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When erimes, which erst in kindred darkness lay, Yet the bright flame from virtue ne'er had sprung' Rise frontless, and insult the eye of day;
And man was guilty ere the poet sung. Indignant Hymen veils his hallow'd fires, This Muse in silence joy'd each better age, And white-rob’d Chastity with tears retires; Till glowing crimes had wak'd her into rage. When rank Adultery on the genial bed
Truth saw her honest spleen with new delight, Hot from Cocytus rears her baleful head ; 300 And bade her wing her shafts, and urge their flight. When private Faith and public Trust are soid, First on the sons of Greece she prov'd her art, And traitors barter liberty for gold :
And Sparta felt the fierce lambic dart. 370 When fell Corruption dark and deep, like Fate, To Latium next, avenging Satire flew; Saps the foundation of a sinking state:
The flaming falchion rough Lucilius drew, When Giant-Vice and Irreligion rise,
With dauntless warmth in Virtue's cause engag'd, On mountain'd falsehoods to invade the skies : And conscious villains trembled as he rag'd. Then warmer numbers glow through Satire's page, Then sportive Horace caught the generous fire ; And all her smiles are darken'd into rage :
For Satire's bow resign'd the sounding lyre; On eagle-wing she gains Parnassus' height, Each arrow polish'd in his hand was seen, Not lofty Epic soars a nobler flight:
310 And, as it grew more polish'd, grew more keen. Then keener indignation fires ber eye;
His art, conceald in study'd negligence, Then flash her lightnings, and her thunders fly; Politely sly, cajol'd the foes of sense ; 380 Wide and more wide her flaming bolts are hurld, He seem'd to sport and trifle with the dart, Till allier wřath involves the guilty world, But, while he spo:ted, drove it to the heart. Yet Satire oft assumes a gentler mien,
In graver strains majestic Persius wrote, And beamış on Virtue's friends a smile serene! Big with a ripe exuberance of thought : She wounds reluctant; pours her balm with joy ; Greatly scdate, contein'd a tyrant's reign, Glad to commend where worth attracts her eye. And lash'd Corruption with a calin disdain. But chief, when virtue, learning, arts decline, More ardent eloquence, and boundless rage, She joys to see unconquer'd Merit shine; 320 Inflam'd bold Juvenal's exalted page. Where bursting glorious, with departing ray, His mighty numbers aw'd corrupted Rome, Trụe genius gilds the close of Britain's day: And swept audacious Greatness to its doom; 390 With joys she sees the stream of Roman art The headlong torrent, thundering from on liigli, From Murray's tongue flow purer to the heart : Rent the proud rock that lately brav'd the sky. Sees Yorke to Fame, ere yet to manhood known, But lo! the fatal victor of mankind, And just to every virtue, but his own ;
Swoln Luxury !--pale Ruin stalks behind ! Hears unstain'd Cam with generous pride proclaim As countless insects from the north-east pour, A sage's, critic's, and a poet's name :
To blast the Spring, and ravage every flower;
But tread with cautious step this dangerous No longer Genius uoo'd the Nine to love,
At length, again fair Science shot her ray, The poet can but set it in his line :
Dawn'd in the skies, and spoke returning day. And who unmov'd with laughter can behold Now, Satire, triumph o'er thy flying foe, A sordid pebble meanly grac'd with gold? 340 Now load thy quiver, string thy slacken'd bow! Let real merit then adorn your lays,
'Tis done-See great Erasmus breaks the spell, For shame attends on prostituted praise :
And wounds triumphant Folly in her cell!
410 And all your wit, your most distinguish'd art, (In vain the solemn cowl surrounds her face, But makes us grieve you want an honest heart. Vain all her bigot cant, her sour grimace)
Nor think the Muse by Satire's laws confin'd: With shame compelld her lea len throne to quit, She yields description of the noblest kind.
