From The Task
By William Cowper
Some write a narrative of wars, and feats
Of heroes little known; and call the rant
An history.… Some drill and bore
The solid earth, and from the strata there
Extract a register, by which we learn
That He who made it, and reveal’d its date
To Moses, was mistaken in its age.
Some, more acute, and more industrious still,
Contrive creation; travel nature up
To the sharp peak of her sublimest height,
And tell us whence the stars; why some are fix’d,
And planetary some; what gave them first
Rotation, from what fountain flow’d their light.
Great contest follows, and much learned dust
Involves the combatants; each claiming truth,
And truth disclaiming both. And thus they spend
The little wick of life’s poor shallow lamp,
In playing tricks with nature, giving laws
To distant worlds, and trifling in their own.