"Yet Wit, and Wisdom, Folly's shame to shun, / Will say 'tis heavenly Moonshine, not the Sun-- / Not suffer Pride to praise its feeble glow, / Beyond Heav'n's brighter beams which blaze below; / But like a Lamp, or Candle, keep its place, / To light Man's Mind with Truths of terrene Race."
— Woodhouse, James (bap. 1735, d. 1820)
'Tis but the Wisdom, still, of mortal Man;
And Theory, or Scheme, must, first, be form'd,
When apt Imagination's pow'rs are warm'd,
While every Object's lineaments are made
By teeming Fancy's prompt, and plastic, aid.
Tho' deep it pry, and diligently plod,
It ne'er can fully grasp one Work of God!
Tho' it can pierce the Earth, and plumb the Sky,
Its views ne'er can with vast Omniscience vie!
Its temporal task with heav'nly help ne'er fill,
Much less conceive, or compass all Heav'n's Will!
Can simply scan the Things of Time and Sense;
Not span the Scheme of Christ's pure Providence!
'Tis amply competent to trace the Clue,
Tho' mixt, in what fall'n Man may say, or do;
But ne'er develop all the Plan design'd
Can mark by His communicated Light,
In all Acts--Words--and Thoughts, what's wrong, and right,
Nor ought to Falshood, Flattery, Fashion, stoop,
Tho' countenanc'd by learn'd, or courtly, Troop.
Thus while it keeps alive Heav'n's kindled spark,
Fools only deem, 'tis absolutely dark!
Yet Wit, and Wisdom, Folly's shame to shun,
Will say 'tis heavenly Moonshine, not the Sun--
Not suffer Pride to praise its feeble glow,
Beyond Heav'n's brighter beams which blaze below;
But like a Lamp, or Candle, keep its place,
To light Man's Mind with Truths of terrene Race.
It ne'er could thus discover Things like those
Which Revelation's clearer Lights disclose.
It never can create, by innate act,
One single Feeling, or one simple Fact--
Nor dive thro' depths of Providence, to plumb,
Or impiously pronounce on Things to come.
The Gift was granted, that Man might compare,
The chords, or discords, of those Things that are--
The fitness, or unfitness, fully clear,
Text from The Life and Poetical Works of James Woodhouse, ed. R. I. Woodhouse, 2 vols. (London: The Leadenhall Press, 1896). <Link to Hathi Trust> <Link to LION>