all heavenly hearts inspire, So may you with my soul in one assent conspire.
But what's within, uneath is to convey To narrow vessels that are full afore. And yet this truth as wisely as I may I will insinuate, from senses store Borrowing a little aid. Tell me therefore When you behold with your admiring eyes Heavens Canopie all to bespangled o're With sprinkled starres, what can you well devize Which causen may such carelesse order in the skies?
A peck of peasen rudely poured out On plaister flore, from hasty heedlesse hond Which lie all carelesse scattered about, To sight do in as seemly order stond, As those fair glistering lights in heaven are found. If onely for this world they were intended, Nature would have adorn'd this azure round With better art, and easily have mended This harsh disord'red order, and more beauty lended.
But though these lights do seem so rudely thrown And scattered throughout the spacious skie, Yet each most seemly sits in his own Throne In distance due and comely Majesty; And round their lordly seats their servants hie Keeping a well-proportionated space One from another, doing chearfully Their dayly task. No blemmish may deface The worlds in severall deckt with all art and grace.
But the appearance of the nightly starres Is but the by-work of each neighbour sun; Wherefore lesse marvell if it lightly shares Of neater Art; and what proportion Were fittest for to distance one from one (Each world I mean from other) is not clear. Wherefore it must remain as yet unknown Why such perplexed distances appear Mongst the dispersed lights in Heaven thrown here & there.
Again, that eminent similitude Betwixt the starres and Phoebus fixed light, They being both with steddinesse indu'd, No whit removing whence they first were pight, No serious man will count a reason slight To prove them both, both fixed suns and starres And Centres all of severall worlds by right, For right it is that none a sun debarre Of Planets which his just and due retinue are.
If starres be merely starres not centrall lights Why swell they into so huge bignesses? For many (as Astronomers do write) Our sun in bignesse many times surpasse. If both their number and their bulks were lesse Yet lower placed, light and influence Would flow as powerfully, and the bosome presse Of the impregned Earth, that fruit from hence As fully would arise, and lordly affluence.
Wherefore these fixed Fires mainly attend Their proper charge in their own Universe, And onely by the by of court'sie lend Light to our world, as our world doth reverse His thankfull rayes so farre as he can pierce Back unto other worlds. But farre aboven Further then furthest thought of man can traverse, Still are new worlds aboven and still aboven. In the endlesse hollow Heaven, and each world hath his sun.
An hint of this we have in winter-nights, When reason may see clearer then our eye, Small subtil starres appear unto our sights As thick as pin-dust scattered in the skie. Here we accuse our seeing facultie Of weaknesse, and our sense of foul deceit, We do accuse and yet we know not why. But the plain truth is, from a vaster hight The numerous upper worlds amaze our dazzled sight.
Now sith so farre as sense can ever trie We find new worlds, that still new worlds there be, And round about in infinite numbers lie, Further then reach of mans weak phantasie (Without suspition of temeritie) We may conclude; as well as men conclude That there is aire farre 'bove the mountains high, Or that th' Earth a sad substance doth include Even to the Centre with like qualities indu'd.
For who did ever the Earths Centre pierce, And felt or sand or gravell with his spade At such a depth? what Histories rehearse That ever wight did dare for to invade Her bowels but one mile in dampish shade? Yet I'll be bold to say that few or none But deem this globe even to the bottome made Of solid earth, and that her nature's one Throughout, though plain experience hath it never shown.
But sith sad earth so farre as they have gone They still descrie, eas'ly they do inferre Without all check of reason, were they down Never so deep, like substance would appear, Ne dream of any hollow horrour there. My mind with like uncurb'd facilitie Concludes from what by sight is seen so clear That ther's no barren wast vacuitie Above the worlds we see, but still new worlds there lie,
And still and still even to infinitie. Which point since I so fitly have propos'd, Abating well the inconsistencie Of harsh infinitude therein supposd And prov'd by reasons never to be loos'd That infinite space and infinite worlds there be; This load laid down, I'm freely now dispos'd Awhile to sing of times infinitie, May infinite Time afford me but his smallest fee.
For smallest fee of time will serve my turn This part for to dispatch, sith endlesse space (Whose perplext nature well mans brains might turn, And weary wits disorder and misplace) I have already passed: for like case Is in them both. He that can well untie The knots that in those infinite worlds found place, May easily answer each perplexitie Of these worlds infinite matters endlesse durancie.
The Cuspis and the Basis of the Cone Were both at once dispersed every where; But the pure Basis that is God alone: Else would remotest sights as bigge appear Unto our eyes as if we stood them near. And if an Harper harped in the Moon, His silver sound would touch our tickled eare: Or if one hollowed from highest Heaven aboven, In sweet still Evening-tide, his voice would hither roam.
