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Or ask of yonder argent fields above,
To be, contents his natural desire, Why Jove's Satellites are less than Jove?
He asks no angel's wing, no seraph's fire; Of systems possible, if 'tis confest,
But thinks, admitted to that equal sky, That Wisdom infinite must form the best,
His faithful dog shall bear him company. Where all must full or not coherent be,
IV. Go, wiser thou! and in thy scale of sense, And all that rises, rise in due degree ;
Weigh thy opinion against Providence;
Respecting man, whatever wrong we call If man alone engross not Heaven's high care,
Alone made perfect here, immortal there: In human works, though labor'd on with pain, Snatch from his hand the balance and the rod, A thousand movements scarce one purpose gain : Re-judge his justice, be the god of God. In God's, one single can its end produce; In Pride, in reasoning Pride, our error lies; Yet serves to second too some other use.
All quit their sphere, and rush into the skies.
Pride still is aiming at the blest abodes,
Aspiring to be angels, men rebel:
Of order, sins against th' Eternal Cause. His fiery course, or drives him o'er the plains; V. Ask for what end the heavenly bodies shine, When the dull ox, why now he breaks the clod, Earth for whose use ? Pride answers, “ Tis for Is now a victim, and now Egypt's god :
mine: Then shall man's pride and dullness comprehend For me kind Nature wakes her genial power; His actions', passions', being's, use and end ; Suckles each herb, and spreads out every flower; Why doing, suffering, check'd, impellid; and why Annual for me, the grape, the rose, renew This hour a slave, the next a deity.
The juice nectareous, and the balmy dew; Then say not Man's imperfect, Heaven in fault; For me, the mine a thousand treasures brings; Say, rather, Man's as perfect as he ought: For me, health gushes from a thousand springs ; His knowledge measur'd to his state and place; Seas roll to waft me, suns to light me rise ; His time a moment, and a point his space. My foolstool Earth, my canopy the skies.” If to be perfect in a certain sphere,
But errs not Nature from this gracious end, What matter, soon or late, or here, or there? From burning suns when livid deaths descend, The blest to-day is as completely so,
When earthquakes swallow, or when tempests sweep As who began a thousand years ago.
Towns to one grave, whole nations to the deep? III. Heaven from all creatures hides the book of “ No," 'tis replied, “ the first Almighty Cause Fate,
Acts not by partial, but by general laws; All but the page prescrib'd, their present state: Th'exceptions sew ; some change since all begun: From brutes what men, from men what spirits know: And what created perfect ?" Why then man? Or who could suffer being here below?
If the great end be human happiness, The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day,
Then Nature deviates; and can man do less ? Had he thy reason, would he skip and play? As much that end a constant course requires Pleas'd to the last, he crops the flowery food, Of showers and sun-shine, as of man's desires; And licks the hand just rais'd to shed his blood. As much eternal springs and cloudless skies, Oh blindness to the future! kindly given,
As men for ever temperate, calm, and wise. That each may fill the circle mark'd by Heaven: If plagues or earthquakes break not Heaven's design, Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
Why then a Borgia, or a Catiline; A hero perish, or a sparrow fall,
Who knows, but he whose hand the lightning forms, Atoms or systems into ruin hurlid,
Who heaves old Ocean, and who wings the storms; And now a bubble burst, and now a world. Pours fierce ambition in a Cæsar's mind,
Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar, Or turns young Ammon loose to scourge mankind ? Wait the great teacher, Death ; and God adore. From pride, from pride our very reasoning springs : What future bliss, he gives not thee 10 know, Account for moral as for natural things: But gives that hope to be thy blessing now. Why charge we Heaven in those, in these acquit? Hope springs eternal in the human breast : In both, to reason right, is to submit. Man never Is, but always To be blest :
Better for us, perhaps, it might appear,
That never air or ocean felt the wind,
The general order, since the whole began,
Is kept in Nature, and is kept in man. Behind the cloud-topt hill, an humbler Heaven; VI. What would this man? Now upward will he Some safer world in depth of woods embrac'd,
soar, Some happier island in the watery waste,
And, little less than angel, would be more; Where slaves once more their native land hehold, Now looking downwards, just as griev'd appears No fiends torment, no Christians thirst for gold. To want the strength of bulls, the fur of bears.
