Europa’s Putrid Courts

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)


Hell’s Black Colours Rise

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)

Withered Her Bloom, Puffed Her Sweets

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.

Timothy Dwight: The Triumph of Infidelity (1788)

Abandoned Fanes, Goths and Huns

What wasted years, with angry voice he cries,
I wage vain wars with yonder hated skies?
Still, as I walk th’ unmeasur’d round of things,
From deepest ill what good perpetual springs;
What order shines, where blest confusion lay,
And from the night of death, what splendid day?
How near me seem’d, ere Bethlehem’s wonder rose,
The final victory o’er my struggling foes;
All nations won to ignorance, and sin,
Without the Gentile, and the Jew within?
How near, when cross’d, he met th’ accursed doom,
Or lay, extinguish’d in the mortal tomb?
Yet then, even whilst I felt my pinions rise
Above the arches of a thousand skies,
Even then, deep plunged beneath the lowest hell,
As erst when hurl’d from heav’n, my kingdom fell,
And oh, by what foul means! An angel I,
A god, the rival of yon haughty sky!
They the last sweepings of the clay-born kind,
The dunghill’s offspring, and the reptile’s mind.
Yet their creating voice, with startling sound,
From death and darkness wak’d the world’s wide round;
Before it crumbled, mid my groans and tears,
The Pagan fabric of a thousand years;
The spells, the rites, the pomp, the victims fled,
The fanes all desert, and the lares dead.
In vain fierce persecution hedg’d their way;
In vain dread power’s huge weight incumbent lay;
As sand-built domes dissolve before the stream,
As visions fleet upon th’ awakening beam,
The structure fled; while hell was rack’d to save,
And all my heaven-bright glories sought the grave.
Amaz’d, awhile, I saw the ruin spread,
My hopes, my efforts, with my kingdom, dead.
But soon I bade the floods of vengeance roll,
Soon rous’d anew my mightiness of soul,
With arts my own, th’ opposer’s power withstood,
And reign’d once more the universal God;
Mine, by all poisoning wealth, his sons I made,
And Satan preached, while proud Messiah fled.
Surpriz’d, enrag’d, to see his wiles outdone,
His power all vanquish’d, and his kingdom gone,
From the stern North, he hail’d my darling host,
A whelming ocean, spread to every coast;
My Goths, my Huns, the cultur’d world o’er-ran,
And darkness buried all the pride of man.
On dozing realms he pour’d his vengeance dread,
On putrid bishops, and on priests half dead,
Blotted, at one great stroke, the work he drew,
And saw his gospel bid mankind adieu.
The happy hour I seiz’d; the world my own:
Full in his church I fix’d my glorious throne;
Thrice crown’d, I sate a God, and more than God;
Bade all earth’s nations shiver at my nod;
Dispens’d to men the code of Satan’ laws,
And made my priests the columns of my cause.
In their bless’d hands the gospel I conceal’d,
And new-found doctrines, in it’s stead, reveal’d;
Of gloomy visions drew a fearful round,
Names of dire look, and words of killing sound,
Where, meaning lost, terrific doctrines lay,
Maz’d the dim soul, and frighten’d truth away;
Where noise for truth, for virtue pomp was given,
Myself the God promulg’d, and hell the heaven.

Timothy Dwight: The Triumph of Infidelity (1788)