This all would be if the Cuspe of the Cone Were very God. Wherefore I rightly 't deem Onely a Creaturall projection, Which flowing yet from God hath ever been, Fill'd the vast empty space with its large streem. But yet it is not totall every where As was even now by reason rightly seen: Wherefore not God, whose nature doth appear Entirely omnipresent, weigh'd with judgement clear,
A reall infinite matter, distinct And yet proceeding from the Deitie Although with different form as then untinct Has ever been from all Eternitie. Now what delay can we suppose to be, Since matter alway was at hand prepar'd Before the filling of the boundlesse skie With framed Worlds; for nought at all debar'd, Nor was His strength ungrown, nor was His strength empair'd.
How long would God be forming of a flie? Or the small wandring moats that play i' th' sun? Least moment well will serve none can denie, His Fiat spoke and streight the thing is done. And cannot He make all the World as soon? For in each Atom of the matter wide The totall Deitie doth entirely won, His infinite presence doth therein reside, And in this presence infinite powers do ever abide.
Wherefore at once from all eternitie The infinite number of these Worlds He made, And will conserve to all infinitie, And still drive on their ever-moving trade, And steddy hold what ever must be staid; Ne must one mite be minish'd of the summe, Ne must the smallest atom ever fade, But still remain though it may change its room; This truth abideth strong from everlasting doom.
Ne fear I what hard sequel after-wit Will draw upon me; that the number's one Of years, moneths, dayes, houres, and of minutes fleet Which from eternitie have still run on. I plainly did confesse awhile agone That be it what it will that's infinite More infinites will follow thereupon, But that all infinites do justly fit And equall be, my reason did not yet admit.
But as my emboldened mind, I know not how, In empty Space and pregnant Deitie Endlesse infinitude dares to allow, Though it begets the like perplexitie: So now my soul drunk with Divinitie, And born away above her usuall bounds With confidence concludes infinitie Of Time of Worlds, of firie flaming Rounds; Which sight in sober mood my spirits quite confounds.
And now I do awhile but interspire A torrent of objections 'gainst me beat, My boldnesse to represse and strength to tire. But I will wipe them off like summer sweat, And make their streams streight back again retreat. If that these worlds, say they, were ever made From infinite time, how comes 't to passe that yet Art is not perfected, nor metalls fade, Nor mines of grimie coal low-hid in griesly shade.
But the remembrance of the ancient Floud With ease will wash such arguments away. Wherefore with greater might I am withstood. The strongest stroke wherewith they can assay To vanquish me is this; The Date or Day Of the created World, which all admit; Nor may my modest Muse this truth gainsay In holy Oracles so plainly writ. Wherefore the Worlds continuance is not infinite.
Now lend me, Origen! a little wit This sturdy stroke right fairly to avoid, Lest that my rasher rymes, while they ill fit With Moses pen, men justly may deride And well accuse of ignorance or pride. But thou, O holy Sage! with piercing sight Who readst those sacred rolls, and hast well tride With searching eye thereto what fitteth right Thy self of former Worlds right learnedly dost write:
To weet that long ago these Earths have been Peopled with men and beasts before this Earth, And after this shall others be again And other beasts and other humane birth. Which once admit, no strength that reason bear'th Of this worlds Date and Adams efformation, Another Adam once received breath And still another in endlesse repedation, And this must perish once by finall conflagration.
Witnesse ye Heavens if what I say's not true, Ye flaming Comets wandering on high, And new fixt starres found in that Circle blue, The one espide in glittering Cassiopie, The other near to Ophiuchus thigh. Both bigger then the biggest starres that are, And yet as farre remov'd from mortall eye As are the furthest, so those Arts declare Unto whose reaching sight Heavens mysteries lie bare.
Wherefore these new-seen lights were greater once By many thousand times then this our sphear Wherein we live, 'twixt good and evil chance. Which to my musing mind doth strange appear If those large bodies then first shaped were. For should so goodly things so soon decay? Neither did last the full space of two year. Wherefore I cannot deem that their first day Of being, when to us they sent out shining ray.
But that they were created both of old, And each in his due time did fair display Themselves in radiant locks more bright then gold, Or silver sheen purg'd from all drossie clay. But how they could themselves in this array Expose to humane sight, who did before Lie hid, is that which well amazen may The wisest man and puzzle evermore: Yet my unwearied thoughts this search could not give o're.
