« PreviousContinue »
Made for his use all creatures if he call, From Nature's chain whatever link you strike,
And, if each system in gradation roll
Let Earth unbalanc'd from her orbit fiy,
Planets and suns run lawless through the sky; Each beast, each insect, happy in its own : Let ruling angels from their spheres be hurld, 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 pod, 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, repind
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 bim 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 matter 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 neces. From thee to Nothing:-On superior powers
sity, in directing men to different purposes. Its Were we to press, inferior might on ours;
providential use, in fixing our principle, and as. Or 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 limits near, 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; Plac'd on this isthmus of a middle state,
Reason's at distance, and in prospect lie : A being darkly wise, and rudely great:
That sees immediate good by present sense ;
At best more watchful this, but that more strong;
Reason still use, to Reason still attend.
Attention, habit, and experience gains;
Each strengthens Reason, and Self-love restrains.
And Grace and Virtue, Sense and Reason split,
With all the rash dexterity of Wit.
But greedy that, bis object would devour,
Pleasure, or wrong or rightly 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,
And Reason bids us for our own provide ;
Passions, though selfish, if their means be fair,
List 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 fix'd ; 'tis fix'd as in a frost;
Could he, whose rules the rapid comet bind, The rising tempest puts in act the soul ;
Reason the card, but Passion is the gale ;
Nor God alone in the still calm we find,
Trace Science, then, with Modesty thy guide; These 'tis enough to temper and employ ;
But what composes man, can man destroy ?
Suffice that Reason keep to Nature's roal,
Subject, compound them, follow her and God.
Make and maintain the balance of the mind;
The lights and shades whose well-accorded strife
II. Two principles in human nature reign ; Pleasures are ever in our hands and eyes;
Present to grasp, and future still to find,
All spread their charms, but charm not all alike,
On different senses, different objects strike:
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 pily, ihen 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 who 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'o 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, Strong grows the virtue with his nature miad; Which seeks no interest, no reward but praise. The dross cements what else were too refiu'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, fraillies, passions, closer still ally From spleen, from obstinacy, hate, or fear! The common interest, or endear the tie. Sen 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 jame,
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 Tiens 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 impellid 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
For him as kindly spread the flowery lawn:
Is it for thee the linnet pours his throat ?
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 prido
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,
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.
Nothing made wholly for itself, nor yet wholly Be man the wit and tyrant of the whole:
Than favor'd man by touch ethereal slain.
The creature had his feast of life before ;
Gives not the useless knowledge of its end :
As, while he dreads it, makes him hope it too :
The hour conceal’d, and so remote the fear,
Great standing miracle! that Heaven assign'd
Its only thinking thing this turn of mind.
II. Whether with reason, or with instinct blest
Know, all enjoy that power which suits them best
To bliss alike by that direction tend,
Self-love and social at her birih began, And find the means proportion'd to their end. Union the bond of all things, and of man. Say, where full Instinct is th' unerring guide, Pride then was not; nor arts, that Pride to aid ; What pope or council can they need beside ? Man walk'd with beast, joint tenant of the shade, Reason, however able, cool at best,
The same his table, and the same his bed ; Cares not for service, or but serves when prest, No murder cloth'd him, and no murder sed. Stays till we call, and then not often near; In the same temple, the resounding wood, But honest Instinct comes a volunteer,
All vocal beings hymn'd their equal God : Sure never to o'ershoot, but just to hit;
The shrine with gore unstain'd, with gold undress'd While still too wide or short is human Wit; Unbrib'd, unbloody, slood the blameless priest : Sure by quick Nature happiness to gain,
Heaven's attribute was universal care, Which heavier Reason labors at in vain.
And man's prerogative, lo rule, but spare.
Who, foe to Nature, hears the general groan,
And every death its own avenger breeds ;
Thus then to man the voice of Nature spakeSure as De Moivre, without rule or line?
“Go, from the creatures thy instructions take: Who bid the stork, Columbus-like, explore Learn from the birds what food the thickets yield Heavens not his own, and worlds unknown before ? | Learn from the beasts the physic of the field; Who calls the council, states the certain day? Thy arts of building from the bee receive ; Who forms the phalanx, and who points the way? Learn of the mole to plow, the worm to weave;
III. God, in the nature of each being, founds Learn of the little Nautilus to sail, Its proper bliss, and sets its proper bounds : Spread the thin oar, and catch the driving gale. But as he fram'd a whole, the whole to bless, Here too all forms of social union find, On mutual wants built mutual happiness :
And hence let Reason, late, instruct mankind : So from the first, eternal Order ran,
Here subterranean works and cities see ; And creature link'd to creature, man to man. There towns aëreal on the waving tree. Whate'er of life all-quickening ether keeps, Learn each small people's genius, policies, Or breathes through air, or shoots beneath the deeps, The ants' republic, and the realm of bees ; Or pours profuse on earth, one Nature feeds How those in common all their wealth bestow, The vital flame, and swells the genial seeds. And anarchy without confusion know; Not man alone, but all that roam the wood, And these for ever, though a monarch reign, Or wing the sky, or roll along the flood,
Their separate cells and properties maintain. Each loves itself, but not itself alone,
Mark what unvaried laws preserve each state, Each sex desires alike, till two are one.
Laws wise as Nature, and as fix'd as Fate. Nor ends the pleasure with the fierce embrace ; In vain thy Reason finer webs shall draw, They love themselves, a third time, in their race. Entangle Justice in her net of Law, Thus beast and bird their common charge attend, And right, too rigid, harden into wrong ; The mothers nurse it, and the sires defend ; Still for the strong too weak, the weak too strong. The young dismiss'd to wander earth or air, Yet go! and thus o'er all the creatures sway, There stops the Instinct, and there ends the care ; Thus let the wiser make the rest ey : The link dissolves, each seeks a fresh embrace, And for those arts mere Instinct could afford, Another love succeeds, another race.
Be crown'd as monarchs, or as gods ador'd." A longer care man's helpless kind demands; V. Great Nature spoke ; observant man obey'd ; That longer care contracts more lasting bands : Cities were built, societies were made : Reflection, Reason, still the lies improve,
Here rose one litile state ; another near At once extend the interest, and the love :
Grew by like means, and join'd through love or fear With choice we fix, with sympathy we burn; Did here the trees with ruddier burthens bend, Each virtue in each passion takes its turn; And there the streams in purer rills descend, And still new needs, new helps, new habiis rise, What War could ravish, Commerce could bestow; That graft benevolence on charities.
And he return'd a friend, who came a foe. Still as one brood, and as another rose,
Converse and Love mankind might strongly draw, These natural love maintain'd, habitual those : When Love was Liberty, and Nature Law. The last, scarce ripen'd into perfect man,
Thus states were form'd; the name of king unknown, Saw helpless him from whom their life began : Till common interest plac'd the sway in one. Memory and Forecast just returns engage,
'Twas Virtue only, (or in arts or arms, That pointed back to youth, this on to age ; Diffusing blessings, or averting harms) While Pleasure, Gratitude, and Hope, combin'd, The same which in a sire the sons obey'd, Suill spread the interest, and preserve the kind. A prince the father of a people made. IV. Nor think, in Nature's state they blindly VI. Till then, by Nature crown'd, each patriarch trod ;
sate, 'The state of Nature was the reign of God : King, priest, and parent, of his growing state :