Made for his use all creatures if he call,
From Nature's chain whatever link you strike, Say what their use, had he the powers of all ? Tenth, or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike. Nature to these without profusion, kind,
And, if each system in gradation roll The proper organs, proper powers assign'd; Alike essential to th' amazing whole, Each seeming want compensated of course,
The least confusion but in one, not all Here with degrees of swiftness, there of force; That system only, but the whole must fall. All in exact proportion to the state;
Let Earth unbalanc'd from her orbit fly, Nothing to add, and nothing to abate.
Planets and suns run lawless through the sky; Each beast, each inseci, happy in its own: Let ruling angels from their spheres be hurlid, Is Heaven unkind to man, and man alone?
Being on being wreck'd, and world on world; Shall he alone, whom rational we call,
Heaven's whole foundations to their centre nod, Be pleas'd with nothing, if not blest with all ? And Nature trembles to the throne of God.
The bliss of man (could pride that blessing find) All this dread order break-for whom? for thee? Is not to act or think beyond mankind;
Vile worm-oh madness! pride! impiety! No powers of body or of soul to share,
IX. What if the foot, ordain'd the dust to tread, But what his nature and his state can bear. Or hand, to toil, aspir'd to be the head ? Why has not man a microscopic eye?
What if the head, the eye, or ear, repin'd
To serve mere engines to the ruling mind ?
Just as absurd, to mourn the tasks or pains
The great directing mind of all ordains. Or quick effluvia darting through the brain,
All are but parts of one stupendous whole, Die of a rose in aromatic pain?
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul; If Nature thunder'd in his opening ears,
That chang'd through all, and yet in all the same; And stunn'd him with the music of the spheres, Great in the Earth, as in th' ethereal frame; How would he wish that Heaven had left him still Warms in the Sun, refreshes in the breeze, The whispering zephyr, and the purling rill! Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees; Who finds not Providence all good and wise, Lives through all life, extends through all extent; Alike in what it gives, and what denies ?
Spreads undivided, operates unspent; VII. Far as creation's ample range extends, Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part, The scale of sensual, mental powers ascends : As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart, Mark how it mounts to man's imperial race, As full, as perfect, in vile man that mourus, From the green myriads in the peopled grass : As the rapt seraph that adores and burns : What modes of sight betwixt each wide extreme, To him no high, no low, no great, no small; The mole's dim curtain, and the lynx's beam; He fills, he bounds,.connects, and equals all. Of smell, the headlong lioness between,
X. Cease, then, nor order imperfection name :
All partial Evil, universal Good.
OF THE NATURE AND STATE OF MAN WITH REThe powers of all subdued by thee alone, Is not thy Reason all these powers in one ?
SPECT TO HIMSELF, AS AN INDIVIDUAL. VIII. See, through this air, this ocean, and this earth,
Argument. Al! msiter quick, and bursting into birth. I. The business of man not to pry into God, but to Above, how high! progressive life may go!
study himself. His middle nature: his powers Around, how wide! how deep extend below! and frailties. The limits of his capacity. II. The Vast chain of being! which from God began, two principles of man, self-love and reason, both Natures ethereal, human, angel, man,
necessary. Self-love the stronger, and why. Their Beast, bird, fish, insect, what no eye can see,
end the same. III. The passions, and their use. No glass can reach ; from Infinite to thee,
The predominant passion, and its force. Its necesFrom thee to Nothing. On superior powers sity, in directing men 10 different purposes. Its Were we to press, inferior might on ours;
providential use, in fixing our principle, and asOr in the full creation leave a void,
certaining our virtue. IV. Virtue and vice joined Where, one step broken, the great scale 's destroy'd : in our mixed nature; the limiis ncar, yet the
things separate and evident: what is the office of Man, but for that, no action could attend,
Sedate and quiet the comparing lies,
Self-love, still stronger, as its objects nigh;
Reason's at distance, and in prospect lie: A being darkly wise, and rudely great:
That sees immediate good by present sense ; With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side, Reason, the future and the consequence. With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride, Thicker than arguments, temptations throng, He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest; At best more watchful this, but that more strong; In doubt to deem himself a god, or beast; The action of the stronger to suspend, In doubt his mind or body to prefer;
Reason still use, to Reason still attend. Born but to die, and reasoning, but to err;
Attention, habit, and experience gains; Alike in ignorance, his reason such,
Each strengthens Reason, and Self-love restrains. Whether he thinks too little, or too much : Let subtle schoolmen teach these friends to fight, Chaos of thought and passion, all confus'd ; More studious to divide than to unite ; Still by himself abus'd, or disa bus'd ;
And Grace and Virtue, Sense and Reason split, Created half to rise, and half to fall;
With all the rash dexterity of Wit.
