A Discourse of Man’s Pride, or Seeming Prerogative

What creature’s2 in the world, besides mankind,
That can such arts and new inventions find?
Or has such fancies3 as to similize,
Or can so rule and4 govern as the wise?
Or that can by his wit5 his mind indite,                                      5
Can6 numbers set, and subtle letters write?7
What creature else but man can speak true sense?8
At distance give, and take intelligence?
What creature else, by reason can abate
All passions, can raise9 doubts, hopes, love, and hate?           10
And can so many countenances show,10
Which11 are the ground by which affections grow?12
They’re several dresses which the mind puts on;
Some serve as veils, which over it are13 thrown.
What creature is’t, that has14 such piercing eyes,                    15
That mingles souls, and in fast friendship ties?15
What creature else but man has16 such delights,
So various, and such strong, odd appetites?
Man can distill, and is a chymist rare,
Divides and sep’rates17 water, fire, and air.                              20
He can divide, and doth asunder take,18
All Nature’s works, whatever she doth make,19
Can take the breadth, depth, length, and height20 of things,
And know the virtue of each plant21 that springs,
Make22 creatures all submit unto his will,                                 25
And live by fame,23 though death his body kill.
What else but man can Nature imitate,
With pen and pencil24 can new worlds create?
There’s none like man, for like the25 gods is he.
Then let the world his slave and vassal be.                               30

  1. Man’s Pride, or Seeming Prerogative] Pride. 1653
  2. creature’s] Creature 1653
  3. has such fancies] hath such Fancy, 1653
  4. can so rule and] that can rule, or 1653
  5. Or that can by his wit] And by his Wit he can 1653
  6. Can] As 1653
  7. write?] write. 1653
  8. sense?] Sense, 1664, 1668
  9. can raise] raise 1653
  10. show,] shew? 1653
  11. Which] They 1653
  12. grow?] grow. 1653
  13. are] is 1653
  14. is’t, that has] is there hath 1653; is, that has 1664
  15. in fast friendship ties?] a fast Friend-ship tyes? 1653
  16. has] hath 1653
  17. sep’rates] separates, 1653
  18. He can divide, and doth asunder take,] Thus can hee divide, and separate 1653
  19. works, whatever she doth make,] work, what ere she made: 1653
  20. depth, length, and height] and Heighth 1653
  21. And know the virtue of each plant] Or know the Vertue of all Plants 1653
  22. Make] Makes 1653
  23. And live by fame,] Makes Fame to live, 1653
  24. pen and pencil] th’Pen and Pencil 1664; th’ Pen and Pencil, 1668
  25. the] to 1653