Stanza 14

Lines 165-174

Nor deem, when learning her last prize bestows,
The glitt'ring eminence exempt from foes;
See, when the vulgar 'scape, despised or aw'd,
Rebellion's vengeful talons seize on Laud.
From meaner minds though smaller fines content,
The plunder'd palace, or sequester'd rent,
Mark'd out by dangerous parts he meets the shock,
And fatal Learning leads him to the block:
Around his tomb let Art and Genius weep,
But hear his death, ye blockheads, hear and sleep.

  • In this stanza, the speaker continues talking about the sad fate of the scholar. 
  • When their hard work and learning are rewarded, they'd better not think that our enemies won't find equal prestige and importance. 
  • The speaker refers to William Laud, a learned man who was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1633-45. He was executed in 1645 by his enemies—the Parliamentarians. 
  • The speaker suggests that those who have "meaner minds" (less intelligent minds) are punished less severely, but those who have greater minds (like William Laud) are punished more severely. The scholar's own learning and his dangerous ideas lead him to the execution block. Yikes.
  • The speaker personifies "Art" and "Genius" as "weeping" figures, crying at the scholar's tomb.

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