Self-love and Reason to one end aspire, Go, wondrous creature! mount where Science Pain their aversion, pleasure their desire ; guides,
But greedy that, his object would devour, Go, measure Earth, weigh air, and state the tides ; This taste the honey, and not wound the flower : Instruct the planets in what orbs to run,
Pleasure, or wrong or righily understood, Correct old Time, and regulate the Sun;
Our greatest evil, or our greatest good. Go, soar with Plato to th' empyreal sphere,
III. Modes of Self-love the passions we may call; To the first good, first perfect, and first fair; 'Tis real good, or seeming, moves them all : Or tread the mazy round his followers trod, But since not every good we can divide, And quitting sense call imitating God;
And Reason bids us for our own provide; As eastern priests in giddy circles run,
Passions, though selfish, if their means be fair, And turn their heads to imitate the Sun.
List under Reason, and deserve her eare; Go, teach Eternal Wisdom how to rule
Those, that imparted, court a nobler aim, Then drop into thyself, and be a fool!
Exalt their kind, and take some virtue's name. Superior beings, when of late they saw
In lazy apathy let Stoics boast A mortal man unfold all Nature's law,
Their virtue fix'd ; 'tis fix'd as in a frost; Admir'd such wisdom in an earthly shape, Contracted all, retiring to the breast; And show'd a Newton as we show an ape.
But strength of mind is exercise, not rest : Could he, whose rules the rapid comet bind, The rising tempest puts in act the soul; Describe or fix one movement of his mind!
Parts it may ravage, but preserves the whole. Who saw its fires here rise and there descend, On life’s vast ocean diversely we sail, Explain his own beginning or his end?
Reason the card, but Passion is the gale ; Alas, what wonder! Man's superior part
Nor God alone in the still calm we find, Uncheck'd may rise, and climb from art to art; He mounts the storm, and walks upon the wind. But when his own great work is but begun, Passions, like elements, though born to fight, What Reason weaves, by Passion is undone. Yet, mix'd and soften'd, in his work unite :
Trace Science, then, with Modesty thy guide; These 'tis enough to temper and employ ; First strip off all her equipage of Pride ;
But what composes man, can man destroy ? Deduct what is but Vanity or dress,
Suffice that Reason keep to Nature's road, Or Learning's luxury, or Idleness;
Subject, compound them, follow her and God. Or tricks to show the stretch of human brain, Love, Hope, and Joy, fair Pleasure's smiling train, Mere curious pleasure, or ingenious pain;
Hate, Fear, and Grief, the family of Pain ; Expunge the whole, or lop th' excrescent parts These, mixt with art, and to due bounds confin'd, Of all our Vices have created Arts;
Make and maintain the balance of the mind; Then see how little the remaining sum,
The lights and shades whose well-accorded strife Which serv'd the past, and must the times to come! Gives all the strength and color of our life.
II. Two principles in human nature reign; Pleasures are ever in our hands and eyes ; Self-love, to urge, and Reason, to restrain ; And when in act they cease, in prospect rise : Nor this a good, nor that a bad we call,
Present to grasp, and future still to find, Each works its end, to move or govern all : The whole employ of body and of mind. And to their proper operation still,
All spread their charms, but charm not all alike; Ascribe all good, to their improper, ill.
On different senses, different objects strike: Self-love, the spring of motion, acts the soul; Hence different passions more or less inflame, Reason's comparing balance rules the whole. As strong or weak, the organs of he frame;
And hence one master passion in the breast, |The fiery soul abhorr'd in Catiline,
And makes a patriot as it makes a knave.
