Page images


Then, like her injured Lion, let me speak;
He cannot bend her, and he would not break.
Unkind already, and estranged in part,
The Wolf begins to share her wandering heart.
Though unpolluted yet with actual ill,
She half commits who sins but in her will.
If, as our dreaming platonists report,
There could be spirits of a middle sort,
Too black for heaven, and yet too white for hell,
Who just dropt half-way down, nor lower fell;
So poised, so gently she descends from high,
It seems a soft dismission from the sky.
Her house not ancient, whatsoe'er pretence
Her clergy-heralds make in her defence;
A second century not half-way run,
Since the new honours of her blood begun.
A lion, old, obscene, and furious made
By lust, compressed her mother in a shade ;
Then, by a left-hand marriage, weds the dame,
Covering adultery with a specious name; †
So schism begot; and sacrilege and she,
A well matched pair, got graceless heresy.
God's and kings' rebels have the same good cause,
To trample down divine and human laws;

Our author recollected his own Philidel in “ King Arthur :"

An airy shape, the tenderest of my kind,
The last seduced and least deforned of hell;
Half-white, and shuffled in the crowd I fell,
Desirous to repent and loath to sin,
Awkward in mischief, piteous of mankind;
My name is Philidel, my lot in air,
Where, next beneath the moon, and nearest heaven,
I soar, I have a glimpse to be received.

Vol. VIII. p. 135. + Henry the Eighth's passion for Anna Bullen led the way to the Reformation.


Both would be called reformers, and their hate
Alike destructive both to church and state.
The fruit proclaims the plant; a lawless prince
By luxury reformed incontinence;
By, ruins, charity; by riots, abstinence.
Confessions, fasts, and penance set aside,
Oh with what ease we follow such a guide,
Where souls are starved, and senses gratified !
Where marriage-pleasures midnight prayer supply,
And mattin bells, a melancholy cry,
Are tuned to merrier notes, Increase and mul,

tiply. t
Religion shews a rosy-coloured face;
Not hattered fout with drudging works of grace;
A down-hill reformation rolls apace.
What flesh and blood would crowd the narrow gate,
Or, till they waste their pampered paunches, wait?
All would be happy at the cheapest rate.

Though our lean faith these rigid laws has given, The full-fed Musselman goes fat to heaven; For his Arabian prophet with delights Of sense allured his eastern proselytes. The jolly Luther, reading him, began To interpret scriptures by his alcoran; To grub the thorns beneath our tender feet, And make the paths of paradise more sweet, Bethought him of a wife, ere half way gone, For 'twas uneasy travelling alone; And, in this masquerade of mirth and love, Mistook the bliss of heaven for Bacchanals above. Sure he presumed of praise, who came to stock The etherial pastures with so fair a flock, Burnished, and battening on their food, to show

+ The marriage of the clergy, licensed by the Reformation.

Worn out, or become hagard.

[ocr errors]

Their diligence of careful herds below. *
Our Panther, though like these she changed her

Yet, as the mistress of a monarch's bed, t
Her front erect with majesty she bore,
The crosier wielded, and the mitre wore.
Her upper part of decent discipline
Shewed affectation of an ancient line;
And fathers, councils, church and churches head,
Were on her reverend phylacteries $ read.
But what disgraced and disavowed the rest,
Was Calvin's brand, that stigmatized the beast.
Thus, like a creature of a double kind,
In her own labyrinth she lives confined;
To foreigu lands no sound of her is come,
Humbly content to be despised at home.
Such is her faith, where good cannot be had,
At least she leaves the refuse of the bad :
Nice in her choice of ill, though not of best,
And least deformed, because reformed the least.
In doubtful points betwixt her differing friends,
Where one for substance, one for sign contends,

1 1

A Popish advocate, in the controversy with Tennison, tells us exultingly, “ That Martin Luther himself, Dr T's excellent instrument, after he had eat a feasting supper, and drank lutheranice, as the German proverb has it, was called into another world at two o'clock in the night, February 18, 1546.” This was one of the reasons why his adversaries alleged, that Martin Luther set sail for hell in the manner described by Sterne, in his tale from Slawkenbergius.

+ The king being owned the head of the church of England, contrary to the doctrine of the other reformed churches.

Phylacteries are little scrolls of parchment worn by the Jews on their foreheads and wrists, inscribed with sentences from the law. They are supposed, as is expressed by the phrase in the original, to have the virtue of preserving the wearer from danger and evil.


Their contradicting terms she strives to join ;*
Sign shall be substance, substance shall be sign.
A real presence all her sons allow,
And yet ’tis flat idolatry to bow,
Because the god-head's there they know not how.
Her novices are taught, that bread and wine
Are but the visible and outward sign,
Received by those who in communion join ;
But the inward grace, or the thing signified,
His blood and body, who to save us died, †
The faithful this thing signified receive:
What is't those faithful then partake or leave?
For, what is signified and understood,
Is, by her own confession, flesh and blood.
Then, by the same acknowledgment, we know
They take the sign, and take the substance too.
The literal sense is hard to flesh and blood,
But nonsense never can be understood.

Her wild belief on every wave is tost;
But sure no church can better morals boast.
True to her king her principles are found ;
Oh that her practice were but half so sound ! $
Stedfast in various turns of state she stood,
And sealed her vowed affection with her blood : S

* The Lutherans adopt the doctrine of consubstantiation ; that is to say, they believe, that, though the elements are not changed into the body and blood of Christ by consecration, which is the Roman faith, yet the participants, at the moment of communicating, do actually receive the real body and blood. The Calvinists utterly deny the real presence in the eucharist, and affirm, that the words of Christ were only symbolical. The church of England announces a doctrine somewhat between these. See Note XI.

+ Note X1. 1 Note XII.

Alluding to the fate of the church and monarchy of England, which fell together in the great rebellion. See Note XI.

Nor will I meanly tax her constancy,
That interest or obligement made the tye,
Bound to the fate of murdered monarchy.
Before the sounding axe so falls the vine,
Whose tender branches round the poplar twine.
She chose her ruin, and resigned her life,
In death undaunted as an Indian wife :
A rare example! but some souls we see
Grow hard, and stiffen with adversity:
Yet these by fortune's favours are undone;
Resolved, * into a baser form they run,
And bore the wind, but cannot bear the sun.
Let this be nature's frailty, or her fate,
Or Isgrim's counsel, her new-chosen mate,
Still she's the fairest of the fallen crew;
No mother more indulgent, but the true.

Fierce to her foes, yet fears her force to try,
Because she wants innate authority;
For how can she constrain them to obey,
Who has herself cast off the lawful sway?
Rebellion equals all, and those, who toil
In common theft, will share the common spoil.
Let her produce the title and the right,
Against her old superiors first to fight;
If she reform by text, even that's as plain
For her own rebels to reform again.
As long as words a different sense will bear,
And each may be his own interpreter,
Our airy faith will no foundation find,
The word's a weathercock for every wind:
The bear, the fox, the wolf, by turns prevail ;
The most in power supplies the present gale.
The wretched Panther cries aloud for aid
To church and councils, whom she first betrayed ;

* Resolved, i. e. dissolved.
+ The Wolf, or Presbytery.---See note XIII.

« PreviousContinue »