And own the force of Reason urg'd by Wit. Inferior art the landscape may design,
'Twas then plain Donne in honest vengeance rose, And paint the purple evening in the line ;
His wit harmonious, though bis rhyme was prose: Her daring thought essays a higher plan;
He 'midst an age of puns and pedants wrote Her hand delineates passion, pictures man. 350 With genuine sense, and Roman strength of thought. And great the toil, the latent soul to trace,
Yet scarce had Satire well relum'd her fiame, To paint the heart, and catch internal grace ; (With grief the Muse records her country's shame) By turns bid vice or virtne strike our eyes, Ere Britain saw the foul revolt commence, 421 Now bid a Wolsey or a Cromwell rise :
And treacherous Wit began her war with Sense,
Dry morals the court-poet blush'd to sing;
'Twas all his praise to say “ the oddest thing." 430 THROUGH ages thus has Satire keenly shin'd :
Proud for a jest obscene, a patron's nod, The friend to trath, to virtue, and mankind a
To martyr Virtue, or blasphemne his God
Ill-fated Dryden! who, unmov’d, can see Did friendship e'er mislead thy wandering Muse Th’ extremes of wit and meanness join'd in thee? That friendship sure may plead the great excuse : Flames that could mount, and gain their kindred That sacred friendship which inspir'd thy song, Low creeping in the putrid sink of Vice: [skies Fair in defect, and amiably wrong. A Muse whom Wisdom wood, but woo'd in vain, Errour like this ev'n Truth cau scarce reprove ; The pimp of Power, the prostitute to Gain: 'Tis aļmost virtue when it fows from love. Wreaths, that should deck fair Virtuels form alone, Ye deathless names, ye sons of endless praise, To strumpets, traitors, tyrants, vịlely thrown : 440 By virtue crown'd with never-fading bays ! 519 Unrival'd parts, the scorn of honest' fame; Say, shall an artless Muse, if you inspire, And genius rise, a monument of shame!
Light her pale lamp at your immortal fire?
The daring Muse a nobler path pursue,
In her bold numbers chain the tyrant's rage,
But see, at length, the British genius smile, If such her fate, do thou, fair Truth, descend,
To court no friend, nor own a foe but thine.
To offer incense at Corruption's shrine ;
Urge, urge thy power, the black attempt confound, Each image justly fine, and boldly true:
And dash the smoaking censer to the ground. Here Vice, drage'd forth by Truth's supreme decree, Thus aw'd to fear, instructed bards may sce Beholds and hates her own deformity ; 460 That guilt is doom'd to sink in infainy.
ESSAY ON MAN:
TO H. ST. JOHN, LORD BOLINGBROKE.
HẠring proposed to write some pieces on human Attun'd thy voice, and form'd thy infant tongue.
life and manners, such as (to use my lord Bacon's Next, to her band majestic Wisdom came; expression) " come home to men's business and The bard enraptur'd caught the heavenly flame :
bosoms," I thought it more satisfactory to begin With taste superior scorn'd the venal tribe,
with considering man in the abstract, his nature, Whom fear can sway, or guilty greatness bribe;
and his state ; since, to prove any moral duty, to At Fancy's call who rear the wanton sail,
enforce any moral precept, or to examine the perSport with the stream, and trifle in the gale: 480 fection or imperfection of any creature whatsoever, Sublimer views tliy dariny spirit bound;
it is necessary first to know what condition and re Thy mighty voyage was Creation's round; lation it is placed in, and what is the proper end Intent new worlds o wisdom to explore,
and purpose of its being. And bless mankind with Virtue's sacred store :
The science of human nature is, like all other A nobler joy than wit can give, impart ;
sciences, reduced to a few clear points: there are And pour a moral transport o'er the heart. not many certain truths in this world. It is thereFantastic wit shoots momentary fires,
fore in the anatomy of the mind as in that of the And, like a meteor, while we gaze, expires :
body; more good will accrue to inankind by atWit, kindled by the sulphurous breath of Vice,
tending to the large, open, and perceptible parts, Like the blue lightning, while it shines, destroys :
than by studying too much such finer nerves and But genius, fir'd by Truth's eternal ray,
490 vessels, the conformations and uses of which will Burns clear and constant, like the source of day:
for ever escape our observation. The disputes are Like this its beam, prolific and relin'd,
all upon these last ; and I will venture to say, they Feeds, warms, inspirits, and exalts the mind;
have less sharpened the wits than the hearts of Mildly dispels each wintery passion's gloom,
men against each other, and have diminished And opens all the virtues into blooni.
the practice, more than advanced the theory of This praise, immortal Pope, to thee be given.
