"All objects are ready form'd and plac'd / To our hands; and these the Senses to the Mind convey, / And as those represent them, this must judge: / How can the Will be free, when the Understanding, / On which the Will depends, cannot be so"
— Shadwell, Thomas (1642-1692)
I find thou retir'st here, and never readst or thinkst.
Can that blind faculty the Will be free,
When it depends upon the Understanding?
Which argues first before the Will can chuse;
And the last Dictate of the Judgment sways
The Will, as in a Balance, the last Weight
Put in the Scale, lifts up the other end,
And with the same Necessity.
But foolish men and sinners act against
Their Understandings, which inform 'em better.
None willingly do any thing against the last
Dictates of their Judgments, whatsoe'r men do,
Their present opinions lead 'em to.
As fools that are afraid of sin, are by the thought
Of present pleasure, or some other reason,
Necessarily byass'd to pursue
The opinion they are of at that moment.
The Understanding yet is free, and might perswade 'em better.
The Understanding never can be free;
For what we understand, spite of our selves we do:
All objects are ready form'd and plac'd
To our hands; and these the Senses to the Mind convey,
And as those represent them, this must judge:
How can the Will be free, when the Understanding,
On which the Will depends, cannot be so.
Lay by your devillish Philosophy, and change the dangerous and destructive course of your leud lives.
Change our natures? Go bid a Blackamore be white, we follow our Constitutions, which we did not give our selves.
The Libertine: a Tragedy. Acted by His Royal Highness's Servants. Written by Tho. Shadwell (London: Printed by T[homas]. N[ewcomb]. for Henry Herringman, at the Anchor, in the lower walk of the New Exchange, 1676). <Link to ESTC>