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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

The Triumph of Dullness

By Alexander Pope (1688–1744)

Closing Lines of the ‘Dunciad

IN vain, in vain,—the all-composing hour

Resistless falls; the Muse obeys the power.

She comes! she comes! the sable throne behold

Of Night primeval, and of Chaos old!

Before her Fancy’s gilded clouds decay,

And all its varying rainbows die away.

Wit shoots in vain its momentary fires,

The meteor drops, and in a flash expires.

As one by one, at dread Medea’s strain,

The sickening stars fade off th’ ethereal plain;

As Argus’s eyes, by Hermes’s wand opprest,

Closed one by one to everlasting rest:

Thus at her felt approach, and secret might,

Art after Art goes out, and all is night.

See skulking Truth to her old cavern fled,

Mountains of casuistry heaped o’er her head!

Philosophy, that leaned on Heaven before,

Shrinks to her second cause, and is no more.

Physic of Metaphysic begs defense,

And Metaphysic calls for aid on Sense!

See Mystery to Mathematics fly!

In vain! they gaze, turn giddy, rave, and die.

Religion, blushing, veils her sacred fires,

And unawares Morality expires.

Nor public flame, nor private, dares to shine;

Nor human spark is left, nor glimpse divine!

Lo! thy dread empire, Chaos! is restored;

Light dies before thy uncreating word:

Thy hand, great Anarch! lets the curtain fall;

And universal darkness buries all.