A thousand knots one stroke combines.
Then forward steps your sage to show,
And prove to you, it must be so;
The first being so, and so the second,
The third and fourth deduc’d we see;
And if there were no first and second,
Nor third nor fourth would ever be.
This, scholars of all countries prize,—
Yet ’mong themselves no weavers rise.
He who would know and treat of aught alive,
Seeks first the living spirit thence to drive:
Then are the lifeless fragments in his hand,
There only fails, alas! the spirit-band.
This process, chemists name, in learned thesis,
Mocking themselves, Naturae encheiresis.
Your words I cannot fully comprehend.
In a short time you will improve, my friend,
When of scholastic forms you learn the use;
And how by method all things to reduce.
So doth all this my brain confound,
As if a mill-wheel there were turning round.
And next, before aught else you learn,
You must with zeal to metaphysics turn!
There see that you profoundly comprehend
What doth the limit of man’s brain transcend;
For that which is or is not in the head
A sounding phrase will serve you in good stead.
But before all strive this half year
From one fix’d order ne’er to swerve!
Five lectures daily you must hear;
The hour still punctually observe!
Yourself with studious zeal prepare,
And closely in your manual look,
Hereby may you be quite aware
That all he utters standeth in the book;
Yet write away without cessation,
As at the Holy Ghost’s dictation!
This, Sir, a second time you need not say!
Your counsel I appreciate quite;
What we possess in black and white
We can in peace and comfort bear away.
A faculty I pray you name.
For jurisprudence some distaste I own.
To me this branch of science is well known,
And hence I cannot your repugnance blame.
Customs and laws in every place,
Like a disease, and heir-loom dread,
Still trail their curse from race to race,
And furtively abroad they spread.
To nonsense, reason’s self they turn;
Beneficence becomes a pest;
Woe unto thee, that thou’rt a grandson born!
As for the law born with us, unexpressed;—
That law, alas, none careth to discern.