Which when I'd exercis'd in long pursuit To finden out what might the best agree With warie reason, at last I did conclude That there's no better probabilitie Can be produc'd of that strange prodigie, But that some mighty Planet that doth run About some fixed starre in Cassiopie As Saturn paceth round about our Sun, Unusuall light and bignesse by strange fate had wonne.
Which I conceive no gainer way is done Then by the siezing of devouring fire On that dark Orb, which 'fore but dimly shone With borrowed light, not lightened entire, But halfed like the Moon. And while the busie flame did sieze throughout, And search the bowels of the lowest mire Of that Saturnian Earth; a mist broke out, And immense mounting smoke arose all round about.
Which being gilded with the piercing rayes Of its own sun and every neighbour starre, It soon appear'd with shining silver blaze, And then gan first be seen of men from farre. Besides that firie flame that was so narre The Planets self, which greedily did eat The wastning mold, did contribute a share Unto this brightnesse; and what I conceit Of this starre doth with that of Ophiuchus sit.
And like I would adventure to pronounce Of all the Comets that above the Moon, Amidst the higher Planets rudely dance In course perplex, but that from this rash doom I'm bett off by their beards and tails farre strown Along the skie, pointing still opposite Unto the sun, however they may roam; Wherefore a cluster of small starres unite These meteors some do deem, perhaps with judgement right.
And that these tayls are streams of the suns light Breaking through their near bodies as through clouds. Besides the Optick glasse has shown to sight The dissolution of these starrie crouds. Which thing if 't once be granted and allow'd, I think without all contradiction They may conclude these Meteors are routs Of wandring starres, which though they one by one Cannot be seen, yet joyn'd, cause this strange vision.
And yet methinks, in my devicefull mind Some reasons that may happily represse These arguments it's not uneath to find. For how can the suns rayes that be transmisse Through these loose knots in Comets, well expresse Their beards or curld tayls utmost incurvation? Beside, the conflux and congeries Of lesser lights a double augmentation Implies, and 'twixt them both a lessening coarctation.
For when as once these starres are come so nigh As to seem one, the Comet must appear In biggest show, because more loose they lie Somewhat spread out, but as they draw more near The compasse of his head away must wear, Till he be brought to his least magnitude; And then they passing crosse, he doth repair Himself, and still from his last losse renew'd Grows till he reach the measure which we first had view'd.
And then farre distanc'd they bid quite adiew, Each holding on in solitude his way. Ne any footsteps in the empty Blew Is to be found of that farre-shining ray. Which processe sith no man did yet bewray, It seems unlikely that the Comets be Synods of starres that in wide Heaven stray. Their smallnesse eke and numerositie Encreaseth doubt and lessens probabilitie.
A cluster of them makes not half a Moon, What should such tennis-balls do in the skie? And few 'll not figure out the fashion Of those round firie meteors on high. Ne ought their beards much move us, that do lie Ever cast forward from the Morning sunne, Nor back cast tayls turn'd to our Evening-eye, That fair appear when as the day is done. This matter may lie hid in the starres shadowed Cone.
For in these Planets conflagration, Although the smoke mount up exactly round, Yet by the suns irradiation Made thin and subtil no where else its found By sight, save in the dim and duskish bound Of the projected Pyramid opake, Opake with darknesse, smoke and mists unsound. Yet gilded like a foggie cloud doth make Reflection of fair light that doth our senses take.
This is the reason of that constant site Of Comets tayls and beards: And that their show's Not pure Pyramidall, nor their ends seem streight But bow'd like brooms, is from the winds that blow, I mean Ethereall winds, such as below Men finden under th' Equinoctiall line. Their widend beards this aire so broad doth strow Incurvate, and or more or lesse decline: If not, let sharper wits more subtly here divine.
But that experiment of the Optick glasse The greatest argument of all I deem, Ne can I well encounter nor let passe So strong a reason if I may esteem The feat withouten fallacie to been, Nor judge these little sparks and subtile lights Some auncient fixed starres though now first seen, That near the ruin'd Comets place were pight, On which that Optic instrument by chance did light.
Nor finally an uncouth after-sport Of th' immense vapours that the searching fire Had boyled out, which now themselves consort In severall parts and closely do conspire, Clumper'd in balls of clouds and globes entire Of crudled smoke and heavy clunging mists; Which when they've staid awhile at last expire; But while they stay any may see that lists So be that Optick Art his naturall sight assists.
If none of these wayes I may well decline The urging weight of this hard argument, Worst is but parting stakes and thus define: Some Comets be but single Planets brent, Others a synod joyn'd in due consent: And that no new found Meteors they are: Ne further may my wary mind assent From one single experience solitaire, Till all-discovering Time shall further truth declare.
