To an Astrologer, who by a blunder
Fell in a well, said one, "You addle-head,
Blind half an inch before your nose, I wonder
How you can read the planets overhead."
This small adventure, not to go beyond,
A useful lesson to most men may be;
How few there are at times who are not fond
Of giving reins to their credulity,
Holding that men can read,
In times of need,
The solemn Book of Destiny,
That book, of which old Homer sung,
What was the ancient chance, in common sense,
but modern Providence?
Chance that has always bid defiance
To laws and schemes of human science.
If it were otherwise, a single glance
Would tell us there could be no fortune and no chance.
All things uncertain;
Who can lift the curtain?
Who knows the will of the Supreme?
He who made all, and all with a design;
Who but himself can know them? who can dream
He reads the thoughts of the Divine,
Did God imprint upon the star or cloud
The secrets that the night of Time enshroud,
In darkness hid?—only to rack the brains
Of those who write on what each sphere contains.
To help us shun inevitable woes,
And sadden pleasure long before its close;
Teaching us prematurely to destroy,
And turn to evil every coming joy,
This is an error, nay, it is a crime.
The firmament rolls on, the stars have destined time.
The sun gives light by day,
And drives the shadows of the night away.
Yet what can we deduce but that the will Divine
Bids them rise and bids them shine,
To lure the seasons on, to ripen every seed,
To shed soft influence on men;
What has an ordered universe to do indeed,
With chance, that is beyond our ken.
Horoscope-makers, cheats, and quacks.
On Europe′s princes turn your backs,
And carry with you every bellows-working alchymist:
You are as bad as they, I wist.—
But I am wandering greatly, as I think,
Let′s turn to him whom Fate forced deep to drink.
Besides the vanity of his deceitful art,
He is the type of those who at chimeras gape,
Forgetting danger′s simpler shape,
And troubles that before us and behind us start.