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He from the wondering furrow call'd the food, Taught to command the fire, control the flood, Draw forth the monsters of th' abyss profound, Or fetch th' aerial eagle to the ground. Till drooping, sickening, dying, they began Whom they rever'd as God to mourn as Man: Then, looking up from sire to sire, explor'd One great First Father, and that first ador'd. Or plain tradition, that this All begun, Convey'd unbroken faith from sire to son; The worker from the work distinct was known, And simple Reason never sought but one: Fre Wit oblique had broke that steady light, Man, like his Maker, saw that all was right; To virtue, in the paths of pleasure trod, And own'd a father when he own'd a God. Love all the faith, and all th' allegiance then; For Nature knew no right divine in men, No ill could fear in God; and understood A sovereign being, but a sovereign good. True faith, true policy, united ran; That was but love of God, and this of man. Who first taught souls enslav'd, and realms unTh' enormous faith of many made for one; That proud exception to all Nature's laws, T invert the world and counter-work its cause? Force first made conquest, and that conquest, law; Till Superstition taught the tyrant awe, Then shar'd the tyranny, then lent it aid, And gods of conquerors, slaves of subjects made: She 'midst the lightning's blaze, and thunder's
When rock'd the mountains, and when groan'd the
She taught the weak to bend, the proud to pray,
So drives Self-love, through just, and through unTo one man's power, ambition, lucre, lust: [just, The same self-love, in all, becomes the cause 271 Of what restrains him, government and laws. For, what one likes, if others like as well, What serves one will, when many wills rebel? How shall he keep, what, sleeping or awake, A weaker may surprise, a stronger take? His safety must his liberty restrain: All join to guard what each desires to gain. Forc'd into virtue thus, by self-defence, Ev'n kings learn'd justice and benevolence: Self-love forsook the path it first pursued, And found the private in the public good. 'Twas then the studious head or generous mind, Follower of God, or friend of human kind, Poet or patriot, rose but to restore The faith and moral, Nature gave before; VOL XIL
Relum'd her ancient light, not kindled new ;
All must be false that thwarts this one great end;
Yet make at once their circle round the Sun;
Thus God and Nature link'd the general frame, And bade self-love and social be the same.
ARGUMENT OF EPISTLE IV.
OF THE NATURE AND STATE OF MAN WITH RESPECT TO HAPPINESS.
I. FALSE notions of happiness, philosophical and popular, answered from ver. 19 to 77. II. It is the end of all men, and attainable by all, ver. 30. God intends happiness to be equal; and to be so, it must be social, since all particular happiness depends on general, and since he governs by general, not particular laws, ver. 37. As it is necessary for order, and the peace and welfare of society, that external goods should be unequal, happiness is not made to consist in these, ver. 51. But, notwithstanding that inequality, the balance of happiness among mankind is kept even by Providence, by the two passions of hope and fear, ver. 70. III. What the happiness of individuals is, as far as is consistent with the constitution of this world; and that the good man has here the advantage, ver. 77. The errour of imputing to virtue what are only the calamities of Nature, or of Fortune, ver. 94. IV. The folly of expecting that God should alter his general laws in favour of particulars, ver. 121. V. That we are not judges who are good; but that, whoever they are, they must be happiest, ver. 133, &c. VI. That external goods are not the proper rewards, but often inconsistent with, or destructive of, virtue, 167. That even these can make no man happy without virtue: instanced in riches, ver. 185. Honours, ver. 193. Nobility, ver. 205. Greatness, ver. 217. Fame, ver. 237. Superior talents, ver. 257, &c. With
pictures of human infelicity in men, possessed of ↑ them all, ver. 269, &c. VII. That virtue only constitutes a sa happiness, whose object is universal, and whose prospect eternal, ver. 307. That the perfection of virtue and happiness consists in a conformity to the order of Providence here, and a resignation to it here and hereafter, ver. 326, &c.
OH HAPPINESS! our being's end and aim!