morality. If I conld fatter myself that this Essay Thay genius was indeed a gift from Heaven. has any merit, it is in steering betwixt the exHail, bard unequal'«l, in whose deathless line
tremes of doctrines scemingly opposite, in passing Reason and wit with strength collected shine; 500 over terms utterly unintelligible, and in forming a Where matchless wit but wins the second praise, tempcrate yet not inconsistent, and a short, yet Lost, nobly lost, in truth's superior blaze, not imperfect, system of ethics,
This I might have done in prose; but I chose throughout the whole visible world, an universal Yerse, and even thyme, for two reasons. The one order and gradation in the sensual and mental will appear obvious; that principles, maxims, or faculties is observed, which causes a subordinaprecepts so written, both strike the reader more tion of creature to creature, and of all creatures strongly at first, and are more easily retained by
The gradations of sense, instinct, him afterwards': the other may seem odd, but it thought, reflection, reason; that reason along is true; I found I could express them more shortly countervails all the other faculties, ver. 207. this way than in prose itself; and nothing is more VIII. How much farther this order and subor. certain, than that much of the force as well as dination of living creatures may extend above grace of arguments or instructions depends on and below us; were any part of which broken, their conciseness. I was unable to treat this part not that part only, but the whole connected of my subject more in detail, without becoming creation must be destroyed, ver. 233. IX. The dry and tedious; or more poetically, without sa extravagance, madness, and pride of such a decrificing perspicuity to ornament, without wander sire, ver. 250. X. The conseqnence of aħl the ing from the precision, or breaking the chain of absolute submission due to Providence, both as reasoning: if any man can unite all these without to our present and future state, ver. 281, to the diminution of any of them, I freely confess he will
end, compass a thing above my capacity.
What is now published is only to be considered as a general map of man, marking out no more
EPISTLE I. than the greater parts, their extent, their limits, Awake, my St. John! leave all meaner things and their connection, but leaving the particular to be more fully delineated in the charts which are
To low ambition and the pride of Kings. to follow. Consequently, these Epistles in their Than just to look about us, and to die)
Let us (since life can little more supply progress (if I have health and leisure to make any Expatiate free o'er all this scene of man; progress) will be less dry, and more susceptible of poetical ornament. I am here only opening the
A mighty maze! but not without a plan: fountains, and clearing the passage. so deduce A wild, where weeds and towers promiscuous shoot; the rivers, to follow them in their course, and to
Or garden, tempting with forbidden fruit observe their effects, may be a task mure agree- Together let us boat this ample field,
Try what the open, what the covert yield; 10
Qf all who lindly creep, or sightless soar;
Eye Nature's walks, shoot Folly as it flies,
And catch the manners living as they rise: IN FOUR EPISTLES, TO H. ST. JONN, Laugh where we must, be candid where we can; LORD BOLINGBROKE.
But vindicate the ways of God to man.
I. Say first, of God above, or man below,
What can we reason, but from what we know? PE THE NATURE AND STATE OF MAN WITH RESPECT TO Of inan, what see we but his station here,
From which to reason, or to which refer? 20
Through worlds unnumber'd though the God be Or man in the abstract.—1, 'That we can judge "Tis ours to trace him only in our own. (know nas
only with regard to our own system, being igno- He, who through vast immensity can pierce, rant of the relations of systems and things, See worlds on worlds compose one universe, ver. 17, &c. ' II: That man is not to be deemed | Observe how system into system runs, imperfect, but a being suited to his place and What other planets circle other suns, rank in the creation, agreeable to the general | What vary'd being peoples erery star, order of things, and conformable to ends and | May tell why Heaven has made us as we are. relations to him unknown, ver. 35, &c. III. But of this frame the bearings and the ties, That it is partly upon his ignorance of future The strong connections, nice dependencies, 30 events, and partly upon the hope of a future Gradations just, has thy pervading soul state, that all his happiness in the present de-Look'd through? or can a part contain the wholei pends, ver, 77, &c. IV. The pride of ajiing at Is the great chain, that draws all to agree, more knowledge, and pretending to more per- And drawn supports, upheld by God, or thee? fection, the cause of man's errour and misery. II. Presumptuous man! the reason wouldst thon The impiety of putting himself in the place of find, Got, and judging of the fitness or unfitness, per- Why form'd so weak, so little, and so blind! fection or imperfection, justice or injustice, of first, if thou canst, the barder reason guess, his dispensations, ver. 109, &c. V. The ab. | Why form’d no weaker, blinder, and no less ? surdity of concejting himself the final cause of Ask of thy mother Earth, why oaks are made the creation, or expecting that perfection in the Taller or weaker than the weeds they shade; 40 moral world, which is not in the natural, yer. Or ask of yonder argent fields above, 131, &c. VI. The unreasonableness of his Why Jove's Satellites are less than Jove ? complaints against Providence, while on the Of systems possible, if 'tis confest, one hand he demands the perfection of the an That Wisdom infinite must form the best, gels, and on the other the bodily qualifications | Where all must full or not coherent be, of the brutes; thongh, to possess any of the And all that rises, rise in due degree; sensitive faculties in a higher degree, would | Then, in the scale of reasoning life, 'tis plain, repder him miserable, ver. 173, &çc. VII. That | There must be, somewhere, such a rank as man:
ARGUMENT OF EPISTLE I.
