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But what strange art, what magic can dispose
The troubled mind to change its native woes ?
Or lead us willing from ourselves to see
Others more wretched, more undone than we?
This books can do—nor this alone ; they give
New views to life, and teach us how to live ;
They soothe the griev'd, the stubborn they chastise,
Fools they admonish, and confirm the wife.
Their aid they yield to all; they never shun
The man of sorrow, nor the wretch undone :
Unlike the hard, the selfish, and the proud,
They fly not fullen from the suppliant crowd;
Nor tell to various people various things,
But shew to subjects what they shew to kings.
Come then, and entering view this spacious scene,
This sacred dome, this noble magazine ;
Where mental wealth the poor in thought may find,
And mental physic the diseas'd in mind.
See here the balms that passion's wounds assuage,
See coolers here, that damp the fire of
Here alt’ratives by slow degrees controul
The chronic habits of the fickly foul ;
And round the heart, and o'er the aching head,
Mild opiates here their fober influence shed.
In this selection, which the human mind
With care has made, for glory has design'd,
All should be perfect ; or at least appear
From falsehood, vanity, and passion clear:
But man's best efforts taste of man, and show
and troubled source from whence they flow, His very triumphs his defeats must speak, And ev'n his wisdom ferves to prove him weak. 6
Fashion, though Folly's child, and guide of fools,
Rules e'en the wiseft, and in learning rules ;
From courts and crowds to Wisdom's seat she
And reigns triumphant o'er her mother's foes.
Yon folios, once the darlings of the mode,
Now lie neglected like the birth-day ode ;
There learning, stuff?d with maxims trite tho’ sage,
Makes indigestion yawn at every page :
Chain'd like Prometheus, lo! the mighty train
Brave Time's fell tooth, and live and die again;
And now the scorn of men, and now the pride,
The fires respect them, and the fons deride.
ON THE ARRANGEMENT OF THE BOOKS.
These are the lasting mansions of the dead ;
The dead ! methinks a thousand tongues reply,
These are the tombs of those who cannot die :
Crown'd with eternal fame, they fit fublime,
And laugh at all the little strife of time.
Hail, then, Immortals ! ye who shine above,
Each in his sphere the literary Jove ;
ye the common people of these kies,
An humbler crowd of nameless deities;
Whether 'tis yours to lead the willing mind
Through History's mazes, and the turnings find;
Or whether, led by Science, ye retire,
Loft and bewilder'd in the vast desire :
Whether the Muse invites you to her bowers,
And crowns your placid brows with living flowers;
Or godlike Wisdom teaches you to show
The noblest road to happinefs below;
Or men and manners prompt the easy page
To mark the flying follies of the age :-
Whatever good ye boalt, that good impart,
Inform the head, and rectify the heart.
Lo! all in silence, all in order stand,
And mighty Folios first, a lordly band;
Then Quartos their well-order'd ranks maintain,
And light Octavos fill a spacious plain :
See yonder, rang’d in more frequented rows,
An humbler band of Duodecimos;
While undistinguish'd trifles (well the scene,
The last new play, and fritter'd magazine.
Thus 'tis in life, where first the proud, the great,
In leagued assembly keep their cumbrous state ;
Heavy and huge, they fill the world with dread,
Are much admir'd, and are but little read :
The commons next, a middle rank are found;
Profeffions fruitful pour their offspring round;
Wits, bards, and idlers, fill a tatter'd row,
And the vile vulgar lie disdain'd below.
Amid these works, on which the eager eye
Delights to fix, or glides reluctant by,
Where all combin’d their decent pomp display,
Where shall we firt our early offering pay?
To thee, Philosophy! to thee, the light,
The guide of mortals through their mental night;
By whom the world in all its views is shown,
Our guide through Nature's works, and in our ovin ;
Who place in order Being's wondrous chain,
Save where those puzzling, stubborn links remain,
By art divine involv’d, which man can ne'er explain..
Next History ranks. There full in front she lies,
And every nation her dread tale fupplies ;
Yet History has her doubts, and every age
With sceptic queries marks the passing page :
Records of old nor later datę are clear,
Too diftant those, and these are plac'd too near ;
There time conceals the objects from our view,
Here our own passions, and a writer's too.
Yet in these volumes see how states arose,
Guarded by virtue from surrounding foes !
Their virtue loft, and of their triumphs vain,
Lo! how they funk to flavery again!
Satiate with power, of fame and wealth possess'd,
A nation grows too glorious to be bleft ;
Conspicuous made, she ftands the mark of all,
And foes join foes to triumph in her fall.
Thus speaks the page that paints Ambition's race,
The monarch's pride, his glory, his disgrace ;
The headlong course that madd’ning heroes run,
How soon triumphant, and how foon undone;
How slaves, turn'd tyrants, offer crowns to fale,
And each fall'n nation's melancholy tale.
Lo! where of late the Book of Martyrs stood,
Old pious tracts, and Bibles bound in wood,
There, such the taste of our degenerate age,
Stand the profane delusions of the Stage.
Yet Virtue owns the Tragic Muse a friend,
Fable her means, morality her end ;
For this she rules all paflions in their turns,
And now the bosom bleeds, and now it burns ;
Pity with weeping eye surveys her bowl,
Her anger swells, her terror chills the soul ;
She makes the vile to Virtue yield applause,
And own her sceptre, while they break her laws :
For Vice in others is abhorr'd of all,
And villains glory in a villain's fall.
Not thus her fifter Comedy prevails,
Who shoots at Folly, for her arrow fails ;
Folly, by dulness arm’d, receives no wound,
But harmless fees the feather'd shafts rebounda
Unhurt she stands, applauds the archer's skill,
Laughs at her malice, and is Folly ftil.
Yet well she paints in her descriptive scenes,
What pride will stoop to, what profession meane 6
How formal fools the farce of state applaud,
How caution watches at the lips of fraud;
The wordy variance of domestic life,
The tyrant husband, the retorting wife;
The snares for innocence, the lie of trade,
And the smooth tongue's habitual masquerade,
With her the virtues too obtain a place,
Each gentle paffion, each becoming grace ;
The focial joy in life's securer road,
Its easy pleafure, its subftantial good;
The happy thought that conscious virtue gives,
And all that ought to live, and all that lives.