Good, Pleasure, Ease, Content! whate'er thy name: That something still which prompts th' eternal sigh,
For which we bear to live, or dare to die,
"Tis no where to be found, or every where:
This bids to serve, and that to shun mankind;
Take Nature's path, and mad Opinion's leave; All states can reach it, and all heads conceive; 30 Obvious her goods, in no extreme they dwell; There needs but thinking right, and meaning well; And, mourn our various portions as we please, Equal is common sense, and common case. Remember, man, "the Universal Cause Acts not by partial, but by gen'ral laws;" And makes what happiness we justly call, Subsist not in the good of one, but all. There's not a blessing individuals find, But some-way leans and hearkens to the kind: No bandit fierce, no tyrant mad with pride, No cavern'd hermit, rests self-satisfy'd: Who most to shun or hate\mankind pretend, Seck an admirer, or would fix a friend: Abstract what others feel, what others think, All pleasures sicken, and all glories sink: Each has bis share; and who would more obtain, Shall find, the pleasure pays not half the pain.
Order is Heaven's first law; and this confest, Some are, and must be, greater than the rest,
Ver. 1. Oh Happiness, &c.] in the MS. thus:
More rich, more wise; but who infers from hence
One common blessing, as one common soul.
Fortune her gifts may variously dispose,
Oh, sons of Earth! attempt ye still to rise, By mountains pil'd on mountains, to the skies! Heaven still with laughter the vain toil surveys, And buries madmen in the heaps they raise.
Know, all the good that individuals find, Or God and Nature meant to mere mankind, Reason's whole pleasure, all the joys of sense, Lie in three words, Health, Peace, and Competenre, But Health consists with Temperance alone; And Peace, Oh Virtne! Peace is all thy own. The good or bad the gifts of Fortune gain; But these less taste them, as they worse obtain. Say, in pursuit of profit or delight, Who risk the most, that take wrong means, or right? Of Vice or Virtue, whether blest or curst, Which meets contempt, or which compassion first? Count all th' advantage prosperous Vice attains, 'Tis but what Virtue flies from and disdains: And grant the bad what happiness they would, One they must want, which is to pass for good. Oh blind to truth, and God's whole scheme below Who fancy bliss to Vice, to Virtue woe! Who sees and follows that great scheme the best, Best knows the blessing, and will most be blest. But fools, the good alone, unhappy call, For ills or accidents that chance to all. See Falkland dies, the virtuous and the just! See godlike Turenne prostrate on the dust!
VARIATIONS. After ver. 52, in the MS.
Say not, "Heaven's here profuse, there poorly
. And for one monarch makes a thousand slaves." You'll find, when causes and their ends are
'Twas for the thousand Heaven has made that After ver. 66, in the MS.
"Tis peace of mind alone is at a stay : The rest mad Fortune gives or takes away. All other bliss by accident 's debarr'd; But Virtue's, in the instant, a reward; In hardest trials operates the best, And more is relish'd as the more distrest. After ver. 92, in the MS.
Let sober moralists correct their speech, No bad man 's happy; he is great or rich:
See Sidney bleeds amid the martial strife!
Shall burning Etna, if a sage requires, Forget to thunder, and recall her fires? On air or sea new motions be imprest, Oh blameless Bethe!! to relieve thy breast? When the loose mountain trembles from on high, Shall gravitation cease, if you go by? Or some old temple, nodding to its fall, For Chartres' head reserve the hanging wall? But still this world (so fitted for the knave) Contents us not. A better shall we have? A kingdom of the just then let it be: But first consider how those just agree. The good must merit God's peculiar care; But who, but God, can tell us who they are? One thinks on Calvin Heaven's own spirit fell; Another deems him instrument of Hell; If Calvin feels Heaven's blessing, or its rod,
Add health and power, and every earthly thing,
Yet sigh'st thou now for apples and for cakes?
To whom can riches give repute, or trust,
Honour and shame from no condition rise;
This cries, there is, and that, there is no God. 140 The friar hooded, and the monarch crown'd. [cowl!"
What shocks one part, will edify the rest, Nor with one system can they all be blest. The very best will variously incline, And what rewards your virtue, punish mine. WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT.-This world, 'tis true, Was made for Cæsar-but for Titus too; -And which more blest? who chain'd his country, say, Or he whose virtue sigh'd to lose a day? "But sometimes Virtues tarves, while Vice is fed." What then? Is the reward of Virtue bread? That, Vice may merit, 'tis the price of toil; The knave deserves it, when he tills the soil; The knave deserves it, when he tempts the main, Where folly fights for kings, or dives for gain. The good man may be weak, be indolent; Nor is his claim to plenty, but content. But grant hin riches, your demand is o'er? "No-shall the good want health, the good want power?"
