John Wilmot

Here you will find the Long Poem Satyr of poet John Wilmot


Were I (who to my cost already am 
One of those strange prodigious Creatures Man) 
A Spirit free, to choose for my own share, 
What Case of Flesh, and Blood, I pleas'd to weare, 
I'd be a Dog, a Monkey, or a Bear, 
Or any thing but that vain Animal, 
Who is so proud of being rational. 
The senses are too gross, and he'll contrive 
A Sixth, to contradict the other Five; 
And before certain instinct, will preferr 
Reason, which Fifty times for one does err. 
Reason, an Ignis fatuus, in the Mind, 
Which leaving light of Nature, sense behind; 
Pathless and dang'rous wandring ways it takes, 
Through errors Fenny -- Boggs, and Thorny Brakes; 
Whilst the misguided follower, climbs with pain, 
Mountains of Whimseys, heap'd in his own Brain: 
Stumbling from thought to thought, falls headlong down, 
Into doubts boundless Sea, where like to drown, 
Books bear him up awhile, and make him try, 
To swim with Bladders of Philosophy; 
In hopes still t'oretake th'escaping light, 
The Vapour dances in his dazling sight, 
Till spent, it leaves him to eternal Night. 
Then Old Age, and experience, hand in hand, 
Lead him to death, and make him understand, 
After a search so painful, and so long, 
That all his Life he has been in the wrong; 
Hudled in dirt, the reas'ning Engine lyes, 
Who was so proud, so witty, and so wise. 
Pride drew him in, as Cheats, their Bubbles catch, 
And makes him venture, to be made a Wretch. 
His wisdom did his happiness destroy, 
Aiming to know that World he shou'd enjoy; 
And Wit, was his vain frivolous pretence, 
Of pleasing others, at his own expence. 
For Witts are treated just like common Whores, 
First they're enjoy'd, and then kickt out of Doores: 
The pleasure past, a threatning doubt remains, 
That frights th'enjoyer, with succeeding pains: 
Women and Men of Wit, are dang'rous Tools, 
And ever fatal to admiring Fools. 
Pleasure allures, and when the Fopps escape, 
'Tis not that they're belov'd, but fortunate, 
And therefore what they fear, at heart they hate. 
But now methinks some formal Band, and Beard, 
Takes me to task, come on Sir I'm prepar'd. 
Then by your favour, any thing that's writ 
Against this gibeing jingling knack call'd Wit, 
Likes me abundantly, but you take care, 
Upon this point, not to be too severe. 
Perhaps my Muse, were fitter for this part, 
For I profess, I can be very smart 
On Wit, which I abhor with all my heart: 
I long to lash it in some sharp Essay, 
But your grand indiscretion bids me stay, 
And turns my Tide of Ink another way. 
What rage ferments in your degen'rate mind, 
To make you rail at Reason, and Mankind? 
Blest glorious Man! to whom alone kind Heav'n, 
An everlasting Soul has freely giv'n; 
Whom his great Maker took such care to make, 
That from himself he did the Image take; 
And this fair frame, in shining Reason drest, 
To dignifie his Nature, above Beast. 
Reason, by whose aspiring influence, 
We take a flight beyond material sense, 
Dive into Mysteries, then soaring pierce, 
The flaming limits of the Universe, 
Search Heav'n and Hell, find out what's acted there, 
And give the World true grounds of hope and fear. 
Hold mighty Man, I cry, all this we know, 
From the Pathetique Pen of Ingello; 
From Patricks Pilgrim, Stilling fleets replyes, 
And 'tis this very reason I despise. 
This supernatural gift, that makes a Myte -- , 
Think he's the Image of the Infinite: 
Comparing his short life, void of all rest, 
To the Eternal, and the ever blest. 
This busie, puzling, stirrer up of doubt, 
That frames deep Mysteries, then finds 'em out; 
Filling with Frantick Crowds of thinking Fools, 
Those Reverend Bedlams, Colledges, and Schools; 
Borne on whose Wings, each heavy Sot can pierce, 
The limits of the boundless Universe. 
So charming Oyntments, make an Old Witch flie, 
And bear a Crippled Carcass through the Skie. 
'Tis this exalted Pow'r, whose bus'ness lies, 
In Nonsense, and impossibilities. 
This made a Whimsical Philosopher, 
Before the spacious World, his Tub prefer, 
And we have modern Cloysterd Coxcombs, who 
Retire to think, cause they have naught to do. 
But thoughts, are giv'n, for Actions government, 
Where Action ceases, thoughts impertinent: 
Our Sphere of Action, is lifes happiness, 
And he who thinks Beyond, thinks like an Ass. 
Thus, whilst against false reas'ning I inveigh, 
I own right Reason, which I wou'd obey: 
That Reason that distinguishes by sense, 
And gives us Rules, of good, and ill from thence: 
That bounds desires, with a reforming Will, 
To keep 'em more in vigour, not to kill. 
Your Reason hinders, mine helps t'enjoy, 
Renewing Appetites, yours wou'd destroy. 
My Reason is my Friend, yours is a Cheat,