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Breathes in our Soul, informs our mortal Part,
As full, as perfect, in a Hair, as Heart;
As full, as perfect in vile Man that mourns,
As the rapt Seraphim that sings and burns ; 270
To him no high, no low, no great, no small ;
He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all.
Cease then, nor Order Imperfektion name :
Our proper Bliss depends on what we blame.
Know thy own Point: This kind, this due Degree 275
Of Blindness, Weakness, Heav'n bestows on thee.
Submit in this, or any other Sphere,
Secure to be as bleft as thou canst bear :
Safe in the Hand of one disposing Pow'r,
Or in the natal, or the mortal Hour.
280 All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee ; All Chance, Direction which thou canst not fee : All Discord, Harmony not understood ; All partial Evil, universal Good : And spite of Pride, in erring Reason's spight, 285 One Truth is clear, “ Whatever Is, is Right,"
The End of the firft EPISTLE.
NOW then Thy-self, prelume not God to scan ;
Plac'd on this Ifthmus of a middle State,
A Being darkly Wife, and rudely great :
With too much Knowledge for the Sceptic Side,
With too much Weakness for a Stoic's Pride,
He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest,
To deem himself a Part of God, or Beast,
In doubt, his Mind or Body to prefer,
Born but to die, and Reas’ning but to err,
Alike in Ignorance, his Reason such,
Whether he thinks too little, or too much.
Chaos of Thought and Paslion, all confus'd,
Still by himfelf abus'd, or dis-abus'd :
Created half to rise, and half to fall;
15 Great Lord of all Things; yet a Prey to all ; Sole Judge of Truth, in endless Error hurl'd: The Glory, Jeft, and Riddle of the World !
Go, wondrous Creature / mount where Science guides, Go, measure Earth, weigh Air, and state the Tides; 20 Instruct the Planets in what Orbs to run, Correct old Time, and regulate the Sun.
Go foar with Plato to th' empyreal Sphere,
To the first Good, first Perfect, and first Fair;
Or tread the mazy Round his Followers trod, 25
And quitting Sense, call Imitating God:
As Eastern Priests in giddy Circles run,
And turn their Heads to imitate the Sun.
Go teach eternal Wisdom how to rule ;
Then drop into Thyself, and be a Fool!
Superior Beings, when of late they saw
A mortal Man unfold all Nature's Law,
Admir'd such Wisdom in an earthly Shape,
And show'd a Newton, as we show an Ape.
Could he, wbo taught each Planet how to roll,
Describe, or fix one Movement of the Soul ?
Who mark'd their Points, to rise, and to descend,
Explain his own Beginning, or his End ?
Alas, what Wonder! Man's superior Part
Uncheck'd may rise, and climb from Art to. Art;
40 But when his own great Work is but begun, What Reason waves, by Passion undone.
Two Principles in human Nature reign ; Self-Love, to urge; and Reafon to restrain : Nor this a Good, nor that a Bad we call :
45 Each works its End, to move, or govern all : And to their proper Operation still Ascribe all Good, to their improper Ill.
Self-Love, the Spring of Motion, acts the Soul ; Reajon's comparing Balance rules the Whole ;
50 Man, but for that, no Action could attend, And but for this, were active to no End. Fix'd like a Plant, on his peculiar Spot, To draw Nutrition, propagate, and rot; Or Meteor-like, flame lawless through the Void, 55 Destroying others, by himself destroy'd.
Most Strength the moving Principle requires,
Active its Task, it prompts, impels, inspires :
Secure and quiet the cemparing lies,
Form'd but to check, delib'rate, and advise.
Self-Love still stronger, as it's Objects nigh ;
Reason's at distance, and in Prospect lie;
That sees immediate Good, by present Sense,
Reason, the future, and the Consequence;
Thicker than Arguments, Temptations throng, 65
At best more watchful this, but that more strong.
The Action of the stronger to suspend,
Reason still use, to Reason ftill attend;
Attention, Habit and Experience gains,
Each strengthens Reason, and Self-Love restrains. 70
Let subtle School-men teach their friends to fight,
More ftudious to divide, than to unite ;
And Grace and Virtue, Sense and Reason split,
With all the rafh Dexterity of Wit.
Wits, just like Fools, at War about a Name, 75
Have, full as oft, no Meaning, or the same.
Self-Love and Reason to one End aspire,
Pain their Aversion, pleasure their Defire ;
But greedy that its Object would devour,
This taste the Honey, and not wound the Flow'r.
Pleasure, or wrong, or rightly understood,
Our greatest Evil, or our greatest Good.
Modes of Self-Love the Passions we may call ; ;
'Tis real Good, or seeming, moves them all
But since not every Good we can divide,
And Reason bids us for our own provide ;
Passions, tho' felfish, if their Means be fair,
Lift under Reason, and deserve her Care:
Those that imparted, court a nobler Aim,
Exalt their Kind, and take some Virtue's Name.
In lazy Apathy, let Stoics boast
Their Virtue fixed, 'tis fix'd as in a Frost,
Contracted all, retiring to the Breast;
But Strength of Mind is Exercise, nøt Reft;
The rising Tempest puts in act the Soul,
Parts it may ravage, but preserves the Whole.
On Life's vast Ocean diversely we fail, -
Reason the Card, but Passion is the Gale:
Nor God alone in the still Calm we find,
He mounts the Storm, and walks upon the Wind.
Passions, like Elements, tho' born to fight,
Yet mix'd and softn’d, in His Work unite:
These, 'tis enough to temper and employ,
But what composes Man, can Man destroy ?
Suffice that Reason keep to Nature's Road, 105
Subject, compound them, follow her, and God.
Love, Hope, and Joy, fair Pleasure's smiling Train,
Hate, Fear, and Grief, the Family of Pain;
These mix'd with Art, and to due Bourds confin'd,
Make, and maintain, the Balance of the Mind :
The Lights and Shades, whose well accorded Strife
Gives all the Strength and Colour of our Life.
Pleasures are ever in our Hands or Eyes,
And when in Act they cease, in Prospect rise ;
Present to grasp, and future still to find,
The whole Employ of Body and of Mind.
All spread their Charms, but charm not all alike ;
On diff'rent Senses diff'rent Objects strike:
Hence diff'rent Passions more or less inflame,
As strong, or weak, the Organs of the Frame; 120
And hence one Master Pasion, in the Breaft,
Like Aaron's Serpent, swallows up the rest.
As Man, perhaps the Moment of his Breath,
Receives the lurking Principle of Death ;
The young Disease, that must subdue at length,
Grows with his Growth,and strengthens with his Strength;
So, cast and mingled with his very Frame,
The Mind's Difease, it's ruling Paffon came :
Each vital Humour, which should feed the Whole,
Soon flows to this, in Body and in Soul ;
Whatever warms the Heart, or fills the Head,
As the Mind opens, and its Functions spread,
Imagination plies her dang'rous Art,
And pours it all upon the peccant Part.
Nature is Mother, Habit is it's Nurse ;
Wit, Spirit, Faculties, but make it worse ;
Rrafon itself but gives it Edge and Pow'r,
As Heav'ns bless'd Beam turns Vinegar more fow'r;
We, wretched Subjects, tho'to lawful Sway,
In this weak Queen, fome Fav'rite ftill obey. 14