Page images
PDF
EPUB

Ana now a bubble burst, and now a world.

Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar; Wait the great teacher Death , and God adore. "What future bliss , he gives not thee to know, But gives that Hope toTbe thy blessing now. Hope springs eternal in the human breast;. Man never IS, but always TO be blest; The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home , Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

Lo, the poor Indian! whose untutor'd mind Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind; His soul proud Science never taught to stray Far as the Solar Walk , or Milky Way; Yet simple nature to his hope has given Behind the cloud-topt-hill, an humbler heav'n ;Some safer -world in depth of woods embrac'd r Some happier island in the wat'ry -waste , Where slaves once more their native land behold y No fiends torment, no Christians thirst for gold.. To BE , contents his natural desire , He asks no Angel's wing , no Seraph's fire; But thinks , admitted to that equal sky , His faithful dog shall bear him company.

Go, wiser thou ! and in thy scale of sense , Weigh thy opinion against providence; Call imperfection what thou fanciest such , Say , here he gives too little, there too much:.Destroy all creatures for thy sport or gust, Yet cry, if man's unhappy God's unjust; If man alone ingross not Heav'h's high care , Alone made perfect here, immortal there: Snatch from Tiis hand the balance and the rod ,, Re-judge his justice , be the God of GOD. In pride % in reas'ning Pride our error lies; All quit their sphere , and rush into the skies. Pride is still aiming at the blest abodes , Men would be Angels, Angels would be Gods. Aspiring to be Gods , if Angels fell , Aspiring to be Angels , Men rebel: And -who but wishes to invert the laws Of Order 7 sins against th' Eternal Cause.. Poee».

Chap. XIII.
On the Order of Nature.

Oee , thro' this air , this ocean , and this earth ,
All matter qnick, and bursting into birth.
Above , how high , progressive life may go 1
Around how wide.! how deep extend below!
Vast chain of Being! which from God began ,
Natures tethereal, human; angel, man!
Beast, bird, fish , insect, what no eye can see ,
No glass can reach; from Infinite to thee ,
From thee to nothing.—On superior pow'rs
Were we to press inferior might on ours;
Or in the full creation leave a void ,
Wliere, one step broken, the great scale's destroy'd*
From Nature's chain whatever link you strike,
Tenth or ten thousandth , breaks the chain alike*

And, if each system in gradation roll
A like essential to th' amazing "Whole ,
The least confusion but in one , not all
That system only , but the whole must fall.
Let earth , unbalanc'd, from her orbit fly,
Planets and suns run lawless thro' the sky;
Let ruling Angels from their spheres be hurl'd r
'Being on being wrecked , and world on world;
Heaven's whole foundations to the centre nod,
And nature tremble to the throne of God.
All this dread Order break—for whom? for thee?
Vile worm ?—O Madness ! Pride ! Impiety!

What if the foot ordain'd the dust to tread ,..
Or hand to toil, aspir'd to be the head?
What if the head , the eye, or ear repin'd
To serve mere engines to the ruling mind?
Just as absurd for any part to claim s

To be another in this gen'ral frame:
Just as absurd to mourn the tasks or pains
The great directing Mind of All ordains.

All are but parts of one stupendous whole
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul:.

That , chang'd thro' all, and yet in all the same,
Great in the earth, as in th' aethereal frame.
"Warms in the sun , refreshes in the breeze,
Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees;
Lives thro' all life , extends thro' all extent ,
Spreads undivided , operates unspent;
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 Seraph that adores and burns:
To him no high , no low , no great, no small-
He fills , he bounds , connects , and equals all.
Cease then ! nor Order Imperfection name:
Our proper bliss depends on what we blame.
Know thy own point: this kind , this due degree
Of blindness , weakness, Heav'n bestows on thet*
Submit.—In this-, or any other sphere ,
Secure to be as blest at thou canst bear:
Safe in the hand of one disposing Pow'r,
Or in the natal, or the mortal honr.
All nature is but Art, unknown to thee;
All chance, Direction , which thou canst not see J
All Discord , Harmony not understood;
All partial Evil, universal Good:
And , spite of Pride , in erring Reason's spite.
One truth is clear, JVhatever is, is right. PorE»

Chat. X I V.
The Origin of Superstition and Tyranny,

W.