And all the question (wrangle e'er so long) His soul proud Science never taught to stray
Respecting man, whatever wrong we call Yet simple Nature to his hope has given,
Behind the cloud-topt hill, an humbler Heaven In human works, though labour'd on with pain, Some safer world in depth of woods embrac'd, Arthousand movements scarce one purpose gaiq: Some happier island in the watery waste, In God's, one single can its end produce;
Where slaves once more their native land behold, Yet serves to second too some other use.
No fiends torment, no Christians thirst for gold. So man, who here seems principal alone,
To be, contents his natural desire, Perhaps acts second to some sphere unknown, lle asks no angel's wing, no seraph's fire; 110 Touches some wheel, or verges to some goal; But thinks admitted to that equal sky, "Tis but a part we see, and not a whole. 60 His faithful dog shall bear him company. When the proud steed shall kņow why man re IV. Go, wiser thou! and in thy scale of sense, strains
Weigh thy opinion against Providence; His fiery course, or drives him o'er the plains; Call imperfection what thou fancy'st such; When the dull ox, why now he breaks the clod, Say, here he gives too little, there too much: Is now a victim, and now Ægypt's god:
Destroy all creatures for thy sport or gust, Then shall man's pride and dulness comprehend Yet say, if man's unbappy, God's unjust; His actions', passions', being's, use and end; If man alone ingross not Heaven's high care, Why doing, suffering, check'd, impelld; and why Alone made perfect here, immortal these: 120 This hour a slave, the next a deity.
Snatch'd from his hand the balance and the rod, Then say not Man's imperfect, Heaven in fault; Re-judge bis justice, be the god of God. Say rather, Man's as perfect as he qught: 70 ) In Pride, in reasoning Pride, gur errour lies; His knowledge measur'd to his state and place; All quit their sphere, and rush into the skies His time a noment, and a point his space.
Pride still is aiming at the blest abodes,
Men would be angels, angels would be gods.
Aspiring to be angels, men rebel :
III Heaven from all creatures hides the book of Of order, sins against th’ Eternal Cause, 130
Suckles each herb, and spreads out every flower;
For me health gushes from a thousand springs; That each may fill the circle mark'd by Heaven : Seas roll to waft me, suns to light me rise ; Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
My foot-stool Earth, my canopy the skies." 140 A hero perish, or a sparrow fall,
But errs not Nature from this gracious end, Atoms or systems into ruin hurlid,
From burning suns when livid deaths descend,
Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar Towns to one grave, whole nations to the deep?
And what created perfect ?” Why then man? Man never Is, but always To he blest :
If the great end be human liappiness, The soul, uneasy, and contin'd from home, Then Nature deviates; and can man do less? 150 Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
As much that end a constant course requires Lo, the poor Indian! whose untutor'd mind Of showers and sun shine, as of man's desires; Sees God in clouds, or bears him in the wind; 100 As much eternal springs and cloudless skies,
As men for ever temperate, calm, and wise.
Why then a Borgia, or a Cataline;
Who knows, but he whose hand the lightning forms, Now wears a garland an Egyptian god,
Who heaves old Ocean, and who wings the storins After ver. 68, the following lines in the first edition. Pours fierce ambition in a Cæsar's mind, 1160 If to be perfect in a certain sphere,
Or turns young Ammon loose to scourge mankind? What matter, soon or late, or here or there? From pride, from pride our very reasoning springs; The blest to day is as coinpletely so,
Account for moral as for natural things :
After ver. 108, in the firy edition : That Virgil's gnat should die as Cesar bleed,
But dues he say the Maker is not good, Ver. 93, in the first folio and quarto,
Till he's exalted to what state he wou'd; What bliss aborc he gives not thee to know, Hiinsclf alone high Heaven's peculiar care, But gives that hope to be thy bliss below,
Alone made happy when he will, and where
Why charge ve Heaven in those, in these acquit? VIII. See, through this air, this ocean, and this In both, to reason right, is to submit.
earth, · Better for us, perhaps, it might appear, All matter quick, and bursting into birth. Were there all harmony, all virtue here;
Above, how high, progressive life may go! That never air or ocean felt the wind,
Around, how wide! how deep extend below! That never passion discompos'd the mind.
Vast chain of being! which from God began, But all subsists by elemental strife;
Natures ethereal, hurpan, angel, man, And passions are the elements of life.
