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But mutual wants this happiness increase;
Fortune her gifts may variously dispose,
O sons of earth! attempt ye still to rise By mountains pild 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 competence: But health consists with temperance alone, And peace,
O virtue! 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,
O blind to truth and God's whole scheme below,
1 The Hon. Robert Digby: see Memoir prefixed to these volumes, p. lxxiv.
2 M. de Belsunce: he distinguished himself by his zeal and activity in behalf of his flock, while the plague raged at Marseilles in 1720.
What makes all physical or moral ill ?
we, like some weak prince, th’Eternal Cause Prone for his favourites to reverse his laws ?
Shall burning Ætna, if a sage requires,
But still this world (so fitted for the knave)
8 Hugh Bethel, Esq. a gentleman of good property in Yorkshire, a valued friend and correspondent of Pope.
4 Colonel Francis Chartres was infamous for every vice. By tricks at gaming-tables, and by lending money at exorbitant interest, and on great penalties, he acquired an immense fortune. He was twice condemned for rapes, but pardoned. He died in Scotland; and the populace at his funeral endeavoured to tear his body out of the coffin.
The good must merit God's peculiar care ;
“ But sometimes virtue starves 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 him riches, your demand is o’er? “No-shall the good want health, the good want
power?” Add health and power, and every earthly thing. “Why bounded power? why private? why no king? Nay, why external for internal given? Why is not man a god, and earth a heaven ? "
Who ask and reason thus will scarce conceive God gives enough while he has more to give: Immense the power, immense were the demand ; Say at what part of nature will they stand ?
What nothing earthly gives or can destroy, The soul's calm sunshine and the heartfelt joy, Is virtue's prize. A better would you fix ? Then give humility a coach and six, Justice a conqueror's sword, or truth a gown, Or public spirit its great cure, a crown. Weak, foolish man! will Heaven reward us there With the same trash mad mortals wish for here? The boy and man an individual makes, Yet sigh’st thou now for apples and for cakes? Go, like the Indian, in another life Expect thy dog, thy bottle, and thy wife; As well as dream such trifles are assign'd, As toys and empires, for a godlike mind: Rewards, that either would to virtue bring No joy, or be destructive of the thing : How oft by these at sixty are undone The virtues of a saint at twenty-one ! To whom can riches give repute or trust, Content or pleasure, but the good and just ? Judges and senates have been bought for gold ; Esteem and love were never to be sold. O fool! to think God hates the worthy mind, The lover and the love of humankind, Whose life is healthful, and whose conscience clear, Because he wants a thousand pounds a year.