But for the new fixt starres there's no pretence, Nor beard nor tail to take occasion by, To bring in that unluckie inference Which weaken might this new built mysterie. Certes in raging fire they both did frie. A signe whereof you rightly may aread Their colours changeable varietie First clear and white, then yellow, after red, Then blewly pale, then duller still, till perfect dead.
And as the order of these colours went, So still decreas'd that Cassiopean starre, Till at the length to sight it was quite spent: Which observations strong reasons are, Consuming fire its body did empare And turn to ashes. And the like will be In all the darksome Planets wide and farre. Ne can our Earth from this state standen free A Planet as the rest, and Planets fate must trie.
Ne let the tender heart too harshly deem Of this rude sentence: for what rigour more Is in consuming fire then drowning stream Of Noahs floud which all creaturs choak'd of yore, Saving those few that were kept safe in store In that well builded ship? All else beside Men, birds, and beasts, the lion, buck, and bore Dogs, kine, sheep, horses all that did abide Upon the spacious earth, perish'd in waters wide.
Nor let the slow and misbelieving wight Doubt how the fire on the hard earth may seize; No more then how those waters erst did light Upon the sinfull world. For as the seas Boyling with swelling waves aloft did rise, And met with mighty showers and pouring rain From Heavens spouts; so the broad flashing skies Thickned with brimstone and clouds of fiery bain Shall meet with raging Etna's and Vesuvius flame.
The burning bowels of this wasting ball Shall gullup up great flakes of rolling fire, And belch out pitchie flames, till over all Having long rag'd, Vulcan himself shall tire And (th' earth an ashheap made) shall then expire: Here Nature laid asleep in her own Urn With gentle rest right easly will respire, Till to her pristine task she do return As fresh as Phenix young under th' Arabian Morn.
O happy they that then the first are born, While yet the world is in her vernall pride: For old corruption quite away is worn As metall pure so is her mold well tride. Sweet dews, cool-breathing airs, and spaces wide Of precious spicery wafted with soft wind: Fair comely bodies goodly beautifi'd Snow-limb'd, rose-cheek'd, ruby-lip'd, pearl-ted, star eyn'd Their parts each fair in fit proportion all conbin'd.
For all the while her purged ashes rest These rellicks dry suck in the heavenly dew, And roscid Manna rains upon her breast, And fills with sacred milk sweet fresh and new, Where all take life and doth the world renew; And then renew'd with pleasure be yfed. A green soft mantle doth her bosome strew With fragrant herbs and flowers embellished, Where without fault or shame all living creatures bed.
Ne ought we doubt how Nature may recover In her own ashes long time buried, For nought can ever consume that centrall power Of hid spermatick life, which lies not dead In that rude heap, but safely covered; And doth by secret force suck from above Sweet heavenly juice, and therewith nourished Till her just bulk, she doth her life emprove, Made mother of much children that about her move.
Witnesse that uncouth bird of Arabie Which out of her own ruines doth revive With all th' exploits of skillfull Chymistrie, Such as no vulgar wit can well believe. Let universall Nature witnesse give That what I sing 's no feigned forgerie. A needlesse task new fables to contrive, But what I sing is seemly verity Well suting with right reason and Philosophie.
But the fit time of this mutation No man can finden out with all his pains. For the small sphears of humane reason run Too swift within his narrow compast brains. But that vast Orb of Providence contains A wider period; turneth still and slow. Yet at the last his aimed end he gains. And sure at last a fire will overflow The aged Earth, and all must into ashes go.
Then all the stately works and monuments Built on this bottome shall to ruine fall. And all those goodly statues shall be brent Which were erect to the memoriall Of Kings Kaesars, ne may better 'fall The boastfull works of brave Poetick pride That promise life and fame perpetuall; Ne better fate may these poor lines abide. Betide what will to what may live no lenger tide!
This is the course that never-dying Nature Might ever hold from all Eternitie, Renuing still the faint decayed creature Which would grow stark and drie as aged tree, Unlesse by wise preventing Destinie She were at certain periods of years Reduced back unto her Infancie, Which well fram'd argument (as plain appears) My ship from those hard rocks and shelves right safely stears.
Lo! now my faithfull muse hath represented Both frames of Providence to open view, And hath each point in orient colours painted Not to deceive the sight with seeming shew But earnest to give either part their due; Now urging th' uncouth strange perplexitie Of infinite worlds and Time, then of a new Softening that harsher inconsistencie To fit the immense goodnesse of the Deity.
And here by curious men 't may be expected That I this knot with judgement grave decide, And then proceed to what else was objected. But, ah! What mortall wit may dare t' areed Heavens counsels in eternall horrour hid? And Cynthius pulls me by my tender ear Such signes I must observe with wary heed: Wherefore my restlesse Muse at length forbear. Thy silver sounded Lute hang up in silence here.
