Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Jacobean Poetry
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Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of King James the First.  1847.
 
The End of Learning
LI. George Chapman
 
THIS is learning;—to have skill to throw
Reins on your bodie’s powers that nothing knowe,
And fill the soule’s powers so with act and art
That she can curbe the bodie’s angrie part;
All perturbations, all effects that stray        5
From their one object, which is to obey
Her soveraigne empire; as herselfe should force
Their functions only, to serve her discourse;
And that, to beat the streight path of one ende,
Which is—to make her substance still contend        10
To be God’s image, in informing it
With knowledge, holy thoughts, and all forms fit
For that eternitie ye seeke in way
Of his sole imitation, and to sway
Your life’s love too, that He may still be center        15
To all your pleasures; and you (here) may enter
The next life’s peace, in governing so well
Your sensual parts, that you as free may dwell
Of vulgare raptures here as when calme death
Dissolves that learned empire with your breath.        20
  To teach and live thus, is the only use
And end of learning. Skill, that doth produce
But tearmes and tongues, and parroting of arte,
Without that powre to rule the errant part,
Is that which some call learned ignorance,        25
A serious trifle, error in a trance;
And let a scholar all earthy volumes carrie,
He will be but a walking dictionarie,—
A mere articulate clocke, that doth but speake
By other’s arts.        30
  So that as travaylers seeke their peace through storms,
In passing many sees for many forms
Of forraigne government, indure the paine
Of many faces seeing, and the gaine
That strangers make of their strange loving humors,        35
Learn tongues, keep note-books, all to feed the tumors
Of vaine discourse at home, or serve the course
Of state employment, never having force
T’employ themselves; but idle compliments
Must pay their pains, costs, slaveries, all their rents,        40
And, though they many men know, get few friends.
So covetous readers, setting many ends
To their much skill to talke, studiers of phrase,
Shifters in art, to flutter in the blaze
Of ignorant count’nance; to obtain degrees,        45
And lye in learning’s bottome, like the lees;
To be accounted deepe by shallow men,
And carve all language in one glorious pen,
May have much fame for learning; but th’ effect
Proper to perfect learning, to direct        50
Reason in such an art, as that it can
Turn blood to soule, and make both one calme man.
So making peace with God, doth differ farre
From clerkes that goe with God and man to warre.
 
 
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