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The pencil then did growing fame acquire,
Then was the trumpet heard, and tuneful lyre,
One did the triumph sing, and one the war inspire.

Greece did at length a learned race produce,
Who needful science mock'd, and arts of use,
Consum'd their fruitless hours in

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Of airy notions, through the boundless space
Of speculation, and the darksome void,
Where wrangling wits, in endless strife employ’d,
Mankind with idle subtilties embroil,
And fashion systems with romantic toil ;
These with the pride of dogmatizing schools
Impos’d on nature arbitrary rules ;
Forc'd her their vain inventions to obey,
And move as learned frenzy trac'd the way :
Above the clouds while they presum'd to soar, 45
Her track less heights ambitious explore,
And heaps of undigested volumes writ,
Illusive notions of fantastic wit ;
So long they nature search’d, and mark'd her laws,
They lost the knowledge of th' Almighty Cause.

Th’erroneous dictates of each Grecian fage
Renounc'd the doctrines of the eldest age:
Yet these their matchless science did proclaim,
Usurp distinction, and appropriate fame.

But though their schools produc'd no nobler fruit 55
Than empty schemes, and triumphs of dispute ;
The notions which arise from Nature's light
As well adorn the mind, as guide her right,
Enlarge her compass, and improve her fight.

There

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These ne'er the breast with vain ambition fire, 60
But banish pride, and modest thoughts inspire.
By her inform’d, we bleft religion learn,
Its glorious object by her aid discern;
The rolling worlds around us we survev,
Th’alternate fovereigns of the night and day ;
View the wide earth adorn’d with hills and woods,
Rich in her herds, and fertile by her floods ;
Walk through the deep apartments of the main,
Ascend the air to visit clouds and rain ;
And, while we ravith'd gaze on Nature's face,
Remark her order, and her motions trace.
The long coherent chain of things we find
Leads to a Cause Supreme, a wise Creating Mind.

You, who the being of a God disclaim,
And think inere Chance produc'd this wondrous frame ;
Say, did you e’er reflect, Lucretian tribe,
To matter what perfections you ascribe ?
Can you to dust such reneration show?
An atom with such privilege endow,
That from its nature's pure necessity

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It should exist, and no corruption see?
Since
your

first atoms independent are,
And not each other's being prop and bear,
And since to this it is fortuitous
That others thould existence have ; suppose
You in your mind one atoin should remove
From all the troops, that in the vacant strove,
Cannot our thought conceive one atom less ?
If so, you Grecian sages inust confess
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That matter, which you independent name,

90 Cannot a being necessary claim ; For what has being from neceffity, It is impossible it should not be.

Why has an atom this one place posseft Of all the empty void, and not the rest?

95 If by its nature's force 'tis present here, By the same force it must be every where ; Can beings be confin'd, which necessary are ? If a first body may to any place Be not determin’d, in the boundless space, 'Tis plain, it then may absent be from all ; Who then will this a felf-existence call ? As time does vast eternity regard, So place is with infinitude compar'd: A being then, which never did commence, 105 Muit, as eternal, likewise be inimense. What cause within, or what without, is found, That can a being uncreated bound? None that 's internal, for it has no cause; Nor can it be control'd by foreign laws, For then it clearly would dependent be On force superior, which will ne'er agree With self-existence and necellity. Absurdly then to atoms you allign Such powers, and such prerogatives divine.

115 Thus while the notion of a God you flight, Yourselves (who vainly think you

reason right) Make vile material Gods, in number infinite,

Now let us, as 'tis just, in turn prepare To stand the foe, and wage defensive war.

Lucretius

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Lucretius first, a mighty hero, fprings
Into the field, and his own triumph fings.
He brings, to make us from our ground retire,
The reasoner's weapons, and the poet's fire.
The tuneful fophift thus his battle forms,
Our bulwarks thus in polish'd armour storms :

To parent matter things their being owe,
Because from nothing no productions flow j
And, if we grant no pre-existent feed,
Things, different things, from what they do, might

breed, And any thing from any thing proceed ; The spicy groves might Scythia's hills adorn, The thistle might the amaranth have borne, The vine the lemon, and the grape the thorns Herds from the hills, men from the seas might rise, 135 From woods the whales, and lions from the fkies. Th'elated bard here, with a conqueror's air, Disdainful siniles, and bids his foes despair. But, Carus, here you use poetic charms, And not affail us with the reasoner's arms. Where all is clear, you fancy'd doubts remove, And what we grant with ease, with labour

prove. What you

would

prove, but cannot, you decline; But chuse a thing you can, and there

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Thine. Tell us, fam'd Roman, was it e'er denied, 145 That seeds for such productions are supplied ? That Nature always must materials find For beasts and trees, to propagate their kind ? All generation, the rude peasant knows, A pre-existent matter must suppose.

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But what to Nature first her being gave ?
Tell, whence your atoms their existence have ?
We ask you, whence the seeds constituent spring
Of every plant, and every living thing ?
Whence every creature should produce its kind,

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And to its proper species be confin'd?
To answer this, Lucretius, will require
More than sweet numbers and poetic fire.

But see how well the Poet will support His cause, if we the argument retort.

160 If Chance alone could manage, sort, divide, And, beings to produce, your atoms guide; If casual concourse did the world compose, And things from hits fortuitous arose; Then any thing night come from any thing; 165 For how from chance can constant order spring ? The forest oak might bear the blushing rose, And fragrant myrtles thrive in Ruflian snows; The fair pomegranate might adorn the pine, The grape the bramble, and the soe the vine ;

170 Fish from the plains, birds from the floods might rise, And lowing herds break from the starry skies.

But, see, the chief does keener weapons chuse, Advances bold, and thus the fight renews :

“ If I were doubtful of the source and spring 175 " Whence things arise, I from the skies could bring, “ And every part of Nature, proofs, to show • The world to Gods cannot its being owe; “ So full of faults is all th’unartful frame : « First we the air's unpeopled desert blame.

180 * Brute

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