Cl. Mela my dear! why been thy looks so sad As if thy gentle heart were sunk with care? Impart thy case; for be it good or bad Friendship in either will bear equall share. Mel. Not so; Cleanthes, for if bad it be My self must bleed afresh by wounding thee.
But what it is, my slow, uncertain wit Cannot well judge. But thou shalt sentence give How manfully of late my self I quit, When with that lordly lad by chance I strive: Cl. Of friendship Mela! let's that story hear. Mel. Sit down Cleanthes then, and lend thine ear.
Upon a day as best did please my mind Walking abroad amidst the verdant field Scattering my carefull thoughts i' th' wanton wind The pleasure of my path so farre had till'd My feeble feet that without timely rest Uneath it were to reach my wonted nest.
In secret shade farre moved from mortals sight In lowly dale my wandring limbs I laid On the cool grasse where Natures pregnant wit A goodly bower of thickest trees had made. Amongst the leaves the chearfull birds did fare And sweetly carrol'd to the echoing air.
Hard at my feet ran down a crystall spring Which did the cumbrous pebbles hoarsly chide For standing in the way. Though murmuring The broken stream his course did rightly guide And strongly pressing forward with disdain The grassie flore divided into twain.
The place a while did feed my foolish eye As being new, and eke mine idle ear Did listen oft to that wild harmonie And oft my curious phansie would compare How well agreed the Brooks low muttering Base, With the birds trebbles pearch'd on higher place.
But senses objects soon do glut the soul, Or rather weary with their emptinesse; So I, all heedlesse how the waters roll And mindlesse of the mirth the birds expresse, Into my self 'gin softly to retire After hid heavenly pleasures to enquire.
While I this enterprize do entertain; Lo! on the other side in thickest bushes A mighty noise! with that a naked swain With blew and purple wings streight rudely rushes. He leaps down light upon the flowry green, Like sight before mine eyes had never seen.
At's snowy back the boy a quiver wore Right fairly wrought and gilded all with gold. A silver bow in his left hand he bore, And in his right a ready shaft did hold. Thus armed stood he and betwixt us tway The labouring brook did break his toilsome way.
The wanton lad whose sport is others pain Did charge his bended bow with deadly dart, And drawing to the head with might and main, With fell intent he aim'd to hit my heart. But ever as he shot his arrows still In their mid course dropt down into the rill.
Of wondrous virtues that in waters been Is needlesse to rehearse, all books do ring Of those strange rarities. But ne're was seen Such virtue as resided in this spring. The novelty did make me much admire But stirr'd the hasty youth to ragefull ire.
As heedlesse fowls that take their per'lous flight Over that bane of birds, Averno lake, Do drop down dead: so dead his shafts did light Amid this stream, which presently did slake Their fiery points, and all their feathers wet Which made the youngster Godling inly fret.
Thus lustfull Love (this was that love I ween) Was wholly changed to consuming ire. And eath it was, sith they're so near a kin They be both born of one rebellious sire. But he supprest his wrath and by and by For feathered darts, he winged words let flie:
Vain man! said he, and would thou wer'st not vain That hid'st thy self in solitary shade And spil'st thy precious youth in sad disdain Hating this lifes delight! Hath god thee made Part of this world, and wilt not thou partake Of this worlds pleasure for its makers sake?
Unthankfull wretch! Gods gifts thus to reject And maken nought of Natures goodly dower That milders still away through thy neglect And dying fades like unregarded flower. This life is good, what's good thou must improve, The highest improvement of this life is love.
Had I (but O that envious Destinie, Or Stygian vow, or thrice accursed charm Should in this place free passage thus denie Unto my shafts as messengers of harm! Had I but once transfixt thy froward breast, How would'st thou then——I staid not for the rest;
But thus half angry to the boy replide: How would'st thou then my soul of sense bereave! I blinded, thee more blind should choose my guide! How would'st thou then my muddied mind deceive With fading shows, that in my errour vile, Base lust; I love should tearm, vice, virtue stile.
How should my wicked rymes then idolize Thy wretched power, and with impious wit Impute thy base born passions to the skies And my souls sicknesse count an heavenly fit, My weaknesse strength, my wisdome to be caught My bane my blisse, mine ease to be o'rewraught.
How often through my fondly feigning mind And frantick phansie, in my Mistris eye Should I a thousand fluttering Cupids find Bathing their busie wings? How oft espie Under the shadow of her eye-brows fair Ten thousand Graces sit all naked bare?