Ho first taught souls enslav'd, and realms undone • Th' enormous faith of many made for one! That proud exception to all nature's laws , T' invert the world , and counter-work its Cause? Force first made Conquest, and that conquest, Law;. Till Superstition taught the tyrant awe; Then shar'd the Tyranny , then lent it aid, And Gods of Conqu'ros, Slaves of Subjects made: She 'midstthelight'ning'sblaze,andthunder's sound,

When rock'd the mountains , and when groan'd

the ground , She, taught the weak to bend , the proud to pray , To Pow'r unseen, and mightier far than they: She , from the rending earth and bursting skies , 8aw gods descend , and fiends infernal rise: Here fix'd the dreadful, there the blest abodes; Fear made her Devils r and weak Hope her Gods y. Gods partial, changeful, passionate , unjust, Whose attributes were Rage, Revenge, or Lust; Such as the souls of cowards might, conceive,. And, form'd like tyrants, tyrants would believeZeal then, not Charity, became the guide; And hell was built on Spite, and heav'n on Fride; Then sacred seem'd th' ethereal vault no more; Altars grew marble then , and reek'd with gore: Then first the Flamen tasted living food ;. Next his grim idol, smear'd with numan blood; . Wuh. Heav'n's own thunders shook the world

below,. And play'd the God an engine on his foe.

So drives Sell-love, thro' just and thro unjust,. To one man's pow'r , ambition, Iucre, lust: . The same Sell-love ,,in all, becomes the cause Gf what restrains him , Government and Laws 5 For , what one likes ,.if others like as well, W'hat serves one will, when many wills rebel ?. How shall he keep , what, sleeping or awake, A weaker may surprise, a stronger take; His safety must his liberty restrain: All join to guard what each desires to gain.. Forc'd iuto virtue thus by Self-defence , £v'n kings learn'd justice and benevolence: Self-love forsook the path it first pursu'd ,. And found the private in the public good.

'Twas then ,.the studious head or gen'rous miud'r, Follow'r of God, or friend of human-kind , Poet or patriot, rose but to restoreThe Faith and Moral, Nature gave before; Be-lum'd her ancient light, nor kindled new II not God's image i yet his shadow drew;,

Taught Pow'r's due use to People and to Kings ,
Taught, nor to slack , nor strain its tender strings,
The less or greater, set so justly true ,
Thattouching one must strike the other too;
Till jarring int'rests of themselves create
Th* according music of a well mix'd State.
Such is the world's great harmony, that springs
From Order, Union, full Consent of things:
"Where small and great , where weak and mighty

made
To serve , not suffer, strengthen , not invade;
More pow'rful each as needful to the rest,
And , in proportion as it blesses , blest;
Draw to one point, and to one centre bring
Beast, Man or Angel, Servant, Lord or King.

For forms of Government let fools contest;
"Whate'er is best administer'd is best:
For modes of Faith let graceless zealots fight;
His can't be wrong, -whose life is in the right:
In Faith and Hope the world will disagree ,
But all mankind's concern is Charity:
All must be false that thwart this one great End;
And all of God , that bless Mankind or mend.

Man , like the gen'rous vine, supported lives; The strength he gains is from th* embrace he gives. On their own axis as the Planets run, Yet make at once their circle round the Sun; So two consistent motions act the Soul; And one regards Itself, and one the "Whole.

Thus God and Nature link'd the gen'ral frame, And bade Self-love and Social be the same. Popb,

Chap. XV.
On Happiness.

\Ju Happiness ! our being's end and aim!
Good, Pleasure, Ease,[Content! whate'er thy name;
That something still which prompts theeterualsigh,
For which we bear to live , or dare to die;
Which still so near us , yet beyond us lies;

« PreviousContinue »