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There 's not a blessing individuals find,
Order is Heaven's first law; and this confest,
60 Heaven breathes through every member of the whole One common blessing, as one common soul; But Fortune's gifts if each alike possest, And each were equal, must not all contest? If then to all men happiness was meant, God in externals could not place content.
Fortune her gifts may variously dispose, And these be happy call’d, unhappy those; But Heaven's just balance equal will appear, While those are placed in hope, and these in fear: 70
Not present good or ill, the joy or curse,
O sons of Earth! attempt ye still to rise,
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 Competence.
TO THE MEMORY OF AN UNFORTUNATE LADY.
What beckoning ghost, along the moonlight shade
Why bade ye else, ye powers ! her soul aspire
15 And in the breasts of kings and heroes glows.
Most souls, 't is true, but peep out once an age,
20 Like eastern kings a lazy state they keep, And, close confined to their own palace, sleep.
From these perhaps (ere Nature bade her die,)
But thou, false guardian of a charge too good, Thou mean deserter of thy brother's blood ! 35 See on these ruby lips the trembling breath, These cheeks now fading at the blast of Death; Cold is that breast which warm'd the world before, And those love-darting eyes must roll no more. Thus, if eternal Justice rules the ball, Thus shall your wives, and thus your children fall: On all the line a sudden vengeance waits, And frequent hearses shall besiege your gates; There passengers shall stand, and pointing say, (While the long funerals blacken all the way,) 40 6 Lo! these were they, whose souls the Furies steel'd, And cursed with hearts unknowing how to yield.” Thus unlamented pass the proud away, The gaze of fools, and pageant of a day! So perish all, whose breast ne'er learn’d to glow 46 For others' good, or melt at others' woe.
What can atone, O ever-injured shade! Thy fate unpitied, and thy rites unpaid ?
No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear
So peaceful rest, without a stone, a name,
Poets themselves must fall like those they sung, 75 Deaf the praised ear, and mute the tuneful tongue. Ev'n he, whose soul now melts in mournful lays, Shall shortly want the generous tear he pays; Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part, And the last pang shall tear thee from his heart, 80
122 PRESENT CONDITION OF MAN VINDICATED.
Life's idle business at one gasp be o'er,
THE PRESENT CONDITION OF
MAN VINDICATED. HEAVEN from all creatures hides the book of Fate, All but the page prescribed, their present state; From brutes what men, from men what spirits know; Or who could suffer Being here below? The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day, Had he thy reason, would he skip and play? Pleased to the last, he crops the flowery food, And licks the hand just raised to shed his blood. O, blindness to the future ! kindly given, That each may fill the circle mark’d by Heaven; 10 Who sees with equal eye, as God of all, A hero perish, or a sparrow fall, Atoms or systems into ruin hurl'd, And now a bubble burst, and now a world.
Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar; 15 Wait the great teacher Death, and God adore. What future bliss, he gives not thee to know, But gives that hope to be thy blessing now. Hope springs eternal in the human breast: Man never is, but always TO BE blest. The soul, uneasy and confined, from home, Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
Lo! the poor Indian, whose untutor'd mind Sees God in clouds, or bears him in the wind;