Extremes in Nature equal ends produce, So, cast and mingled with his very frame, In man they join to some mysterious use; The mind's disease, its Ruling Passion came; Though each by turns the other's bound invade, Each vital humor which should feed the whole, As in some well-wrought picture, light and shade, Soon flows to this, in body and in soul:
And oft so mix, the difference is too nice Whatever warms the heart, or fills the head, Where ends the virtue, or begins the vice. As the mind opens, and its functions spread, Fools! who from hence into the notion fall, Imagination plies her dangerous art,
That vice or virtue there is none at all. And pours it all upon the peccant part.
If white and black blend, soften, and unite Nature its mother, Habit is its nurse ;
A thousand ways, is there no black or white ? Wit, Spirit, Faculties, but make it worse ; Ask your own heart, and nothing is so plain; Reason itself but gives it edge and power; "Tis to mistake them, costs the time and pain. As Heaven's blest beam turns vinegar more sour. V. Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
We, wretched subjects though to lawful sway, As, to be hated, needs but to be seen; In this weak queen, some favorite still obey : Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, Ah! if she lend not arms, as well as rules, We first endure, then pity, then embrace. What can she more than tell us we are fools ? But where th' extreme of vice, was ne'er agreed : Teach us to mourn our nature, not to mend; Ask where's the north ? at York, 'tis on the Tweed; A sharp accuser, but a helpless friend!
In Scotland, at the Orcades; and there, Or from a judge turn pleader, to persuade At Greenland, Zembla, or the Lord knows where. The choice we make, or justify it made ; No creature owns it in the first degree, Proud of an easy conquest all along,
But thinks his neighbor further gone than he: She but removes weak passions for the strong : Ev’n those wbo dwell beneath its very zone, So, when small humors gather to a gout,
Or never feel the rage, or never own; The doctor fancies he has driv'n them out. What happier natures shrink at with affright,
Yes, Nature's road must ever be preferr'd; The hard inhabitant contends is right. Reason is here no guide, but still a guard :
Virtuous and vicious every man must be, "Tis hers to rectify, not overthrow,
Few in th’extreme, but all in the degree;
That, happy frailties to all ranks applied ;
Shame to the virgin, to the matron pride ; Th* Eternal Art, educing good from ill, Fear to the statesman, rashness to the chief; Grafts on this passion our best principle : To kings presumption, and to crowds belief: 'Tis thus the mercury of man is fix'd,
That, Virtue's ends from vanity can raise, Sirong grows the virtue with his nature mix'd; Which seeks no interest, no reward but praise. The dross cements what else were too refin'd, And build on wants, and on defects of mind, And in one interest body acts with mind. The joy, the peace, the glory of mankind. As fruits, ungrateful to the planter's care,
Heaven forming each on other to depend, On savage stocks inserted learn to bear;
A master, or a servant, or a friend, The surest virtues thus from passions shoot, Bids each on other for assistance call, Wild Nature's vigor working at the root.
Till one man's weakness grows the strength of all. What crops of wit and honesty appear
Wants, frailties, passions, closer still ally From spleen, from obstinacy, hate, or fear! The common interest, or endear the tie. See anger, zeal and fortitude supply;
To these we owe true friendship, love sincere, Ev'n avarice, prudence ; sloth, philosophy ; Each home-felt joy that life inherits here; Lust, through some certain strainers well refin'd, Yet from the same we learn, in its decline, Is gentle love, and charms all woman-kind; Those joys, those loves, those interests, to resign ; Envy, to which th'ignoble mind 's a slave, Taught half by Reason, half by mere decay, Is emulation in the learn'd or brave;
To welcome death, and calmly pass away. Nor virtue, male or female, can we same,
Whate'er the passion, knowledge, fame, or pelf, But what will grow on pride, or grow on shame. Not one will change his neighbor with himself.
Thus Nature gives us (let it check our pride) The learn'd is happy Nature to explore, The virtue nearest to our vice allied :
The fool is happy that he knows no more. Reason the bias turns to good from ill,
The rich is happy in the plenty given, And Nero reigns a Titus, if he will.