Thus haunted should I be with such feat fiends: A pretty madnesse were my portion due. Foolish my self I would not hear my friends. Should deem the true for false, the false for true. My way all dark more slippery then ice My attendents, anger, pride, and jealousies.
Unthankfull then to God I should neglect All the whole world for one poor sorry wight, Whose pestilent eye into my heart project Would burn like poysonous Comet in my spright. Aye me! how dismall then would prove that day Whose onely light sprang from so fatall ray.
Who seeks for pleasure in this mortall life By diving deep into the body base Shall loose true pleasure: But who gainly strive Their sinking soul above this bulk to place Enlarg'd delight they certainly shall find Unbounded joyes to fill their boundlesse mind.
When I my self from mine own self do quit And each thing else; then an all-spreaden love To the vast Universe my soul doth sit Makes me half equall to all-seeing Jove. My mighty wings high stretch'd then clapping light I brush the starres and make them shine more bright.
Then all the works of God with close embrace I dearly hug in my enlarged arms All the hid paths of heavenly Love I trace And boldly listen to his secret charms. Then clearly view I where true light doth rise, And where eternall Night low-pressed lies.
Thus lose I not by leaving small delight But gain more joy, while I my self suspend From this and that; for then with all unite I all enjoy, and love that love commends. That all is more then loves the partiall soul Whose petty loves th' impartiall fates controll.
Ah son! said he, (and laughed very loud) That trickst thy tongue with uncouth strange disguize, Extolling highly that with speeches proud To mortall men that humane state denies, And rashly blaming what thou never knew Let men experienc'd speak, if they'll speak true.
Had I once lanc'd thy froward flinty heart And cruddled bloud had thawn with living fire And prickt thy drousie sprite with gentle smart How wouldst thou wake to kindly sweet desire, Thy soul fill'd up with overflowing pleasures Would dew thy lips with hony-dropping measures.
Then wouldst thou caroll loud and sweetly sing In honour of my sacred Deity That all the woods and hollow hills would ring Reechoing thy heavenly harmonie. And eke the hardy rocks with full rebounds Would faithfully return thy silver sounds.
Next unto me would be thy Mistresse fair, Whom thou might setten out with goodly skill Her peerlesse beauty and her virtues rare, That all would wonder at thy gracefull quill. And lastly in us both thy self shouldst raise And crown thy temples with immortall bayes.
But now thy riddles all men do neglect, Thy rugged lines of all do lie forlorn. Unwelcome rymes that rudely do detect The Readers ignorance. Men holden scorn To be so often non-plusd or to spell, And on one stanza a whole age to dwell.
Besides this harsh and hard obscuritie Of the hid sense, thy words are barbarous And strangely new, and yet too frequently Return, as usuall plain and obvious, So that the show of the new thick-set patch Marres all the old with which it ill doth match.
But if thy haughty mind, forsooth, would deign To stoop so low to hearken to my lore, Then wouldst thou with trim lovers not disdeign To adorn the outside, set the best before. Nor rub nor wrinkle would thy verses spoil Thy rymes should run as glib and smooth as oyl.
If that be all, said I, thy reasons slight Can never move my well establishd mind. Full well I wote alwayes the present sprite, Or life that doth possesse the soul, doth blind, Shutting the windows 'gainst broad open day Lest fairer sights its uglinesse bewray.
The soul then loves that disposition best Because no better comes unto her view. The drunkard drunkennesse, the sluggard rest, Th' Ambitious honour and obeisance due. So all the rest do love their vices base 'Cause virtues beauty comes not into place.
And looser love 'gainst Chastitie divine Would shut the door that he might sit alone. Then wholly should my mind to him incline: And woxen strait, (since larger love was gone) That paultrie sprite of low contracting lust Would fit my soul as if 't were made for 't just.
Then should I with my fellow bird or brute So strangely metamorphis'd, either ney Or bellow loud: or if 't may better sute Chirp out my joy pearch'd upon higher spray. My passions fond with impudence rehearse, Immortalize my madnesse in a verse.
This is the summe of thy deceiving boast That I vain ludenesse highly should admire, When I the sense of better things have lost And chang'd my heavenly heat for hellish fire, Passion is blind, but virtues piercing eye Approching danger can from farre espie.
And what thou dost Pedantickly object Concerning my rude rugged uncouth style, As childish toy I manfully neglect, And at thy hidden snares do inly smile. How ill alas! with wisdome it accords To sell my living sense for livelesse words.
My thought 's the fittest measure of my tongue, Wherefore I'll use what's most significant, And rather then my inward meaning wrong Or my full-shining notion trimly scant, I'll conjure up old words out of their grave, Or call fresh forrein force in if need crave.
