In Vain my Methodist, brave Herbert, cried,
And whin’d, and wrote, pretended, pray’d, and lied,
In vain my Shaftsbury, to his master true,
Dread Humble bee! o’er burrs and thistles flew;
Incupped, and ravished with the fussful noise,
To praise the wondrous flowers, he rais’d his voice,
Of nature, beauty, dream’d and humm’d amain,
And sung himself, and buzz’d at truth, in vain.
Ah Bolingbroke, how well thy tatter’d robe,
Poor, Bedlam king of learning’s little globe!
Amus’d thy fancy? He, with glory fir’d,
Myself in miniature! to heaven aspir’d
For fame, his heaven, thro’ falshood’s realms he ran,
And wish’d, and watch’d, and toil’d, and hop’d, in vain,
Misread, miswrote, misquoted, misapplied,
Yet fail’d of fame, and miss’d the skies, beside.
In views, in pride, in fate, conjoin’d with me,
Even Satan’s self shall drop a tear for thee.
My leaders these; yet Satan boasts his subs,
His Tolands, Tindals, Collinses, and Chubbs,
Morgans and Woolstons, names of lighter worth,
That stand, on falshood’s list, for &c.
That sworn to me, to vice and folly given,
At truth and virtue growl’d, and bark’d at heaven.
Not men, ’tis true, yet manlings oft they won,
Against their God help’d blockheads oft to fun,
Help’d fops to folly, and help’d rakes to sin,
And marr’d all sway, by mocking sway divine.
My list of authors too they help’d to count,
As cyphers eke the decimal amount.
As writers too they profer’d useful aid
Believ’d unseen, and reverenc’d though unread.
Against their foe no proof my sons desire,
No reasoning canvass and no sense require.
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)
Against her friends I arm’d new bands of foes;
First, highest, all-subduing Fashion rose.
From courts to cottages, her sovereign sway,
With force resistless, bade the world obey.
She moulded faith, and science, with a nod;
Now there was not, and now there was, a God.
” Let black be white, ” she said, and white it seem’d,
” Hume a philosopher; ” and straight he dream’d
Most philosophically. At her call,
Opinions, doctrines, learn’d to rise, and fall;
Before her, bent the universal knee,
And own’d her sovereign, to the praise of me.
With her, brave Ridicule, ‘twixt ill and good,
Falshood and truth, satanic umpire stood.
He, Hogarth like, with hues and features new,
The form of providence, persuasive drew:
Round its fair face bade hells black colours rise.
Its limbs distorted, blear’d its heaven-bright eyes.
At the maim’d image gaz’d, and grinn’d aloud —
” Yon frightful hag’s no semblance of a god. ”
Mean time my friends, the veterans of my cause,
Rack’d every nerve, and gain’d all hell’s applause,
Thro’ realms of cheat and doubt, and darkness, ran,
New-made creation, uncreated man,
Taught, and retaught, asserted and denied,
As pamper’d pleasure, or as bolster’d pride.
Now, groping man in death’s dim darkness trod,
Now, all things kenn’d, with eyelids of a god.
Now, miracles, not God himself could spell;
Now, every monk could grunt them from his cell.
Priests now were dullest, last, of mortal things;
Now outflew Satan’s self, on cunning’s wings.
No system here, of truth, to man is given;
There my own doctrines speak the voice of heaven;
While God, with smiling eyes, alike surveys
The pagan mysteries, and the christian praise.
Timothy Dwight: The Triumph of Infidelity (1788)
In vain my arm, in vain my sword, I bar’d;
In vain my angels o’er example dar’d,
My priests, high-fed on all the spoils of man,
Outran belief and even my hopes outran;
Hell hop’d, and toil’d in vain: Thro’ all her coast,
A general sigh declar’d her kingdom lost.
Blush, Satan, blush, thou sovereign of mankind,
When, what thy reptile foes, thou call’st to mind.
New fishermen, mechanic worms, anew
The unfolded gospel from my kingdom drew.
From earth’s wide realms, beneath the deluge bare,
As suns reviving bade the spring appear,
So, at their startling voice, from shore to shore,
A moral spring my winter cover’d o’er,
The mind new sprang; rebudding virtue grew,
And trembling nations rose from death anew.
From them roll’d on, to bless this earth’s cold clime,
A brighter season, and more vernal prime,
Where, long by wintry suns denied to rise,
Fair Right and Freedom open’d on the skies,
Virtue, and Truth, and joy, in nobler bloom,
Call’d earth and heaven to taste the sweet perfume,
Pleas’d, to the scene increasing millions ran,
And threaten’d Satan with the loss of man.
These ills to ward I train’d my arts anew;
O’er truths fair form the webs of sophism drew;
Virtue new chill’d, in growing beauties gay,
Wither’d her bloom, and puff’d her sweets away.