While here on earth no virtuous man was found,
There saints, like pismires, swarm’d the molehill round;
Like maggots, crawl’d Caffraria’s entrail’d forts;
Or mushroom’d o’er Europa’s putrid courts;
To deist clubs familiar dar’d retire,
Or howl’d, and powow’d, round the Indian fire,
Such feats my sons achiev’d, such honors won;
The shores, the blocking, of th’ infernal throne!
And tho’ yon haughty world their worth deny,
Their names shall glitter in the nether sky.
But ah their wisdom, wit, and toils were vain,
A balm first soothing, then increasing pain.
Thro’ nature’s fields while cloud-borne Bacon ran,
Doubtful his mind, an angel, or a man;
While high-soul’d Newton, wing’d by Heaven abroad,
Explain’d alike the works, and word, of God;
While patient Locke illum’d with newborn ray,
The path of reason, and the laws of sway;
While Berkley, bursting like the morning sun,
Look’d round all parching from his lofty throne,
In all events, and in all beings shew’d
The present, living, acting, speaking God,
Or cast resistless beams, the gospel o’er,
Union supreme of wisdom, love, and power!
Pain’d, shrivell’d, gasping, from the forceful ray
How crept my mite Philosophers away?
Timothy Dwight: The Triumph of Infidelity (1788)