After ver. 116, in the MS.
Of every evil, since the world began, The real source is not in God, but man. After ver. 142, in some editions,
Give each a system, all must be at strife; What different systems for a man and wife! The joke, though lively, was ill-placed, and therefore struck out of the text.
"What differ more" (you cry) " than crown and
Stuck o'er with titles and hung round with strings,
After ver. 172, in the MS.
Say, what rewards this idle world imparts,
The richest blood, right-honourably old,
What can ennoble sots, or slaves, or cowards?
Look next on greatness; say where greatness
Where, but among the heroes and the wise?"
All sly slow things, with circumspective eyes:
What's fame? a fancy'd life in others' breath,
Just what you hear, you have; and what's unknown,
In the small circle of our foes or friends;
To all beside as much an empty shade
An Eugene living, as a Cæsar dead;
Alike or when, or where they shone, or shine,
Plays round the head, but comes not to the heart:
Or ravish'd with the whistling of a name,
From ancient story, learn to scorn them all.
O! wealth ill-fated; which no act of fame
Is blest in what it takes, and what it gives;
See the sole bliss Heaven could on all bestow! Which who but feels can taste, but thinks can know e 260 Yet poor with fortune, and with learning blind,
In parts superior what advantage lies?
Bring then these blessings to a strict account;
To sigh for ribbands if thou art so silly,
The wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind ‹
The bad must miss; the good, untaught, will find;
But touches some above, and some below;
After ver. 316, in the MS.
Ev'n while it seems unequal to dispose,
And chequers all the good man's joys with woes,
Till lengthen'd on to Faith, and unconfin'd,
Are given in vain, but what they seek they find)
Self-love thus push'd to social, to divine,
God loves from whole to parts: but human soul Must rise from individual to the whole. Self-love but serves the virtuous mind to wake, As the small pebble stirs the peaceful lake; The centre mov'd, a circle straight succeeds, Another still, and still another spreads; Friend, parent, neighbour, first it will embrace; His country next; and next all human race; Wide and more wide, th' o'ertlowings of the mind Take every creature in, of every kind; Earth smiles around, with boundless bounty blest, And Heaven beholds its image in his breast.
Come then, my friend! my genius! come along; Oh master of the poet, and the song! And while the Muse now stoops, or now ascends, To man's low passions, or their glorious ends, Teach me, like thee, in various nature wise, To fall with dignity, with temper rise; Form'd by thy converse, happily to steer, From grave to gay, from lively to severe; Correct with spirit, eloquent with case, Intent to reason, or polite to please.
Oh! while along the stream of time thy name
Ver. 373. Come then, my friend! &c.] In the MS. thus:
And now transported o'er so vast a plain,
Now scatter'd fools fly trembling from her heels,
Ver. 397. That virtue only, &c.] In the MS. thus: That just to find a God is all we can,
And all the study of mankind is man.
THE UNIVERSAL PRAYER.
DEO OPT. MAX.
Ir may be proper to observe, that some passages, in the preceding Essay, having been unjustly suspected of a tendency towards fate and naturalism, the author composed this Prayer as the sum of all, to show that his system was founded in free-will, and terminated in piety: That the first cause was as well the Lord and Governor of the Universe as the Creator of it; and that, by submission to his will (the great principle enforced throughout the Essay) was not meant the suffering ourselves to be carried along by a blind determination, but the resting in a religious acquiescence, and confidence full of hope and immortality. To give all this the greater weight, the poet chose for his model the Lord's Prayer, which, of all others, best deserves the title prefixed to this Paraphrase.
THE UNIVERSAL PRAYER.
DEO OPT. MAX.
FATHER of all! in every age,
In every clime ador'd,
Jehovah, Jove, or Lord!
Thou Great First Cause, least understood;
To know but this, that thou art good,
What conscience dictates to be done,
Or warns me not to do,
This, teach me more than Hell to shun,
T enjoy is to obey.
When thousand worlds are round:
Or impious discontent,
Or aught thy goodness lent.