And these attending on my moving mind Shall duly usher in the fitting sense. As oft as meet occasion I find. Unusuall words oft used give lesse offence; Nor will the old contexture dim or marre, For often us'd they're next to old, thred-bare.
And if the old seem in too rustie hew, Then frequent rubbing makes them shine like gold, And glister all with colour gayly new. Wherefore to use them both we will be bold. Thus lists me fondly with fond folk to toy, And answer fools with equall foolerie.
The meaner mind works with more nicetie, As spiders wont to weave their idle web, But braver spirits do all things gallantly Of lesser failings nought at all affred: So Natures carelesse pencill dipt in light With sprinkled starres hath spattered the Night.
And if my notions clear though rudely thrown And loosely scattered in my poesie, May lend men light till the dead Night be gone, And Morning fresh with roses strew the skie: It is enough, I meant no trimmer frame Or by nice needle-work to seek a name.
Vain man! that seekest name mongst earthly men Devoid of God and all good virtuous lere; Who groping in the dark do nothing ken But mad; with griping care their souls do tear, Or burst with hatred or with envie pine Or burn with rage or melt out at their eyne.
Thrice happy he whose name is writ above, And doeth good though gaining infamie; Requiteth evil turns with hearty love, And recks not what befalls him outwardly: Whose worth is in himself, and onely blisse In his pure conscience that doth nought amisse.
Who placeth pleasure in his purged soul And virtuous life his treasure doth esteem; Who can his passions master and controll, And that true lordly manlinesse doth deem, Who from this world himself hath clearly quit Counts nought his own but what lives in his sprite.
So when his sprite from this vain world shall flit It bears all with it whatsoever was dear Unto it self, passing in easie fit, As kindly ripen'd corn comes out of th' eare. Thus mindlesse of what idle men will say He takes his own and stilly goes his way.
But the retinue of proud Lucifer, Those blustering Poets that flie after fame And deck themselves like the bright Morning-starre. Alas! it is but all a crackling flame. For death will strip them of that glorious plume That airie blisse will vanish into fume.
For can their carefull ghosts from Limbo take Return, or listen from the bowed skie To heare how well their learned lines do take? Or if they could; is Heavens felicitie So small as by mans praise to be encreas'd, Hells pain no greater then hence to be eas'd?
Therefore once dead in vain shall I transmit My shadow to gazing Posteritie; Cast farre behind me I shall never see't, On Heavens fair Sunne having fast fixt mine eye. Nor while I live, heed I what man doth praise Or underprize mine unaffected layes.
What moves thee then, said he, to take the pains And spenden time if thou contemn'st the fruit? Sweet fruit of fame, that fills the Poets brains With high conceit and feeds his fainting wit. How pleasant 'tis in honour here to live And dead, thy name for ever to survive!
Or is thy abject mind so basely bent As of thy Muse to maken Merchandize? (And well I wote this is no strange intent.) The hopefull glimps of gold from chattering Pies, From Daws and Crows, and Parots oft hath wrung An unexpected Pegaseian song.
Foul shame on him, quoth I, that shamefull thought Doth entertain within his dunghill breast, Both God and Nature hath my spirits wrought To better temper and of old hath blest My loftie soul with more divine aspires Then to be touchd with such vile low desires.
I hate and highly scorn that Kestrell kind Of bastard scholars that subordinate The precious choice induements of the mind To wealth or worldly good. Adulterate And cursed brood! Your wit and will are born Of th' earth and circling thither do return.
Profit and honour be those measures scant Of your slight studies and endeavours vain, And when you once have got what you did want You leave your learning to enjoy your gain. Your brains grow low, your bellies swell up high, Foul sluggish fat ditts up your dulled eye.
Thus what the earth did breed, to th' earth is gone, Like fading hearb or feebly drooping flower, By feet of men and beast quite trodden down, The muck-sprung learning cannot long endure. Back she returns lost in her filthy source, Drown'd, chok'd or slocken by her cruell nurse.
True virtue to her self's the best reward, Rich with her own and full of lively spirit, Nothing cast down for want of due regard. Or 'cause rude men acknowledge not her merit. She knows her worth and stock from whence she sprung, Spreads fair without the warmth of earthly dung,
Dew'd with the drops of Heaven shall flourish long; As long as day and night do share the skie, And though that day and night should fail yet strong And steddie, fixed on Eternitie Shall bloom for ever. So the foul shall speed That loveth virtue for no worldly meed.