The poor contents him with the care of Heaven.
SPECT TO SOCIETY.
See the blind beggar dance, the cripple sing, Attract, attracted to, the next in place
Form'd and impell'd its neighbor to embrace.
Press to one centre still, the general good.
All forms that perish other forms supply,
Behold the child, by Nature's kindly law, Like bubbles on the sea of matter borne,
One all-extending, all-preserving soul
Has God, thou fool! work'd solely for thy good Those painted clouds that beautify our days : Thy joy, thy pastime, thy attire, thy food ? Each want of happiness by Hope supplied, Who for thy table feeds the wanton fawn, And each vacuity of sense by Pride :
For him as kindly spread the flowery lawn: These build as fast as Knowledge can destroy ;
Is it for thee the lark ascends and sings ? In Folly's cup still laughs the bubble, Joy ; Joy tunes his voice, joy elevates his wings. One prospect lost, another still we gain;
Is it for thee the linnet pours his throat? And not a vanity is giv'n in vain :
Loves of his own and raptures swell the note. Ev'n mean Self-love becomes, by force divine, The bounding steed you pompously bestride, The scale to measure others' wants by thine. Shares with his lord the pleasure and the pride. See! and confess, one comfort still must rise ; Is thine alone the seed that strews the plain? 'Tis this, Though man 's a fool, yet GOD IS WISE. The birds of Heaven shall vindicate their grain.
Thine the full harvest of the golden year?
Part pays, and justly, the deserving steer:
The hog, that plows not, nor obeys thy call,
Lives on the labors of this lord of all.
Know, Nature's children all divide her care ; OF THE NATURE AND STATE OF MAN WITH RE- The fur that warms a monarch, warm'd a bear.
While man exclaims, “See all things for my use!
" See man for mine!" replies a pamper'd goose : Argument.
And just as short of reason he must fall,
Who thinks all made for one, not one for all. 1. The whole universe one system of society. Grant that the powerful still the weak control;
Nothing made wholly for itself, nor yet wholly Be man the wit and tyrant of the whole : for another. The happiness of animals mutual. Nature that tyrant checks; he only knows, II. Reason or instinct operate alike to the good And helps, another creature's wants and woes. of each individual. Reason or instinct operate Say, will the falcon, stooping from above, also to society in all animals. III. How far Smit with her varying plumage, spare the dove? society carried by instinct. How much farther Admires the jay the insect's gilded wings? by reason. IV. Of that which is called the state or hears the hawk when Philomela sings? of nature. Reason instructed by instinct in the Man cares for all: to birds he gives his woods, invention of arts, and in the forms of society. To beasts his pastures, and to fish his floods : V. Origin of political societies. Origin of mon- For some, his interest prompts him to provide, archy Patriarchal government. VI. Origin of For more his pleasure, yet for more his pride : true religion and government, from the same All feed on one vain patron, and enjoy principle, of love. Origin of superstition and Th' extensive blessing of his luxury. tyranny, from the same principle of fear. The That very life his learned hunger craves, influence of self-love operating to the social and He saves from famine, from the savage saves; public good. Restoration of true religion and Nay, feasts the animal he dooms his feast, government on their first principle. Mixed gov- And, till he ends the being, makes it blest : ernment. Various forms of each, and the true Which sees no more the stroke, or feels the pain, end of all.
Than favor'd man by touch ethereal slain.
The creature had his feast of life before ; Here then we rest; “ the Universal Cause Thou too must perish, when thy feast is o'er! Acts to one end, but acts by various laws.” To each unthinking being, Heaven, a friend, In all the madness of superfluous health, Gives not the useless knowledge of its end : The train of pride, the impudence of wealth, To man imparts it; but with such a view Let this great truth be present night and day;
As, while he dreads it, makes him hope it loo: But most be present, if we preach or pray.
The hour conceal'a, and so remote the fear, I. Look round our world; behold the chain of Death still draws nearer, never seeming near. Love
Great standing miracle! that Heaven assign'd Combining all below and all above.
Its only thinking thing this turn of mind. See plastic Nature working to this end,
II. Whether with reason, or with instinct blest, The single atoms each to other tend,
Know, all enjoy that power which suits them best;