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1. Say first, of God above, or man below, What can we reason, but from what we know?
Of man, what see we but his station here,
From which to reason, or to which refer?
Thro' worlds unnumber'd tho' the God be known,
'Tis ours to trace him only in our own.
Is the great chain, that draws all to agree, And drawn supports, upheld by God or thee?
2. Presumptuous man! the reason wouldst thou
Why form’d so weak, so little, and so blind?
First, if thou canst, the harder reason guess,
Why form’d no weaker, blinder, and no less.
Of systems possible, if 'tis confest
That wisdom infinite must form the best,
Where all must full or not coherent be,
And all that rises, rise in due degree;
Then, in the scale of reas'ning life, 'tis plain,
There must be, somewhere, such a rank as
And all the question (wrangle e'er so long)
Respecting man, whatever wrong we call,
Yet serves to second too some other use,
So man, who here seems principal alone, Perhaps acts second to some sphere unknown,
Touches some wheel, or verges to some goal;
"Tis but a part we see, and not a whole.
When the proud steed shall know why man
His fiery course, or drives him o'er the plains;
Then say not man's imperfect, heav'n in fault;
The blest to-day, is as completely so
3. Heav'n from all creatures hides the book of
All but the page prescribed, their present state: From brutes what men, from men what spirits
Or who could suffer being here below?
The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day,