Though sooth to sayn, the worldly meed is due To her more then to all the world beside. Men ought do homage with affections true And offer gifts for God doth there reside. The wise and virtuous soul is his own seat To such what's given God himself doth get.
But earthly minds whose sight's seal'd up with mud Discern not this flesh-clouded Deity, Ne do acknowledge any other good Then what their mole-warp hands can feel and trie By groping touch; thus (worth of them unseen) Of nothing worthy that true worth they ween.
Wherefore the prudent Law-givers of old Even in all Nations, with right sage foresight Discovering from farre how clums and cold The vulgar wight would be to yield what's right To virtuous learning, did by law designe Great wealth and honour to that worth divine.
But nought's by law to Poesie due said he, Ne doth the solemn Statesmans head take care Of those that such impertinent pieces be Of common-weals. Thou'd better then to spare Thy uselesse vein. Or tell else, what may move Thy busie use such fruitlesse pains to prove.
No pains but pleasure to do the dictates dear Of inward living nature. What doth move The Nightingall to sing so sweet and clear The Thrush, or Lark that mounting high above Chants her shrill notes to heedlesse ears of corn Heavily hanging in the dewy morn.
When life can speak, it can not well withhold T' expresse its own impressions and hid life. Or joy or grief that smoothered lie untold Do vex the heart and wring with restlesse strife. Then are my labours no true pains but ease My souls unrest they gently do appease.
Besides, that is not fruitlesse that no gains Brings to my self. I others profit deem Mine own: and if at these my heavenly flames Others receiven light, right well I ween My time's not lost. Art thou now satisfide Said I: to which the scoffing boy replide.
Great hope indeed thy rymes should men enlight, That be with clouds and darknesse all o'recast, Harsh style and harder sense void of delight The Readers wearied eye in vain do wast. And when men win thy meaning with much pain, Thy uncouth sense they coldly entertain.
For wotst thou not that all the world is dead Unto that Genius that moves in thy vein Of poetrie! But like by like is fed. Sing of my Trophees in triumphant strein, Then correspondent life, thy powerfull verse Shall strongly strike and with quick passion pierce.
The tender frie of lads and lasses young With thirstie eare thee compassing about, Thy Nectar-dropping Muse, thy sugar'd song Will swallow down with eagre hearty draught; Relishing truly what thy rymes convey, And highly praising thy soul-smiting lay.
The mincing maid her mind will then bewray, Her heart-bloud flaming up into her face, Grave matrons will wex wanton and betray Their unresolv'dnesse in their wonted grace; Young boyes and girls would feel a forward spring, And former youth to eld thou back wouldst bring.
All Sexes, Ages, Orders, Occupations Would listen to thee with attentive ear, And eas'ly moved with thy sweet perswasions, Thy pipe would follow with full merry chear. While thou thy lively voice didst loud advance Their tickled bloud for joy would inly dance.
But now, alas! poore solitarie man! In lonesome desert thou dost wander wide To seek and serve thy disappearing Pan, Whom no man living in the world hath eyde: For Pan is dead but I am still alive, And live in men who honour to me give:
They honour also those that honour me With sacred songs. But thou now singst to trees To rocks to Hills, to Caves that senselesse be And mindlesse quite of thy hid mysteries, In the void aire thy idle voice is spread, Thy Muse is musick to the deaf or dead.
Now out alas! said I, and wele-away The tale thou tellest I confesse too true. Fond man so doteth on this living clay His carcase dear, and doth its joyes pursue, That of his precious soul he takes no keep Heavens love and reasons light lie fast asleep.
This bodies life vain shadow of the soul With full desire they closely do embrace, In fleshly mud like swine they wallow and roll, The loftiest mind is proud but of the face Or outward person; if men but adore That walking sepulchre, cares for no more.
This is the measure of mans industry To wexen some body and getten grace To 's outward presence; though true majestie Crown'd with that heavenly light and lively rayes Of holy wesdome and Seraphick love, From his deformed soul he farre remove.
Slight knowledge and lesse virtue serves his turn For this designe. If he hath trod the ring Of pedling arts; in usuall pack-horse form Keeping the rode; O! then 't's a learned thing. If any chanc'd to write or speak what he Conceives not 't were a foul discourtesie.
To cleanse the soul from sinne, and still diffide Whether our reasons eye be clear enough To intromit true light, that fain would glide Into purg'd hearts, this way 's too harsh and rough: Therefore the clearest truths may well seem dark When sloathfull men have eyes so dimme and stark.
These be our times. But if my minds presage Bear any moment, they can ne're last long, A three branch'd Flame will soon sweep clean the stage Of this old dirty drosse and all wex young. My words into this frozen air I throw Will then grow vocall at that generall thaw.