VIRTUE presides still over thy delights,
To thee she by the charm of verse invites.
Your study's man, that labyrinth you explore,
Your guide the clue of wisdom's sacred lore.
Ashamed of ignorance, to study man
I strive, myself, my being I would scan;
To satire Pascal and Boileau inclined,
Have dipped their pen in gall and lashed mankind,
Leibnitz and Pope, at once both learned and sage,
Observe a medium in their moral page;
Wisely the latent tracts of man explore,
And to the Deity sublimely soar.
But nature's ways they strove to find in vain,
Man is a riddle man cannot explain;
Upon the subject all their wit have shown,
But still the riddle's sense remains unknown.
By prostitutes, I know, and rakes professed,
The disquisition's treated as a jest.
At supper these loose verses read aloud,
Which charm the sprightly, gay, unthinking crowd.
But study pleases when our mirth is past,
Reason succeeds to witty jests at last.