170 Beast, bird, fish, insect, what no eye can see, The general order, since the whole began,
No glass can reach; from Infinite to thee,
24Q Is kept in Nature, and is kept in man. (soar, From thee to Nothing.-On superior powers
VI. What would this man? Now upward will he Were we to press, inferior might on qurs; And, little less than angel, would be more; Or in the full creation leave a void, Now looking downwards, just as griev'd appears Where, one step broken, the great scale's destroy'd: To want the strength of bulls, the fur of bears. From Nature's chain whatever link you strike, Made for his use all creatures if he call,
Tenth, or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike, Say what their use, had he the powers of all? And, if each system in gradation roll Nature to these without profusion, kind,
Alike essential to th' amazing whole, The proper organs, proper powers assigu'd; 160 The least confusion but in one, not all Each seeming want compensated of course, That system only, but the whole must fall, 250 Here with degrees of swiftness, there of force; Let Earth unbalanc'd from her orbit fly, All in exact proportion to the state;
Planets and suns run lawless through the sky; Nothing to add, and nothing to abate.
Let ruling angels from their spheres be hurl'd, Each beast, each insect, happy in its own: Being on being wreck'd, and world on world ; Is Heaven unkind to man, and man alone?
Heaven's whole foundations to their centre nod, Shall he alone, whom rational we call,
And Nature trembles to the throne of God. Be pleas'd with nothing, if not blest with all ? All this dread order break--for whom? for thee?
The bliss of man (could Pride that blessing find) | Vile worm!oh madness! pride! impiety! Is not to act or think beyond mankind;
IX. What if the foot, ordain'd the dust to tread, No powers of body or of soul to share,
Or hand, to toil, aspir'd to be the head?
260 But what his nature and his state can bear, What if the head, the eye, or ear, repin'd Why has not man a microscopic eye?
To serve mere engines to the ruling mind? For this plain reason, man is not a fly.
Just as absurd for any part to claim Say what the use, were finer optics given,
'To be another in this general frame: T' inspect a mite, not comprehend the Heaven? Just as absurd, to mourn the tasks or pains Or touch, if tremblingly alive all o'er,
The great directing mind of all ordains. To smart and agonize at every pore?
All are but parts of one stupendous whole, Or quick effluvia darting through the brain, Whose body Nature is, and God the soul; Die of a rose in aromatic pain?
200 | That chang'd through ally and yet in all the same If Nature thunder'd in bis opening -ars,
Great in the Earth, as in th' ethereal frame; 270 And stunn'd him with the music of the spheres, Warms in the San, refreshes in the breeze, How would he wish that Heaven had left himn still Glows, in the stars, and blossoms in the trees ; The whispering zephyr, and the purling rill! Lives through all life, extends through all extent ; Who finds not Providence all good and wise, Spreads undivided, operates unspent; Alike in what it gives, and what denies?
Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part, VII. Far as creation's ample range extends, As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart, The scale of sensual, mental powers ascends : As full, as perfect, in vile man that mourns, Mark how it mounts to man's imperial race, As the rapt seraph that adores and burns: From the green myriads in the peopled grass : 210 To him no high, no low, no great, no small; What modes of sight betwixt each wide extreme, He fills, he bounds, connects, and cquals all. 280 The mole's dim curtain, and the lynx's beam; X. Cease then, nor order imperfection name: Of smell, the hea:llong lioness between,
Our proper bliss depends on what we blame. And hound sagacious on the tainted green;
Know thy own point: this kind, this due degree Of hearing, from the life that fills the flood, Of blindness, weakness, Heaven bestows on thee, To that which warbles through the vernal wood! Submit.-In this, or any other sphere, The spider's touch, how exquisitely fine!
Secure to be as blest as thou canst bear: Feels at each thread, and lives along the line: Safe in the hand of one disposing Power, In the nice bee, what sense so subtly true
Or in the natal, or the mortal hour. From poisonous herbs extracts the healing dew ! All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee; Ilow Instinct varies in the grovelling swine, 220 All Chance, Direction, which thou canst not sce; Compar'd half-reasoning elephant with thine! All Discord, Harmony not understood;
290 'Twixt that, and Reason, what a nice barrier ! All partial Evil, universal Good. For ever separate, yet for ever near!
And, spite of Pride, in erring Reason's spite, Remembrance and Reflection how allied ;
One truth is clear, WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT,
Ver. 238, Bd. 1st.
Ethereal essence, spirit, substance, man.
Reason, to think of God, when she pretends, Io not tby Reason all these powers in one?
Begins a censor, an adorer ends.