[Page 285]

Democritus and his Neighbours.

Imitated from Fontaine.

1 IN Vulgar Minds what Errors do arise!
2 How diff'ring are the Notions, they possess,
3 From theirs, whom better Sense do's bless,
4 Who justly are enroll'd amongst the Learn'd and Wise!
5 Democritus, whilst he all Science taught,
6 Was by his foolish Neighbours thought
7 Distracted in his Wits;
8 Who call his speculative Flights,
9 His solitary Walks in starry Nights,
10 But wild and frantick Fits.
11 Bless me, each cries, from such a working Brain!
12 And to Hippocrates they send
13 The Sage's long-acquainted Friend,
14 To put in Tune his jarring Mind again,
15 And Pericranium mend.
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16 Away the Skilful Doctor comes
17 Of Recipes and Med'cines full,
18 To check the giddy Whirl of Nature's Fires,
19 If so th' unruly Case requires;
20 Or with his Cobweb-cleansing Brooms
21 To sweep and clear the over-crouded Scull,
22 If settl'd Spirits flag, and make the Patient dull.
23 But asking what the Symptoms were,
24 That made 'em think he was so bad?
25 The Man indeed, they cry'd, is wond'rous Mad.
26 You, at this Distance, may behold him there
27 Beneath that Tree in open Air,
28 Surrounded with the Engines of his Fate,
29 The Gimcracks of a broken Pate.
30 Those Hoops a Sphere he calls,
31 That Ball the Earth;
32 And when into his raving Fit he falls,
33 'Twou'd move at once your Pity, and your Mirth,
34 To hear him, as you will do soon,
35 Declaring, there's a Kingdom in the Moon;
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36 And that each Star, for ought he knows,
37 May some Inhabitants enclose:
38 Philosophers, he says, may there abound,
39 Such Jugglers as himself be in them found;
40 Which if there be, the World may well turn round;
41 At least to those, whose Whimsies are so strange,
42 That, whilst they're fixt to one peculiar Place,
43 Pretend to measure far extended Space,
44 And 'mongst the Planets range.
45 Behold him now contemplating that Head,
46 From which long-since both Flesh, and Brains are fled;
47 Questioning, if that empty, hollow Bowl
48 Did not ere while contain the Human Soul:
49 Then starts a Doubt, if 'twere not to the Heart
50 That Nature rather did that Gift impart.
51 Good Sir, employ the utmost of your Skill,
52 To make him Wiser, tho' against his Will;
53 Who thinks, that he already All exceeds,
54 And laughs at our most solemn Words and Deeds:
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55 Tho' once amongst us he wou'd try a Cause,
56 And Bus'ness of the Town discuss,
57 Knowing, as well as one of us,
58 The Price of Corn, and standing Market-Laws;
59 Wou'd bear an Office in his Turn,
60 For which good Purposes all Men were born;
61 Not to be making Circles in the Sand,
62 And scaling Heav'n, till they have sold their Land.
63 Or, when unstock'd below their Pasture lies,
64 To find out Bulls and Rams, amidst the Skies.
65 From these Mistakes his Madness we conclude;
66 And hearing, you was with much Skill endu'd,
67 Your Aid we sought. Hippocrates amaz'd,
68 Now on the Sage, now on the Rabble gaz'd;
69 And whilst he needless finds his artful Rules,
70 Pities a Man of Sense, judg'd by a Croud of Fools
71 Then how can we with their Opinions join,
72 Who, to promote some Int'rest, wou'd define
73 The Peoples Voice to be the Voice Divine?


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): Democritus and his Neighbours. Imitated from Fontaine.
Genres: imitation; translation

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Source edition

Miscellany poems, on several occasions: Written by the Right Honble Anne, Countess of Winchilsea. London: printed for J. B. and sold by Benj. Tooke, William Taylor, and James Round, 1713, pp. 285-288. [8],390p. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T94539; Foxon pp. 274-5; OTA K076314.000)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.

Other works by Anne Finch (née Kingsmill), countess of Winchilsea