Why did my parents send me to the Schools,
That I with knowledge might enrich my mind?
Since the desire to know first made men fools,
And did corrupt the root of all mankind:
Even so by tasting of that fruit forbid,
Where they sought knowledge, they did error find;
Ill they desir’d to know, and ill they did;
And to give Passion eyes, made Reason blind.
For then their minds did first in Passion see
Those wretched shapes of misery and woe,
Of nakedness, of shame, of poverty,
Which then their own experience made them know.
But then grew Reason dark, that she no more,
Could the faire forms of Good and Truth discern;
Bats they became, that eagles were before:
And this they got by their desire to learn.
All things without, which round about we see,
We seek to know, and how therewith to do:
But that whereby we reason, live and be,
Within our selves, we strangers are thereto.
We seek to know the moving of each sphere,
And the strange cause of th’ebs and floods of Nile;
But of that clock within our breasts we bear,
The subtle motions we forget the while.
We that acquaint our selves with every Zone
And pass both Tropics and behold the Poles
When we come home, are to our selves unknown,
And unacquainted still with our own souls.
We study Speech but others we persuade;
We leech-craft learn, but others cure with it;
We interpret laws, which other men have made,
But read not those which in our hearts are writ.
Is it because the mind is like the eye,
Through which it gathers knowledge by degrees −
Whose rays reflect not, but spread outwardly:
Not seeing itself when other things it sees?
No, doubtless; for the mind can backward cast
Upon her self her understanding light;
But she is so corrupt, and so defac’t,
As her own image doth her self affright.
Why Did My Parents Send Me To The Schools? by John Davies
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